Our Favorite Hikes in 2012

Our Favorite Hikes in 2012

By: Shelby January 7, 2013 12:37 pm 3 comments

Hey y’all! We did lots of hikes and outdoorsiness in 2012, and we are so excited about getting back on the trail in 2013. We spent tonight reminiscing over the literal ups and downs of our favorite trails so far. You can click on the titles to see more trail info!

5. Lake 22 (Sept 29, 6.61 mi)

We did this hike after a long hike-atus (…), and it was a little tough in some parts, but the view at the top is totally worth it. The trailhead is out along the Mountain Loop Highway, just past the Verlot Ranger station. Walk past the trail register box, with the book that includes artful entries such as “I’m going to poop in the woods,” and hike up through the beautiful old growth forest. The area is part of a Research Natural Area, established in 1947 by the Forest Service, to preserve and research natural ecosystems. Pass over streams and hike past waterfalls, and then come out of the trees onto the talus slope. This is where it gets slow, and you’ll need good shoes. We wore our Vibram FiveFingers, which may have been a mistake because those rocks HURT. This lasted about half a mile, and then we were hopping back through the forest to the lake, which is surrounded partially by easy boardwalk, and the rest by that darn talus. The sheer mountain wall was coated in snow leftover from the past winter. We sat for a while, enjoying the views of the deep blue lake, and then hiked around (about a mile) and back home, ending the hike with sore toes. When we do this again, I’m definitely wearing boots and taking my trekking pole (thanks Arnold!). Get there early, because the parking lot was packed when we arrived around 1:30.

On the way home, we stopped at  Los Flamingos in Granite Falls, which has to be the best Mexican restaurant I (a native Texan) have yet encountered in Washington state.

Northwest Forest Pass required.

Lake 22


4. Rattlesnake Ledge (Nov 10, 4.46 mi )

I did this hike when I was visiting Seattle for the first time, and as a (former) flatlander, it was TOUGH. I was not used to hills, or… nature…
or stuff. Plus, there were toddlers and dudes carrying babies on their backs that were doing the hike faster than me, so that wasn’t the greatest. But doing this again, after a year of hiking and hills and walking and stuff, it was much, much easier. We powered up, and the whole time I was waiting for it to get as difficult as I remembered it being the first time. About halfway up, it started to snow! It was exciting and beautiful and everybody was happy, and when we got to the ledge at the top, we ate our Subway and looked at precious sleepy dogs and little hiking babies. Rattlesnake Ledge has got to be one of the most popular hikes in the Seattle area, with beautiful views of Rattlesnake Lake and the surrounding valley. Cars are always lined up down the road, overflowing from the fairly large (for a trailhead) parking lot. Even though it’s so popular, it seems like it’s easy to get away from the crowds.

I was feeling far more triumphant the second time around

3. Mt Rainier up to Longmire Viewpoint (Nov 11, 4.45 mi)

This was a spur-of-the-moment hike that we did when my dad was in town. Mt Rainier National Park is about 3 hours away from Seattle, and Spenser and I had never been. We really had no idea what we were going to do when we got there, but we were determined to go see a mountain and buy patches to sew onto our backpacks. We picked up the mandatory snow chains (What are those?!!!) from the last gas station before the park, and continued on in. Snow was starting to pile up on the magnificent moss-covered logs inside the park. We parked at the National Park Inn at Longmire and started on the Trail of Shadows, a small loop trail across the street from the inn, and that branched off to the Rampart Ridge trail. We decided we’d hike until we got tired. Well, we got tired pretty quickly, having hiked up Rattlesnake THE DAY BEFORE, but our determination pushed us on. There was a mythical viewpoint, and we had to see its mythical views. The trail rose sharply, making my old woman hips hurt, but oh well, we trekked up past the icicles up to the snowy ledge, where we found the Longmire Viewpoint. The clouds were hanging low in the sky (or maybe we were really high up, but mostly a combination of both), so we couldn’t see all that much. It was really cold. It was snowing a lot. The sun was about to set. We headed back down and into the inn for a warm bowl of the best chili around (is there anything better after a long, cold hike? No, there’s not).

Little dude at the viewpoint.

2. Second Beach (Oct 20-21, 2 mi)

Second Beach is awesome. I love it, it’s gorgeous, it’s the best. It has a special place in my heart, because it was our first camping trip last spring, and where I first saw the Pacific Ocean. This trip in October was wildly different from our first one (which we will talk about in the future, don’t worry!). It was going to be our last big outdoor trip of the year, the last weekend of awesome weather that was still hanging on from the awesome summer. We drove out along Highway 101 (one of my favorite drives), everything was perfect, the sun was shining, and the first snow of the year was falling high up in the mountains. Everything was going to be amazing.

And then the rain came. It was that nasty, cold rain. Everything was grey for miles. It looked like there was no hope for the trip. We were still determined to have a good time though, as long as we could get the tent set up. We turned onto La Push Rd, and we could see blue sky! But the road kept turning, so we couldn’t tell where we would end up. Things were still bleak. But then, miraculously, we drove out of the rain, right as we pulled to the parking lot at the trailhead. The sky was blue, the trees were dripping, the rain had passed. It was beautiful. We high-fived, as we are wont to do, threw on our backpacks, and hiked down the short trail through Quileute land, still marveling at the blue sky. The ranger at the station in Port Angeles warned us that the tide was going to come up to the driftwood line, so we set up our tent in the trees. This was a test run of the REI Half Dome 2+, and our first run of our new sleeping bags, camp stove, and our new backpacks. Everything went way more smoothly than our first attempt in April. We reminisced about all of our learning experiences and how far we’ve come in our outdoorsiness. If only we had remembered the trail mix…

We finished the trip with breakfast at The In Place in Forks (Twilight Central), and this confirmed our belief that after-camp breakfast is best breakfast. It never fails.

Not a bad view...

1. Wallace Falls (May 27, 6.16 mi)

A greeting just inside the forest

And now, our #1 favorite hike! Wallace Falls State Park, near Gold Bar, out on Hwy 2, has it all. It starts out under some powerlines, which is tingly and weird, but enters into the forest and follows Wallace River for most of the way. There’s plenty of places to stop and climb out on the rocks in the rushing water, or just sit and watch the river. The trail parts from the river and climbs up, and then back down into the river valley and over the river. Then climb up, up, up to the Lower Falls (awesome), up, up,up to the Middle Falls, and then UP to the Upper Falls. There’s plenty of places to stop and there is always something
awesome to look at. The trail was pretty crowded at certain parts (mostly the awesome viewpoints), but the trail is very well made and wide in most parts. Very user friendly. There were kids, benches, picnic tables at the Lower Falls, and even… a bathroom just off the trail! Wow!

The Middle Falls

Possibly the best part of this hike, or maybe just the cherry on top of a great day, was stopping at Old School BBQ on Hwy 2. It’s literally 2 old school buses on the side of the road next to an indoor reptile zoo, but this couple from Irving, TX makes the best BBQ in Washington (seriously). After that long up-down-up-down hike, we all agreed that we could have choked on the brisket and pork and not cared because it was so delicious. It’s so good.

Discover Pass required.


So that’s all for our top 5 hikes from 2012. We sure can’t wait to get back out on them once the weather perks up again!


  • Tama Blair

    This is really cool! I hope to be able to make some of these hikes with you someday. I love the blog!

    • Spenser

      You definitely will! I think we should do Wallace falls. It was a decent challenge, but probably not that much harder than Discovery Park was, and it definitely has better views.

  • You guys rule and that waterfall looks awesome.. way to utilize the PNW 😀

Leave a reply