Packing Foggy
Image: David Jensen

Avalanche Valley, one of the many destinations within hiking distance of Foggy Flat

Foggy Flat

Drive time: 2 hours
Hike: 13.5 miles (RT)

RESTING BENEATH Mount Adams’s lonely northeastern flank, Foggy Flat is a grab bag of alpine splendor. Punch your tent stakes down and observe the silhouette of the Goat Rocks Wilderness rising like a jagged fortress wall while Mount Rainier broods in the distance. Budding mountaineers frequent the area thanks to ready access to Adams’s wind-scoured glaciers, and hikers can tackle nearby Avalanche Valley or nibble off chunks of the Pacific Crest Trail snaking near the dormant volcano. That said, a fair number of Foggy Flat visitors come just to study the abundance of blue lupine and reeds of bear grass swaying in the breeze.

Vitals: US Forest Service Mount Adams Wilderness, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trapper Creek Wilderness Map; dogs allowed

Soapstone Lake

Drive time: 1.5 hours
Hike: 2.4 miles (RT)

LITTLE ONES often brim with enthusiasm at the start of a hike. But kids’ attention spans are notoriously short-lived. Keep their interest piqued on this bite-size, scenery-packed Coast Range excursion. Right out of the gate, gargantuan western hemlocks funnel you toward a pair of trickling creeks forded by wooden bridges. Next up, capture a few screensaver shots in a grassy meadow adorned with goldenrods, juicy blackberries, and the clear waters of Soapstone Creek. A few yards away lies Soapstone Lake, where the kids can busy themselves scouting for rough-skinned newts and belted kingfishers—at least until you get the s’mores going.

Vitals: Map available at; dogs allowed

Herman Creek Trail

Drive time: 1 hour
Hike: 14.6 miles (RT)

GRAND CANYON vets will tell you: to truly experience the park, you have to sidestep the masses. That’s easier said than done inside our own Big Ditch, the Columbia River Gorge. But the Herman Creek Trail, where the Gorge’s largest old-growth groves and a series of wispy, unnamed waterfalls hide, is an excellent staging ground for more solitary explorations. Make camp within the cathedral of trees found at Cedar Swamp, or add another five miles on a round-trip trek to Mud Lake, where your nearest neighbors will likely be pikas chirping from the talus hillsides.

Vitals: Green Trails Map No. 429; Northwest Forest Pass ($5 per day) required; dogs allowed