One of the most dramatic hikes (5.4 miles round trip) under the shadow of Oregon’s tallest peak, the hike/scramble up the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River won’t leave you disappointed. Depart from the Top Spur Trailhead (same as for McNeil Point), but instead make your way to the base of the Sandy Glacier where abundant wildlife hangs out and water cascades from every precipice.
This popular lake outside of Washington’s climbing capital (Index) draws visitors from near and far. And for good reason; it’s absolutely what it says it is, perfectly serene. Just above the constantly tumbling 1,328-foot Bridal Veil Falls, Lake Serene is nestled in a bowl with the 3,500-foot craggy cliffs of Mount Index towering above it.
On its own, Walupt Lake makes for an amazing summer getaway spot! Camping, fishing, paddling out on its placid water, watching nesting osprey, but it’s also the best base camp for exploring deeper into Washington’s awe inspiring Goat Rocks Wilderness. Whether you want to find elusive Walupt Creek Falls or climb to the top of the long extinct volcano for full panorama views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams or Mount St. Helens, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hiking area.
As a part of the Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco, this short hike out to Chimney Rock provides an unparalleled perspective on the beauty of Drake's Bay and the surrounding swath of Pacific Ocean. While you're out on the peninsula, keep an eye out for California’s endemic sub-species of tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes), as this is also home to one of the state’s largest herds.
Just north of Oregon’s Mount Jefferson (the state’s second tallest peak), Olallie Lake, and the cluster of dozens of its neighboring lakes are a designated Scenic Area. And now that we’re heading into the Labor Day weekend, you won’t have to worry so much about the presence of mosquitos which riddle the place earlier in the summer. Rent a row boat, stay in a cabin at the Olallie Lake Resort, hike up Olallie Butte, or make the 11.6-mile round trip hike into legendary Jefferson Park.