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Three Steps to a Three-Day Weekend

Posted by Lace Thornberg at Sep 01, 2011 12:35 PM |

Many of us are looking forward to a three days off over Labor Day weekend, but, if you're reading this blog post, chances are good that you haven't quite decided where to go yet. WTA is here to help.

Hear that creaking sound? It's Labor Day Weekend, inching ever closer. In fact, it is almost here. 

Many of us have been looking forward to this three-day weekend all summer, but, if you're reading this blog post, chances are good that you haven't quite decided where to go yet.

  • Step One: Do not panic. We're here to save your weekend!
  • Step Two: Ignore the fact that the arrival of Labor Day Weekend could indicate that summer is winding down.
  • Step Three: Trust WTA's website for suggestions and advice.


We know three-day weekends mean different things to different hikers. Those with wanderlust will spend a day driving in order to reach an area that's just too far away for a normal weekend. Climbers will look to bag two big peaks instead of just one. Music fans get to take in Bumbershoot concerts one day, and hit the trail the next. And, for those semi-responsible types, it means you can spend some time dealing with your house/yard/family chores and still have one or two days left to play.

We aim to please here at WTA, so we have suggestions for 1-, 2- and 3-day outings. Read up, pack up and enjoy!

If You Only Have One Day to Hike...

Savor a Mountain Vista in the North Cascades. Trappers Peak offers a jaw-dropping panorama of craggy peaks and deep valleys. After a gentle climb, you will come to a flower-lined steep push, followed by a short scramble to the summit. In this unusual season, you can look down on lupine in peak bloom next to shrubs that are taking on hints of autumnal red. To bump this peak into the two-day category, get a backcountry permit and camp down at Thornton Lake and make a weekend of it. (Notes: The upper lakes are still under ice and snow. Bring bug repellant. You'll want a 4WD for the steep road.)

More North Cascades summits

If You Have Two Hiking Days...

Find a Hidden Lake in the Olympics. No doubt, there will be tons of folks heading up to Mount Townsend, but you can veer off after three miles and descend to Silver Lakes. After passing through Camp Windy, you'll reach slopes that are reported to be covered with lupine, Columbia lewisia, tiger lily, flowering mock orange, sickletop lousewort and more. With temps in 80s forecasted, you may be tempted to brave the lake's chilly water.

More Olympic lakes

Visit the Goat Rocks Wilderness in the South Cascades. The Goat Rocks offer open forest, dense forest, meadows, mountains, views and flowers. Beauty, with a chance of elk. Bear Creek Mountain, WTA staffer Susan Elderkin's favorite hike, can be done as an enjoyable long day or as a backpacking trip.

More Goat Rocks campouts

If You Want to Hike All Three Days...

Roam through the Paysaten Wilderness. Pair the Buckskin Ridge Trail with the West Fork of the Pasayten River Trail for a superb 32-mile loop through the Pasayaten Wilderness that starts and ends at Slate Pass. As you head north on the high and wild Buckskin Ridge Trail, the vista filled with copper, gold and gunmetal peaks will lure you forward step by step. After 16 miles, you'll be close to the confluence of the West and Middle Forks of the Pasayaten River. From here, you will travel 15.5 miles through lodgepole pine and lupine meadows as the West Fork of the Pasayten River Trail carries you back to Slate Pass. You'll find dispersed campsites along the trail, as you enjoy both scenery and solitude. Best of all, WTA volunteers have cleared this route this year, so you don't have to worry about downed trees. Enjoy!

More Methow adventures

If you didn't see the perfect trip for you, try our HikeFinder and our Trip Reports. We've got a few more suggestions.

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