Last minute, close to home, unorganized backpacking

If you’re the sort of person who has your camping planned and reserved months ahead of time, or picks out long, difficult backpacking trips requiring permits, car shuttles and multiple shopping trips, this post is probably not for you. If you sometimes find yourself overwhelmed and discouraged by the need for reservations, racing for a campsite, or planning long backpacking trips, you may feel like this is you wake up randomly on a Saturday morning and want to get out of town overnight

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If you’ve ever felt this way, here are a couple of suggestions for short hike, short drive backpacking trips where I have backpacked on a weekend in August and had no problems with finding a site. A word of caution: whenever heading into the backcountry, even a short distance, it’s critical to carry the 10 essentials, especially plenty of water (and a way to treat water), plenty of food and warm clothes (it will get cold at night even in August).

Dewey Lake, Chinook Pass (6 miles round trip, 600 ft of elevation gain)

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Mt Rainier from the Dewey Lake trail

On the Dewey Lake trail, which lies partly in Mt Rainier National Park, though the lake does not, you’ll be treated to great views of the mountain and wonderful wildflowers.

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Western Columbine near Dewey Lake

You won’t be alone one the trail or at the lake, but there are lots of campsites! During the day you can enjoy reading and relaxing by the lake..

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Reading next to Dewey Lake

And in the evening, take in the setting sun behind Mt Rainier…

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Margaret Lake, Snoqualmie Pass (6 miles round trip, 1500 ft of elevation gain)

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Camping at Lake Margaret

Lake Margaret is a great, close to home destination with some great campsites. Another great place to lounge all afternoon with a book and then take in some amazing stars at night. On the way up the trail, you’ll get some great views of Mt Rainier..

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And lots of fireweed on the way up…

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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She is working to earn a living outside and by sharing her beautiful and unique Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.