Feature Friday: 7 PNW Off-Road Areas & Trails To Explore – A Local Sourced Guide

Popular Off-Road Trails In The Pacific Northwest

7 Locals Discuss Top Trails & Areas To Explore In The Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) – Overland & Off-Road Guidance

This Week’s Topic: Top PNW Trails

We’re back with a brand new Feature Friday! Last week, we looked at a few overland camp gear favorites that can really elevate your outdoor experience. Today, we’re looking at seven popular PNW trails.

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is notorious for being one of the most beautiful areas in our country to off-road and overland. Everyone has a different idea of what the PNW encompasses; for this post, we’ll be covering places within Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite places to explore!

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1. Isaac Feathers – (@midnight_4runnah)

Lifted Black 5th Gen 4Runner With Blue Volks Wheels & Clamshell RTT

Favorite Trail

  • Bethel Ridge (WA)

Tell Us Why?

Bethel Ridge is one of the most amazing places for views and camping! This can either be a day trip or extended by going through the ridge further through Section 2 of the Washington Backroad Discovery Route (WABDR).

Section 2 is very scenic in general. There are tons of opportunities to take some great photos, hike, and camp along the way. But hands down, the most beautiful area within this section has to be Bethel Ridge.

Any time of year is great to explore this area. Whether it is the fall, when the temps are cool and the scenery is changing, or in the middle of winter where you’ll get to enjoy some of the most amazing snow-covered views. In the spring and summer, everything is in full bloom and you can get a clear view of all the surrounding mountains. It’s great for all off-roaders and overlanders regardless of experience level.

2. Marie Dubray – (@pnw.sr5p)

5th Gen 4Runner On Tahuya ORV Trail

Favorite Trail

  • Tahuya ORV (WA)

Tell Us Why?

There are so many places I could pick to be covered in this post but I would have to say Tahuya is my favorite for many reasons.

I’ll admit, you don’t get the breathtaking views that many other areas will provide. You also don’t get the opportunity to camp overnight and enjoy nature. Tahuya is very much a day adventure with an emphasis on adventure.

When I first started off-roading, I was extremely intimidated by this ORV park. However, as I’ve continued to go (at least 6-7 times now), I have gotten more confident over time. This has helped me become a better driver and learn so much about my 4Runner’s abilities.

I’ve seen Tahuya in all sorts of weather. From 3-foot-deep puddles to snow and ice all over the park, to extremely dry and dusty. I’d say my favorite would have to be in the snow. When we went this past winter, the park was completely empty, I think we only encountered three other trucks out there. This gave us a little bit more flexibility with exploring new areas while taking our time to enjoy the obstacles in the snow.

If you’re interested in testing out what your truck can do, Tahuya is the place to go. There are obstacles for all experience levels with lots of opportunities to meet other people who love off-roading. It’s definitely a must-visit place! If you’re going for the first time going, I recommend going with a reliable spotter.

3. Cindy Locklin – (@echo_inthepnw)

Popular Off-Road Trails In Oregon

Favorite Trail

  • Siskiyou Crest Route (OR)

Tell Us Why?

When I was asked about my favorite trail in the PNW, I found myself pondering several factors. What time of year would I be embarking on this adventure? Did I crave the majestic allure of mountains or the rugged beauty of the desert?

Residing in the PNW grants us access to an array of landscapes, making it incredibly challenging to select just one trail. Nevertheless, lately, I have discovered immense pleasure in traversing the Siskiyou Crest Route during the May-Oct season.

This particular trail offers a delightful blend of accessibility and diverse options for the more adventurous souls. As you approach the Mt. Ashland side, a breathtaking panorama of Mount Shasta unfolds on your left, captivating your senses. Continuing along the path, winding around corners, a spectacular sight awaits at an elevation of approximately 7000 feet – the majestic Rogue Valley mountains come into view, painting the landscape with a touch of awe-inspiring grandeur.

Upon descending from this remarkable route, an abundance of choices await, allowing you to tailor your experience according to your preferences. You have the option to extend the journey and transform it into a memorable 3 to 5-day overlanding adventure, immersing yourself fully in the wonders of nature. Alternatively, you can opt to descend into the Rogue Valley on the same day, without having to commit to a lengthy endeavor.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Siskiyou Crest Route is its versatility, catering to all skill levels. Whether you are a seasoned off-roader seeking a challenge or a beginner looking to embark on an outdoor adventure, this trail offers something for everyone. The rewards it offers are immense, promising awe-inspiring vistas and unforgettable experiences that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

4. Brooke Pucciarelli – (@lunar_prorunner)

Popular Off-Road Trails In The PNW

Favorite Trail

  • Olympic National Forest (WA)

Tell Us Why?

The Olympic National Forest has a ton of activities from camping with a view, to hikes and fishing. There are narrow trails with puddles to splash in and a ton of opportunities to take forest service roads connecting Quilcene to Sequim.

Part of what draws me to the area and why I love it so much is no matter what the weather, rain, sun, or snow there are always breathtaking views of ridge tops, overlooks of Canada facing north, spots to see Seattle looking southeast, and tons of mossy trees. This is the ultimate Washington experience.

My favorite time to go would be in spring to see the wildflowers or I also like to go over there in the fall to see the ferns turning orange. In the fall, when it starts to rain a lot more, there are lots of puddles to splash around in.

5. Camilo Lopez – (@roaming4runner)

Top PNW Trails For Overlanding

Favorite Trail

  • Stampede Pass to Greenwater (WA)

Tell Us Why?

This area is massive and offers a little bit of everything so you can create your own adventure. You can choose to explore for just part of the day or spend all day discovering new areas and taking in the sights which there are plenty of.

There are also many camping opportunities, some of which have gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier and the other surrounding peaks. I use apps such as OnX Offroad to give me a general sense of the area to check out and it usually pays off.

This trail is best explored in the summer months when it is clear of snow. That being said, with proper equipment and experience, it is also possible to traverse in the snow. This makes the trail and its surrounding landscape especially beautiful. However, beyond a certain amount of snowfall or if there is ice underneath, extreme caution must be taken as there are some dangerous hills and turns. As always, proper judgment is a must.

6. Shanny Stafford – (@solar.prorunner)

Solar Octane 4Runner TRD Pro

Favorite Trail

  • Lake Quinault Area (WA)

Tell Us Why?

I absolutely love exploring the Lake Quinault area within the Olympic National Forest. There are some of the most amazing views that you will find and it is huge with lots of opportunities to explore.

There are several waterfalls along S. Shore Rd. with plenty of spectacular views, and lots of wildlife to see including bald eagles and elk.

There are also plenty of opportunities to camp within the national forest. One of my favorites is camping at Graves Creek along the upper Quinault River. It’s peaceful and such a great area to camp in.

I highly suggest everyone check out this area. Honestly, you can come year-round because it’s beautiful all year.

7. Tyler Hon – (@summit4r)

Top PNW Trails For Off-Roading & Overlanding

Favorite Trail

  • Denver Creek Trail (ID)

Tell Us Why?

My favorite place to visit and explore is Stanley, Idaho but more specifically, the Sawtooth Mountains. My favorite trail is hands down the Denver Creek Trail. It’s a fun trail with lots of technical parts!

There are lots of trails for hiking and off-roading as well as tons of camping opportunities with dispersed and hidden lakes. There’s something for everyone over in that area. Whether you’re looking for something technical or more relaxed, the Sawtooth Mountains is the place to be.

If you’re looking to make a trip over to this area, you can’t go wrong with any time of the year. It’s always beautiful but my favorite is either late spring or early fall.

Final Thoughts

Top PNW Trails For Off-Roading

And that wraps up this week’s Feature Friday!

The PNW is a huge area with lots of opportunities to explore. What are some of your places? Comment down below your favorite trails within the PNW!

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7 months ago

Marie, yall got a list for below the Mason Dixon?

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