Throughout the course of the Pandemic Roadtrip, Austin and I were granted the opportunity to see some truly incredible places. Jagged peaks, beatiful lakes, and peaceful forests. They’re memories which will stay with us for our entire life. Having the chance to not only embark on a weeks-long roadtrip together, but also set out on incredible treks was icing on the cake. I highly recommend these five destinations to visit on a road trip.
In all, we hiked over 250 miles in our 35 days on the road. This includes drive time and zero days due to weather. So if you do the math, we were getting after it when we did hike. Here are some of my favorite places we were able to explore during the roadtrip.
My 5 destinations to visit on a road trip
Mt. Daniel Summit, Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Eight miles up and 5,000 feet of elevation gain later, the trio were standing on top of Mt. Daniel in the Central Cascades. A somewhat interesting hike up through scree and loose gravel had me on edge (or maybe I was more worried I’d break my camera), but the result was pure magic. On the way up, we were able to overlook four alpine lakes, while getting to witness an incredible sunset and sunrise. Did I mention we literally slept on the top? Yeah, we did that! It was bonkers. That’s summer for ya in the PNW. I’m fairly certain it was the most incredible 24 hours of my hiking life.
Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range
After completing the Titcomb Basin hike the year before, the Cirque of the Towers was high on my list of backpacking destinations. Luckily, I was able to get back to the Wind River Ranger for some more backpacking goodness. This area is truly magical and we lucked out by not having too many bugs. On the way to the Lonesome Lake, we passed by three lakes before hitting the Continental Divide. It’s only 10-11 miles in and doesn’t have a ton of elevation gain until the end.
Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains
Jagged Peaks. Hot springs. Alpine Lakes. Bonkers Milky Way. That’s all in and around the Sawtooth Mountains. This area proved to be the highlight of the trip and I cannot wait to get back for more adventures in this area. We ended up doing two different trips spanning 5 days and it was totally worth it. I highly recommend getting to Idaho’s backcountry and adding this as one of your destinations to visit on a road trip.
Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park
Tucked in the northwest part of the park and only 20 miles from the Canadian border lies Bowman Lake. On a calm day, the reflection from this lake will dazzle and the hiking, in grizzly country mind you, is glorious. We only spent a handful of hours here and I wish we could have done a lot more adventuring in this neck of the GNP woods. There’s not a ton of parking and fills up fast, but I definitely recommend here and the huckleberry treats at Polebridge when you drive in/out.
Sunrise Visitor Center, Mt. Rainier National Park
The hub of all the hikes to the north/norwest of Mt. Rainier, Sunrise Visitor Center has it all. Want a fire lookout? Go to Fremont Lookout. Want to get close to Mt Rainier? Hike the Burroughs Mountains. Want to see layers or shoot the milky way? Go to Dege Peak. Want to hike part of the Wonderland Trail? Start at Sunrise. There’s so many hikes that start here, it’ll satisfy at least two days of your trip to Mt. Rainier.
There’s so many amazing places on earth, but you won’t be disappointed with these are five destinations to visit on a road trip. The are unique, diverse, and some will even take you away from the crowds. Get wild!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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