America is the birthplace of numerous long-distance trails, and, if we do say so ourselves, it still harbors some of the world’s best. “Our country has a pretty good network of hiking trails,” says Andrew Skurka, who has done the three longest—the Continental Divide, Appalachian Trail, and Pacific Crest Trails—as well as a host of other lesser known paths.
One of his all-time favorites is the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. “In terms of scenery, the Pacific Northwest Trail is pretty solid,” says Skurka. “It’s more scenic than the others, but it’s not as well established.” It passes through three national parks, seven national forests, the Rockies, North Cascades, and Olympic Mountains, and some of the lower 48’s most remote territory. Despite the promise of scenery, it’s still relatively unfrequented, which means hikers often have the unencumbered mountain views, thick forests, and soaring volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest all to themselves.
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association has information on the trail and maps. Parts of the trail are accessible by day hikers and short-haul backpackers.
Next: See Andrew Skurka's Dream Trip: Arctic Traverse Across the Yukon and Alaska
Hiker Andrew Skurka has hiked, skied, and pack-rafted 30,000+ miles at record speeds from the Appalachian Trail to Alaska. In 2005, he completed a 7,778-mile coast-to-coast trek from Quebec to Washington, and in 2010, he finished a 4,679-mile overland route through Alaska and the Yukon in 176 days, hitting several mountain ranges and eight national parks along the way.
- Nat Geo Expeditions