Weekend Hikes: The Northern Loop

Washington

GPS: 47°03'N 122°07'W

Escape the gravitational pull of Mount Rainier's wildly popular Wonderland Trail to backpack the 36.6-mile (59-kilometer) Northern Loop, where you'll find a side of the eponymous national park that few even know exists. Here, dark old-growth forest gives way to an alpine zone where views stretch to far-off Mount Baker and Mount St. Helens. Elk graze the broad meadow at Grand Park, and the headwaters of the White River gather steam.

Vitals: A wilderness camping permit is required; www.nps.gov/mora.

For maps, visit maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps.


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