Easy Backpacking Destinations in Washington for Older Kids
Sometimes it can be a little difficult finding easier kid friendly backpacking destinations for your older kids (think 8 years and older). The following is a list of easy first trip destinations for you and your kids to enjoy. Be sure to check here if you have an younger kid or one who wants less of a challenge.
East Bank Baker Lake
Baker Lake Trail, also known as East Bank Baker Lake, is a great trail for young backpackers. The trail winds along Baker Lake and you have the option of hiking two miles to the closest camp sites or continuing on for a total of 4.5 miles to the last campsites. With a minimal gain of 500 feet, your little one will enjoy cruising along on this trail crossing bridges, hopping over streams and taking breaks next to the lake.
Tubal Cain Mine
Tubal Cain Mine and the Buckhorn Wilderness is one of my favorite places to take beginner backpackers. This trail system is packed with a B-17 crash site, mines, mining equipment and trails that lead to some impressive mountain summit views. Camp sites sit below the Tubal Cain Mine along the Copper River, 3.5 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead. The turnoff to climb up hill to check out the crash site is about a quarter mile before the camping area. Follow the trail across the river and traverse across a mountain trail to panoramic views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.
Ipsut Creek Campground
Backpacking along the old road of Mt. Rainier's north entrance along the Carbon River is one of the best beginner backpacking destinations. With the campground being a former car camping destination, tent platforms, privies and bear boxes are available. From the Carbon River Ranger Station to the Ipsut Creek Campground is 4.9 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain. After setting up camp, you will find there is plenty to explore. Ipsut Falls is only 0.3 miles farther down the trail and if you turn onto the Wonderland trail and hike another 2.7 miles, you will come to a large suspension bridge that crosses the Carbon River heads up to the toe of the Carbon Glacier.
Boulder River, a favorite beginner backpack destination in the North Cascades is 4.3 miles (one way) with 700 feet of elevation gain. A few campsites line the trail, however hiking the total 4ish miles to the end of the trail brings you to a nice campsite. Here you can safely jump in the water and cool off in the summer. This trail features a beautiful double waterfall and close up views of the Boulder River.
Lake Dorothy is a great short hike to a large lake filled with many campsites. Although the milage to the lake is a short 1.75 miles, the route gains 800 feet along the way. This is perfect for an older kid with the endurance for a short up hill climb. If you have the energy, you can continue on past Lake Dorothy to Bear and Deer Lakes for an extra 1000 feet gain and extra 4 miles. Alternatively, you can make Lake Dorothy a base camp and dayhike to Bear and Deer Lakes.
6. Pete Lake: 9 miles / 400
7. Ancient Lakes: 8 miles / 600 feet gain
8. Packwood Lake: 9 miles / 600 feet gain
9. Ozette Triangle: 9.4 miles / 100 feet
10. Dewey Lakes: 6 miles / 600 feet gain
11. Camp Handy – Upper Dungeness River: 7 miles / 600 feet gain