When a close friend invited me on a backpacking trip of the Pacific Northwest, I laughed a little. Why would I waste money on a trip to a place where it rains nine months of the year?
He ensured me the consistent downpours wouldn’t dampen our spirits or cost much. After one month of backpacking through Oregon, and Seattle, I discovered the intriguing allure of the unusual off the beaten path adventures offered in the Pacific Northwest.
Through my experiences I found 5 off the beaten path adventures you must do when planning a backpacking trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Barbecue in Portland & Late Night Eats in Seattle
I spent three days in Portland. It rained every single day. The weather didn’t really create the ideal experience for a backpacking trip, especially in a city surrounded by amazing outdoor activities, gardens, and parks.
Instead of hiking through the nearby forests, I uncovered an unusual barbecue restaurant. I wouldn’t have noticed this 15-20 seat restaurant if a fellow hostel bunkmate didn’t suggest it.
I love to eat, but food costs can drain your travel budget. I’m always scrapping for high energy foods, normally carbs that save money and can be easily transported while backpacking. But it’s satisfying when I discover an affordable restaurant with amazing food.
It’s also great when not a lot of people know about it. Having a secret restaurant makes it more appealing.
You must try the southern inspired cuisine at Smokehouse 21. Look for the lit up pig in the window. This is my go to eatery in the Pacific Northwest and it easily saves you money on a desirable and satisfying dinner.
In Seattle Dick’s Drive-In saved me a lot of food money, especially after a pub crawl. Bars kill the travel budget.
I know it isn’t exactly healthy for me, but this burger joint is extremely cheap, open till 2 AM, and convenient. Before leaving the city I grabbed two burgers for the bus ride north to Vancouver.
Near the quaint city of Roseburg, this beautiful lake is located in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon. I discovered this outdoorsman paradise when the rains ceased after leaving Portland. We camped, fished, kayaked, and explored the natural surroundings with endless hikes every day.
Camping is always my number one cost effective aspect of a backpacking trip. Diamond Lake offered us the solitude and scenic views of the Pacific Northwest wild life. It also helps when you have a small portable two person tent that fits conveniently on your backpack.
You must camp in this region. A trip to Oregon isn’t complete unless you spend a few days in the wilderness.
Hear the Music
This piece of art and sound in Magnuson Park near Seattle offers a unique experience. It’s not easy to find, which is good for the backpacking adventurist like me. The sound garden is an area with tall pipes that creates cool sounds when the wind blows. It’s an artistic creation that attributes to the weirdness of the Pacific Northwest.
Find Fresh Water
Fresh water is essential for any backpacking trip. I hiked to this fresh water spot, but lost all the incredible photographs when I dropped my camera into the water while trying to capture the perfect picture.
Wallace Falls, found in Steven’s Pass, boasts remarkable views, great hikes, and a little bit of fresh water excitement you’ve been searching for. You can find seclusion to think, escape the city life of Seattle, and be immersed in the tranquil sounds of falling water.
Tranquility with Fudge
You can’t plan a trip through the Pacific Northwest without including a little bit of history. I visited the Brigittine Monastery south of Portland. This monastic order, founded in 1370, makes and sells gourmet confections to fund its order.
I highly suggest visiting the monastery and purchasing a little fudge. You get a little history, religion, and sweet treats unique to the Pacific Northwest. Visiting a monastery makes me feel like my backpacking adventure is somewhat of a pilgrimage, even if it was only for the fudge.
The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer besides consistent rains. These five things to do are only a sample of my backpacking travels. I loved every second spent exploring the lands and meeting the abnormal people who call the region home.