Hit the trail with our favorite Northwest hikes (plus safety tips)
Snow-free trails, balmy temperatures, and plenty of clear skies make August prime hiking season in the Northwest. We asked PEMCO employees to share their top GORE-TEX® and granola getaways – and they delivered with beaches, waterfalls, stunning vistas, and surprising urban options across Washington and Oregon. Check out their favorite Northwest hikes, along with descriptions of conditions, what to bring, and what not to miss.
Don't get 'left in the woods'
The difference between "adventure" and "ordeal" can come down to preparation. Make sure your fun stays fun with these five hike-smart tips from our friends at REI and our Claims department:
- Prevent trailhead break-ins. Nothing says "the party's over" like returning to your car and finding a spray of shattered glass on the ground or a siphoned gas tank. While it's hard to estimate the number of trailhead car prowls (many victims don't report them), there's a surefire way to protect your car: Leave it home. Instead, ask a friend to drop you off and pick you up at the trailhead, provided you're certain to stick to your return-time estimate.
If that's not possible, do the next best thing. Clear out the car, with nothing left to steal. That means no coats on the backseat. No wallet stashed under the visor. No camera gear stowed in the trunk. You even can empty and open storage compartments, showing thieves you've left no tempting goodies hidden there. (Just remember to remove the light bulb inside your glove compartment so you don't drain your battery!)
If you're driving an older vehicle, consider changing to a locking gas cap – not a foolproof deterrent, but it may be enough to encourage a lazy gas thief to pass by your car.
See more tips here to prevent car break-ins.
- Pack a map with a protective case. Even day-hikers can lose their way on trails, sometimes with tragic results. A map and compass or a GPS unit can lead you back to familiar ground. Remember, a cell phone won't help if you're miles from a cell tower.
- Carry basic first-aid supplies. Hiking with someone who has a serious allergy? Pack the EpiPen®! Pack a few bandage strips, moleskin (think blisters), and even an elastic wrap in case someone needs to limp out on a turned ankle. Don't forget the bug spray and sunscreen, and throw in extra prescription medications in case your trip lasts longer than you planned.
- Bring an extra day's worth of food and water. Both are critical if you're delayed by a wrong turn or injury. And consider packing a water filter, which can pump an endless supply once you find a source.
- Emergency (warm) clothing, reflective blanket, flashlight, and matches. Sure, they'll probably never leave your pack. But you'll be oh-so-grateful if you find yourself unexpectedly spending the night amid more nature than you wanted.