Spring Backpacking

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Spring has sprung. Its time to cure our cabin fever. Finding trails early in the spring and winter can be a challenge. What are some of the best early season hikes? My favorite so far has been the Olympic coast. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to head down to the Imnaha river in Hells Canyon.

I could use some more desert trails as well, and we'll have to see what becomes of that Owyhee wilderness. I did a great trip over in the Owyhee (in Oregon) a few years back. It's in Douglas Lorain's 'Oregon Backpacking' book, and while it's only 17 miles, there is a lot to explore and because there aren't any trails, it feels a quite adventerous. It was a great trip with spectacular scenery, I definitely need to do more exploration over there and see what else I can find. I've always thought that doing a longer hike along other portions of the Owyhee would be good, but with no trails I'm sure it would be pretty difficult. Oregon Owyhee Photos
I might end up visiting the Rogue next month. I've heard nothing but good about it. It's about a 10 hour drive from CDA, but my hiking buddies all live in portland, so it would be worth the trip. It's too bad there isn't more in the desert regions of eastern washington and oregon. There are a lot of interesting areas, but hardly enough miles of trail. I have heard that an Idaho representative is pushing for a wilderness in the owyhee river country. It is hard to pass up the Wallowas. Hells canyon is different all together. A good majority is hikeable year round and even the high country on the oregon side is hikeable april/may. The time I have spent around hells canyon, mostly in a boat or a truck and high up on the Idaho side, I have seen a ton of wildlife( deer, elk, goat, bighorn, bear, and I'm pretty sure I saw a cougar chasing a calf, not to mention plenty of rattle snakes. It wouldn't be a disappiontment.
Yeah, its always kind of tough this time of year...I'm always ready to go, but can't always find a good trail. I agree, the Olympic Coast is a good destination, and I think some of the valleys in the Olympic Mountains could be good. I've done the Hoh River in the middle of winter, and could get out quite a ways before hitting snow. I think my favorite spring hike is the Rogue River. The weather is generally a little warmer and nicer in southern Oregon, and the leaves and wildflowers sprout a couple of weeks earlier than places up north. I also have meant to look into the Illinois River and other hikes in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness for spring hikes. I'm interested to hear how the Imnaha River goes, always meant to get over to Hell's Canyon, but I always get sucked in by the Wallowas instead!