Nude Hiking in the Northwest: A Mini-Guide
Relaxing at Scenic Hot Springs in the Cascades.
Update: This beautiful site has been demolished
by the property owner over liability concerns.
Author's note: My writing is about nude hiking in Washington.
I know that lots of Californians (and others) come up here for
vacations and visits, so the data may be helpful. Viewers are
welcome to communicate their questions with me via e-mail.
Summers are short, days are long, and at least on weekdays, there are
dozens of lonesome trails. I know because I have been hiking them naked whenever I can since 1966.
I have been hiking the Washington mountains since I came to Seattle in 1955, but I had never imagined
nudity until 1966 when I discovered the now very popular, Scenic Hot Springs.
Then, the hot springs were almost unknown, primitive but beautiful (I didn't meet another person
there until 1971!). I was so exhilarated and warmed upon first discovering and ENJOYING the hot
springs, that I decided to stay nude until I got back to the highway.
Though I felt that I must be doing something illegal as well as immoral, I so enjoyed the freedom
and naturalness that I've been hooked ever since. The picture above is of me (center) at Scenic Hot
Springs. I am now 65, but I can still hike like 35; so nude hiking must be good for us, yes?
Over the years, I've probably been nude on part of at least 200 hikes, always when I was alone
(until fall of 99). These hikes have been mostly in the Washington Cascades, but have also included
the Washington Olympics, the coast, and in the Montana Rockies (Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness and
Amazingly, I have only seen another nude hiker once, and that was at a distance. Ironically,
this was on Bare Mountain (see #32 below). I would guess that I have been seen naked about 50 times
that I know about; unknowingly, perhaps I have been seen ten times more from small planes or boats on
Steve is on the Bandera Mountain trail in the Cascades.
I'm not as brave as Steve [Nude Hiking Reactions] and tend to hike more
lonesome trails. The 30 or so actual unavoidable encounters did scare me a little, yet none turned
out to be hostile. A few people seemed disapproving, a few with more amused typical (lame) comments:
"Uh, well, how are ya doing?"- (Ans:) "Well, I'm getting
a good workout."
Or, (Ques:) "Are you part of a cult or is this some kind of religious experience?"
- (Ans:) "Well, yes!"- (Ques:)
"Don't you get sunburned/mosquito bites in tender places?"- (Ans:)
"Well, not if you're careful."- (Ques:) "Did someone steal your clothes?"
- (Ans:) "Yeah, did you see some grinning bastard?"
Sometimes I have a excuse, like: "The brush is so wet; this way I won't get my pants soaked."
Many were a little uncomfortable and didn't want to linger in conversation. Yet, I suspect others
tried my experience later when they were alone.
I was really worried when I met a ranger in Mount Rainier National Park (on the Russell Glacier
above Spray Park); but he only wanted to be sure I had good boots and an ice ax.
A different kind of encounter on the Specimen Ridge trail in Yellowstone was coming up on
a large herd of deer; they didn't seem to know what to make of a bare-assed person.
OK, let me suggest some great trails for nude hiking. Some location guidelines:- In this region, Seattle's 3 million people totally dominate recreation.
So on weekends, trails within 1-2 hours of the city will get pretty crowded; yet even on weekends,
nude hiking is possible in less publicized trails if you get an early start.
On a weekday, trails use is probably 10 to 20 times less, so I've been able to hike nude on
popular trails a half hour from the city, if I get there before 8 AM. The trouble with this early
a start is that it can get pretty cold here in Washington. As others have noted, the male body
protects its jewels by contraction. When it is actually more enjoyable to be naked is in the late
afternoon when you are warmer and one's penis and balls can swing a little loose.
The majority of hikers do not make it past 3 miles, so the energetic hiker can often get past
Preferred environments for this guide:- I suppose most nude hikers
want sun and views and visibility, so my suggestions are biased to more open trails, as on high ridges
or areas above most timber, rather than in the dark forests for which western Washington is famous.
[Besides the deer flies are worse in the forests.]
The list also favors trails with a lake or small falls to cool off in. It's interesting, and odd,
that skinny dipping in mixed groups is very common at lakes in the Cascades (beyond the close-by lakes
with families), yet folks all return to "propriety" when back on the trail.
Here I am on the Mason Lake Trail
in the Cascades.
I have listed 57 hikes; I have hiked them all, some many times. Those with one
* means I hiked nude part of the way.
** means I encountered someone.
I note trails that are strenuous or that are a backpack (at least 2 days). The others I hiked with
family or friends, but I felt they would be good for nude hiking also. I also reference the hikes,
mainly with the well-known Mountaineers guides. These printed guides are published by
the Seattle Mountaineers. The guides
are widely available in book and sporting stores (Sam's Club, REI stores) and elsewhere.
100 S = 100 hikes in the South Cascades and Olympics.
100AL = 100 hikes in the Alpine Lakes.
100 GP = 100 hikes in the Glacier Peak area.
100 Classic = 100 classic hikes in Washington.
MSG = Hiking the Mountain to Sounds Greenway.
50 MR = 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier.
DWYT = Don't waste your time in the North Cascades.
Published by K & C Copeland, Wilderness Press, Berkeley, CA.
The list is also biased towards locations closer to Seattle, for convenience to most hikers. Most,
but not all of the hikes allow dogs. My dog has accompanied me on many of my hikes. I think a dog probably helps disarm people, although there are a few fanatic dog haters. While this list will be most familiar to Washingtonians, I know that lots of Californians come up here in the summer where it definitely is easier to hike naked. So welcome (as long as you don't stay).
1. ** Leadbetter Point State Park (Long Beach peninsula north of Ocean Park).
2. ** Rialto Beach to Cape Alava (Olympic National Park) 100 S #99. [The Olympic coastal strip is
fabulous, and when far from the road, nudity is more tolerated].
3. --Dungeness Spit State Park, near Port Angeles. [Pretty crowded
but possible and great.]
The Olympics [no dogs].
4. --Grand Ridge (Olympic National Park) 100 S #82. Long open
ridge, good visibility.
5. -* Mount. Townsend 100 S #79; in late spring, hike up through
6. --Summit Lake, Bearhead Mountain. 100 S #5-6. The lake can get
pretty crowded, but fewer beyond.
7. -*Goat Rocks: Snowgrass Flat, Goat Mountain. 100 S #34. Glorious
8. (*)* Mount Adams Glacier Meadows 100S #38, 40. Uncrowded area; my near encounter here was with a
9. -* White Pass: Blankenship Lakes 100S #24. Dozens of lonesome lakes,
millions of mosquitos.
10. ** Norse Peak wilderness (part of Crest trail) 100 S #9. Great wildflowers. Can drive up to open
area. (Rare in Washington.)
11. -*Mount Rainier: Sunset Lakes 50 MR #10. Lonesome point of Wonderland
12. -* Mount Rainier: Windy Gap/Natural Bridge 50 MR #19. [No dogs in Mount
13. --Mount Rainier: Burroughs Mountain 5- MR #31 [near Sunrise, can get
crowded, but open and visible]. Note: Mount Rainier has dozens of great hikes, but also more people
and more rangers, so is less suitable for nude hiking.
Really close: 30-40 minutes.
East of Seattle; the I-90 Corridor. Advantage: close. Disadvantage: more people.
14. **Tiger Mountain State Forest. Hundreds of hikers, joggers, mountain bikers. You will meet
people (I was almost run down by a biker on my most recent encounter: he said way to go!, but biked on,
clothed. Dozens of trails, some for hikers only.
15. -* Rattlesnake Mountain. East Peak is more scenic, fairly
uncrowded after the Ledges. See MSG pages 160-178. Famous Mount Si? Don't bother!
16. **Granite Creek to Thompson Lake (Mount Defiance) MSG pages 127-130. Up gated logging road,
then open trail; pretty lonesome, tho I met a logging truck! Thirty minutes to one hour.
17. -*Mason Lake-Mount Defiance. 100 AL #89. Steep fisherman's trail,
great rocks to go up (not for dogs). Two of the pictures on this page were taken on this trail.
18. **Talapus Lake, Island Lake, Ollalie Lake. 100 AL #88. Talapus is overcrowded, but above
Olallie and near Island is a great open ridge. Good blueberries in late summer.
19. -* Bandera Mountain 100 AL #90. Steepish scramble, but open, uncrowded. One of my pictures were taken on this trail.
20. ** Granite Peak 100 AL #87. Pretty crowded, go really early. Crystal Lake (side trail) is more lonesome.
21. ** Denny Creek, Melakwa Lake 100 AL #85. Crowded, but possible, BEYOND near sunning rocks, with many families and children. Great sunbathing waterfalls uptrail. Second hike with a companion.
One to two hours.
22. -* Lake Lillian (and Rampart Ridge). 100AL #81, but e-mail me for shortcut. First hike with companion. We (I?) were nervous for a bit, but then enjoyed it.
23. ** Rachel Lake, Rampart Ridge 100 AL 79. Crowded to Rachel Lake, uncrowded and more tolerant up on the ridge (many small tarns).
24. -* Thorp Mountain Lookout (manned, summer '99) 100 AL #61. Fairly short.
25. ** Mineral Park trail to Park Lakes 100 AL #64. Pass old mines; fairly lonesome.
26. --Pollalie ridge 100 AL #63. Nice ridge and vistas of larger mountains.
27. ** Tuck and Robin Lakes. 100 AL #74. One of greatest hikes, up to high rocky
lakes (and tolerated nudity). Strenuous.
28. -* Marmot Lake, Lake Clarice. 100 AL #76. Higher up, the better.
29. -* Teanaway: Esmeralda Basin, Lake Ann. 100 AL #56. Lake Ann part lonesome,
30. -* Teanaway, Navajo Pass, County Line trail 100 Al # 48 or Beverly
Creek; # 51: pretty lonesome trails.
31. -* Middle Fork Snoqualmie, Williams Lake. 100 AL #96. Glorious beauty spot!
However, the trail is far and the road is very shitty; but is to be improved in the next two years.
32. -* Bare Mountain. 100 AL #98. Great open stretches, check if road open.
Northeast of Seattle: US 2 Corridor 1-2 hours
33. -- Lake Serene. Great but crowded. 100 Classic # 47. Go early.
34. ** Foss Lakes (Lake Dorothy, Bear Lakes) 100 AL #6, great past Lake Dorothy (families not there)
35. -* Necklace Valley 100 AL #5. Long but glorious. Strenuous, backpack.
36. -* Tonga Ridge. 100 AL #3 Advantage is road goes almost to open ridge.
37. -* Surprise Lake, Surprise Mountain 100 AL #9 Superb hike, up the mountain
is great. E-mail for details.
38. *** Scenic Hot Springs. Short hike, great reward. Nudity the norm. E-mail me for info. Extremely
crowded on weekends. (Photo above.)
39. ** Tunnel Creek, Hope and Mig Lake, Crest Trail. 100 AL #10
40. ** Alpine Lookout, Nason Ridge. 100 GP 50, 54. Open ridge, parts also open to
motorcycles (my encounter).
41. -*West Cady Ridge, Pass Creek loop 100 GP #41. Ford of river is tricky,
but lonesome and great ridge.
42. -* N. Fork Skykomish to Dishpan Gap and Kodak Peak Strenuous backpack.
100 GP 42-43. Beyond Dishpan Gap is most glorious point of Crest Trail. Open, lonesome.
US 2 - Over two hours.
43. --Wildhorse Creek, Snowgrass Mountain 100 AL #14. Don't go in hunting
season! Well, here I met guys hiking in their jockey shorts; why not all the way?
44. --Chiwawa River (Trinity). Buck Creek Pass 100 GP #71 Backpack.
45. --Also via Trinity: Phelps Creek Spider Meadows. 100 GP #74. Backpack. OK, this is far and tough, but one of the most glorious places in the state. Mountain Loop highway (SR 92). Lots of camping and many short lake hikes.
46. ** Headlee Pass and Vesper Peak. 100 GP #38. Most accessible and achievable climb, yes naked, in the Cascades, but a real peak. Strenuous. And wondrous.
47. -*Goat Lake. 100 GP #26. Excellent access; a little crowded.
48. ** Gothic Basin. 100 GP #27. Great hike to wild open basin and wanders. Nice falls to cool off
From Monte Cristo are several good hikes 100 GP 28-29. But you need a bike to cover the 5 miles of
gated road first. Even so, rather crowded. So not on my list.
SR 530 to Darrington (or SR 92) Glacier Peak wilderness.
49. -* Lost Creek Ridge. 100 GP #21. Lonesome, magnificent.
50. -* Pilot Ridge 100 GP 23. Even more lonesome, fabulous.
51. ** Red Pass, White Pass, DWYT #90. Strenuous backpack, but accesses the most
magnificent part of the wilderness, and open flowery ridges.
52. -*Meadow Mountain 100 GP #17. Great hike, espec eastern part, but
hesitate to include because of stupid 5 mile walk on gated road.
53. -* Green Mountain 100 GP #9. Great open strenuous hike.
**Kennedy Hot Springs? Don't bother, unless you intend to hike Glacier Peak areas beyond or hike back
to Lake Byrne. (Guy I encountered here thought I was a little weird)
54. --Hidden Lakes Peaks 100 N #25. DWYT #7
55. ** Railroad Grade, Park Butte. 100 N 13. Great open slope, good visibility, views.
56. --Mount Baker: Ptarmigan Ridge DWYT #4. People, but great views.
57. --Skyline Divide. 100 N #2. Great open ridge. DWYT #1. Cascade Pass?
Yes, gateway to fabulous country, but very crowded, rangers, etc. so not on my list.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Mason Lake Trail.
Whew!- I can't believe I found so many great hikes to recommend.
For additional suggestions, or to tell me why a suggestion was lousy, or for additional information,
or even to send pics, e-mail me at: