With longer days and warmer temperatures, hikes, lakes, and weekend adventures await. We’re here to give you four spots we recommend and consider “hidden gems” of the pacific northwest. Whether you’re a casual hiker, avid coaster, or lake go-er, we’ve got you covered. Dive into these lesser-known spots and discover the diverse beauty of the PNW while getting the scoop on our top gear and hiking backpacks recommendations. 

First up we have Hamilton Mountain - a true gem of the north side of the Columbia River Gorge. A 5.4-mile out-and-back trail located near North Bonneville, Washington. Hamilton Mountain offers a trail that's both challenging and exceptionally rewarding, featuring vibrant wildflowers and stunning views of the Gorge. As you navigate the terrain, you'll encounter waterfalls, craggy cliffs, and deep forests that ensure a constantly engaging and scenic hike. This diversity in the landscape makes every step worth the effort! We recommend bringing along the Davis Daypack, a 20L rolltop hiking backpack that is lightweight and easily fits all the essentials for a challenging trek. 

Hiker standing at a viewpoint on a trial.

Next, head up to Mt Hood for a beautiful day at Mirror Lake. This small but mighty lake offers the perfect setting for a relaxed day by the water. Although it's easily accessible, the two-mile hike to reach the lake naturally thins the crowds, providing a more serene experience.  With a serene view of Mt Hood rising in the background, Mirror Lake is truly one of the most picturesque spots in the area. For a perfect day at the lake, don't forget to pack a picnic. Load up our Tabor Tote with your favorite snacks and drinks, and you're all set to enjoy the beauty of Mirror Lake!

Couple walking along a beach trail with tote bags.

For a mellow 2(ish) mile day hike at the Oregon Coast, visit Saint Perpetua! This trail packs a punch in a short amount of time, being considered a moderately challenging route with amazing rewards. Bring along our Pioneer 12 Hip Pack as your trail companion to easily carry your keys, phone, and snacks for the journey. Starting amidst a beautiful spruce forest covered in wildflowers, the trail then winds upward through a series of switchbacks. Your effort pays off at the summit where you're greeted with a panoramic view of the Oregon Coast. From Cape Foulweather in the north to Cape Blanco in the south, the scenic viewpoint makes this hike well worth the journey. 

2 hikers on a waterfall trail.

Lastly, take a day to kick back and relax at the Wilson River. There are plenty of serene spots along the Wilson River, but we specifically want to highlight Keenig Creek. Just about 1 hour from Portland, this spot offers one of the most peaceful stretches in the Pacific Northwest. The riverbank features rocky shores and sandy areas, creating the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing. Plus, this swimming hole is especially memorable because of its deep, emerald green hue. If you find yourself captivated by the scenery and aren’t ready to leave, you can extend your stay overnight at Keenig Creek Campground to fully immerse yourself in the PNW swimming hole dream. 

River scene in the woods.

We hope you're inspired to strap on your hiking boots, grab your North St Bag, and set out on your own adventures this summer! The right hiking backpacks and gear can make all the difference in transforming a good trip into a great one, so pack wisely and embrace the wild, wonderful outdoors of the PNW. Here’s to finding your trail and making memories along the way.

Curtis Williams