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There and back again - finding Middle Earth on Washington's trails

Participants in a snowshoeing class follow David Bean,a Whatcom County Parks and Recreation program coordinator, out on a short hike on Mount Baker near the ski area in this 2007 photo.
Participants in a snowshoeing class follow David Bean,a Whatcom County Parks and Recreation program coordinator, out on a short hike on Mount Baker near the ski area in this 2007 photo. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

For the second year in a row, the Washington Trail Association has unveiled a list of hikes in Washington that most resemble Middle Earth, the landscapes created by J.R.R. Tolkein and brought to cinematic life in the new film "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which opened in Bellingham theaters Thursday, Dec. 12.

"From Mirkwood's gloom to The Lonely Mountain's craggy peaks, we've found Washington versions of places in the first two films from Peter Jackson's vision of J. R. R. Tolkien's classic tale," according to the trail association's Signpost blog. "Some of the trails you can hike or snowshoe right now; the others will have to wait until next spring and summer."

Ok, so there may not be many dragons hiding in deep caves in Whatcom County, but some of these hikes are in our backyard - Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and North Cascades National Park.

For a look at the list - some of the hikes compare scenes from the movie to photos along the trails - click here.

Watch the official trailer for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

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