New guide focuses on Olympic hikes Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest named ‘hidden gem’

A new guidebook on hiking in and around Olympic National Park hits bookstores this month.

“Top Trails: Olympic National Park & Vicinity” by Doug Lorain features a selection of routes of varying degrees of difficulty from all over the Olympic Península, highlighting spectacular scenery and wildlife along the way.

It includes full descriptions of new trails such as Mount Muller Loop and Murhut Falls, and also introduces readers to some outstanding but often overlooked hikes.

Published by Menasha Ridge Press, the book is selling for $18.95.

Lorain, of Beaverton, Ore., has written a number of hiking guides including “Backpacking Washington” and “100 Classic Hikes in Oregon.” He has lived in the Northwest since 1969.

If you are looking for a hidden getaway this summer, the editors of Country magazine recommend Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The forest was recently named to the magazine’s “Hidden Gems: Best Parks in the United States” list.

One stipulation for this year’s list is that nominees could not be among the 100 most-visited national parks.

At Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, you will find the best hiking trails the Northwest has to offer, said a news release from the magazine.

“While it might seem incongruous to call a 10,000-square-mile national forest a ‘hidden’ gem, this country is so big that even a scenic wonder larger than seven of our 50 states can disappear into the vastness,” said Country editor Robin Hoffman.

The forest stretches from the northern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park to the Canadian border. It is known for its majestic valleys and crags.

Also making the list were:

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wisconsin): This remarkable area is a mix of sea caves, old lighthouses and plenty of other maritime treasurers. It is tucked into the northern portion of the state’s Lake Superior coastline.

Baxter State Park (Maine): The park is filled with color come fall. It also is home to Mount Katahdin, the nothern terminus to the famed Appalachian Tail. The park sits in north-central Maine.

Chugach National Forest (Alaska): This diverse area is home to scores of glaciers and ice fields, lush rain forests and mountain ranges that descend to the ocean. Chugach is also home to wildlife including bald eagles, moose, black bears and grizzly bears.

Makoshika State Park (Montana): Soaring rock formations and prehistoric relics make this state park a dramatically colorful destination. Erosions have been artfully at work in the gullies and hills, leaving formations that reach to the sky like elegant spires. The park is home to many birds … as well as some dinosaurs; 10 species of fossils have been discovered.

Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado): Tucked in the southwest corner of the state, just 10 miles from New Mexico, Mesa Verde is 8,572 feet above sea level. Among the park’s best sites are those engineered by ancestral Puebloans, sometimes called Anasazi, who built the community several generations ago.

Myakka River State Park (Florida): An incredible array of wildlife congregates in this area along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Visitors will likely see roseate spoonbills.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park (Texas): Encompassing 29,182 acres in the northernmost section of the canyon, the park is filled with clear, winding rivers, red sandstone ramparts and graceful cottonwoods. The name, Palo Duro, is Spanish for “hard wood,” which reflects the area’s mesquite and juniper trees.

Red River Gorge Geological Area (Kentucky): This are featured towering cliff, deep ravines and more than 100 sandstone arches. Among the best known is Sky Bridge.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (California): In the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada lies a land accessible mostly by foot or horseback. The park dates back to 1890, making it the second oldest national park. The land is filled with the world’s largest trees, glaciated granite mountains and more.

Mount Rainer changing hours

Visitor centers and other operations at Mount Rainier National Park have switched to their summer operating schedules. Here is a look at what is open and when:

Carbon River: The ranger station is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Longmire: The Wilderness Info Center is open 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Longmire Museum is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. National Park Inn is open daily for lodging and dining. Cougar Rock Campground is open.

Ohanapecosh: The visitor center will be open noon- 4 p.m. June 28-29. It will then be open noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays from July 2-Aug. 3. The campground is open.

Paradise: The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center is now open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Paradise Inn is open for lodging and dining.

Sunrise: The visitor center and Sunrise Day Lodge are expected to open around July 3.

White River: The Wilderness Info Center is open 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The White River Campground is scheduled to open June 27.