A short drive from Seattle, the hiking is spectacular

This summer’s devastating wildfires in eastern Washington have cast a smoky pall over some of the state’s premier hiking destinations, but those trails have been largely untouched by flames. So “best days” can be had in abundance throughout the Cascade Mountains, on trails within easy driving distance of the city. And you don’t have to scramble up steep rock to experience them.

It’s hard to say what’s best about a trip up to Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness — that glorious moment when you pop over the ridge and 9,415-foot Mt. Stuart is revealed in all its majesty, lunch beside Ingalls Lake, the après-hike dip in the crystal-clear Teanaway River to wash away the trail dust or the blue-cheese-and-grilled-onion burger at the historic Brick tavern in Roslyn — which stood in as the Alaskan town Cicely in the ’90s TV show “Northern Exposure” — on the way home. Partake in all of these, and you’ve got yourself one magical day.

There are options. Most straightforward is the trail to Lake Ingalls (nine miles round trip, 2,500- feet elevation gain) at the edge of Washington’s legendary Enchantments range, the views getting better with each step as you rise up to Ingalls Pass, with the culminating moment with Mt. Stuart. From the pass, the trail dips down to flower-filled Headlight Basin before its last jaunt to the lake. Or go a shorter distance (five miles round trip, 2,100-feet gain) on a branch to Longs Pass just to see the view and perhaps some mountain goats.

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