Seattle Off-Roading Season Has Begun
Forest, mountains and wild, muddy hills—there are options by the acre for Seattle Off-Roading enthusiasts, and summer opens them all up to your four-wheel drive. Emerald evergreen trees or rain forests make for breathtaking breaks from the scrum of the Sea-Tac cityscape. All you need is a vehicle built to handle it, the proper provisions and a sense of adventure that can’t be confined to a paved road.
Let’s take a peek in the Seattle treasure chest of sights and excursions. The chief draw for many who want to climb high would be Mount Ranier, but a lot of the stops along the way are worth a look too. Wherever you’re going, you’ll want to prep your pack for an adventure: Make sure you throw some extra blankets in the truck, even though it’s summer. Then store plenty of water, check your spare and jack, and make sure those flares haven’t expired. Run down the other essential inventory: Gloves. Hat. Lighter. Tarp. Compass. Once you’ve got them all, you’re set to explore without fear of winding up a statistic.
We’ll head out to the king attraction of Pierce County wilderness first: Mount Ranier.
Mount Ranier is a showpiece of conservancy by any stretch. The forests hugging its foothills are among the most pristine in the nation, and this is with the park only 54 miles southeast of Seattle. Except soaring redwoods and shining pine trees, all of which will be lush and vibrant in midsummer. As you make your way through these titanic groves, you’ll reach the seat of the mountain itself. Take a look at the awesome span of the Cascade Range, one of the most prominent volcanic ranges in the nation, before daring to go further.
Climbing up Ranier in a four-wheel vehicle will take some serious automotive muscle and balance. Don’t attempt an ascent along the trails without anything less than a truck designed specifically for hill climbing. The Nissan Frontier sports the kind of system we’re talking about—built with a specific hill-start and hill-descent mechanism. Don’t think that because your brawny pickup can haul loads that it can climb a mountain. Make sure you have that Nissan Frontier type grip and balance. With that at your command and attention to safety signs, you can make it close enough to behold some of Ranier’s 43 glacier systems—the most in all of America’s lower-48.
Another mountain that draws four-wheel explorers from across the country is Mount St. Helens, and here’s where the excursions get really wild. Mount St. Helens is a very different terrain than the bushy Ranier. The volcano is surrounded by swaths of barren land that have an eerie beauty to them. These are also great stretches to lay tracks over. When you have a hill-assist system, you can make it to where you can look down on whole valleys swept away or smothered in rock.
Whether you’re heading to the towering forests of Ranier or the blasted landscapes of Mount St. Helens, be sure to bring the right tools in the right truck. Once you’re there, the adventure will make the investment all worth it.