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Hike the Westeros of Washington

Game of Thrones may not have actually been filmed in Washington — but that doesn't mean you can't walk through the ecological diversity of the Seven Kingdoms right here in Washington.

by Rachel Wendling

The end is near: the cultural phenomenon of Game of Thrones is coming to an end in 2019, and while we're sad to see it go, it's been one hell of a ride. We've virtually explored every corner of Westeros from the sandy beaches of the Dornish Peninsula to the fridgid wasteland of the Land of Always Winter.

To bid proper farewell to the show that brought us hours of teeth-clenching suspense, jaw-dropping visuals and a whole lot of heart-wrenching tears — we decided to tour Westeros for ourselves — without even leaving the confines of Washington state.

Save them all in your My Backpack hikes list, and file a trip report when you've hiked them. (Costumes welcome.)


Hanford Reach - North

Location: Central Washington -- Tri-Cities
Length: 7.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 500 ft.
Best Season: All year

Hanford Reach. Photo by sarinaclark.jpg
Photo by Sarina Clark.

Sandy dunes ... in Washington? Yep, we got 'em! Just like Westeros, Washington is home to our own small slice of arid, sandy desert. This starkly unique and dramatic landscape of Hanford Reach has even been designated as a National Monument. (Plus — find pelican colonies, brilliant wildflowers and spectacular views of the Columbia here.)

> Plan your hike to Dorne / Hanford Reach - North


Steamboat Rock

Location: Central Washington -- Grand Coulee
Length: 6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 650 feet
Best Season: All year

Steamboat Rock. Photo by Cpater44.jpg
Photo by Cpatter44.

If you’re gonna stumble into Drogon somewhere in Washington — the rugged cliff faces, expansive horizons and shimmering blue waters of Steamboat Rock might be your best bet. It’s almost hard to believe you’re standing in landlocked central Washington when you’re atop Steamboat and peering down the depths of Banks Lake below. (We’re still waiting with baited breath for the first dragonglass discovery beneath those rocky outcroppings.)

> Plan your visit to Dragonstone / Steamboat Rock

King's Landing

Kamiak Butte

Location: Eastern Washington -- Palouse and Blue Mountains
Length: 3.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Best Season: Spring

Kamiak Butte.jpg
Photo by Joanie Christian.

The rolling hills and speckled forests outside of King's Landing bear a strong resemblance to the peaceful farmland below Kamiak Butte. Although accessible (and scenic) year-round — try to visit in the springtime, when the green in the hills is at its most vivid and the wildflowers are fresh. 

> Plan your visit to King's Landing / Kamiak Butte

The Reach

Twin Sisters Rock

Location: Eastern Washington
Length: 1.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Best Season: All year

Twin Sister Rock by doristheexplorist.jpg
Photo by Doris Wang.

All the views (and no bloodshed) await you at Twin Sister Rock in the east. The towering rock structures above rolling shrub-steppe are akin to a miniature version of the Reach's rugged geography. Plus — at only 1.0 mile roundtrip, there's no excuse not to experience it here yourself.

> Plan your visit to the Reach / Twin Sisters Rock

The Riverlands

Old Sauk River Trail

Location: North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Length: 6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 150 ft.
Best Season: All year

Old Sauk River Trail. Photo by Jon Lee.jpg
Photo by Jon Lee.

Washington state is chock-full of rivers, but we think the Old Sauk River Trail bears a particularly strong resemblance to the waterways of Riverrun (read: we wouldn't be too surprised to stumble into Brynden "the Blackfish" Tully on this one.) The Sauk River will reward hikers not only GoT vibes, but also seasonal berries, wildflowers, moody forests and peaceful riverside views.

> Plan your visit to the Riverlands / Old Sauk River Trial

The Iron Islands

Cape Flattery

Location: Olympic Peninsula -- Pacific Coast
Length: 1.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Best Season: All year

Cape Flattery. Photo by susanjmunn.jpg
Photo by susanjmunn.

Coastal? Check. Misty? Check. Rocky? Check. Add in a little more greenery and the Iron Islands are basically just the northern Washington Coast. As you gaze out into the grey and mysterious Pacific Ocean before you, keep an eye out for passing ships on the horizon.

> Plan your visit to the Iron Islands / Cape Flattery

The Vale of Arynn

Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

Location: Southwest Washington -- Columbia River Gorge
Length: 3.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 850 feet
Best Season: All year

Coyote Wall. Photo by NatalieH.jpg
Photo by NatalieH.

Believe it or not — that Icelandic-looking waterfall on the left can be found right here in Washington state. The Coyote Wall trail in the Gorge feels more adventure than a hike; going up, over and around mogul-like mounds peppered with volcanic rock, and coming across sweet little waterfalls like this one. 

> Plan your visit to the Vale of Arynn / Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

The Haunted Woods

Green Mountain - Gold Creek Trail

Location: Olympic Peninsula -- Kitsap Peninsula
Length: 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Best Season: All year (although winter is recommended for the best GoT vibes)

Green Mountain. Photo by Drew B.jpg
Photo by Drew B.

The Haunted Forest may not be super high on your list of must-see places in Westeros, but we promise this eerily similar trail up to Green Mountain will be 100 percent free of White Walkers. Also unlike the Haunted Forest — the thick, dark woods of Green Mountain will lead you up to some pretty stellar viewpoints of the Kitsap Peninsula.

> Plan your visit to the Haunted Forest / Green Mountain - Gold Creek Trail