Looking to take a short and affordable road trip through the Pacific Northwest, but aren't sure where to make your stops? Well, wonder no more! We’ve compiled a list of the five must-see sites on any road tour — and even better, the majority of the stops are completely free to visit! (Well, besides the gas and snacks of course.) We’ve even put them in the best driving order for you, though feel free to go backward or mix them up in order to suit your needs.
1. Abiqua Falls, Oregon
The first stop on the journey is to the beautiful Abiqua Falls. This area is a little hidden, but it’s worth the trouble. The view of the falls are stunning and for you avid hikers this is a fun and moderately challenging trail. Just make sure to be careful! The slopes are steep and can be treacherous in wet weather conditions.
If you would like further information on the trail, then you can find it here. Also, while this is technically private property, the owners are kind enough to leave it free and open to the public to explore.
2. Rialto Beach, Washington
If you like spectacular sunsets and tide pools, then stop number two will be sure to please you. Rialto Beach is incredibly beautiful and if you wait until low tide, then you can also walk two miles down the beach to see Hole in the Wall, which is a magnificent set of volcanic cliff faces pocked with holes. The area is completely free to access and will be sure to take your breath away even on a cloudy day.
3. Blanca Lake, Washington
Ready to hit the trails for a day? Then Blanca Lake will keep you hustling and bustling through nature all day long. It’s about a 12-mile round trip hike, but it’s well worth the heavy work out. The magnificent turquoise blue of the lake will be sure to mesmerize you and the mountain peaks and forest will be stunning from all sides. Best of all? It’s completely free for all to enjoy!
4. Highline Trail, Montana
Another high energy day awaits you at the Highline Trail in Montana. It’s another 12-mile hike, but the mountain views are well worth the trouble. This trail lies in Glacier National Park and if you'd like to make a multi-day adventure then there are many other trails to take. The park also borders Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park if you'd like to make a quick visit to our northerly neighbor. Plus, it’s fun and it’s free!
5. Upper Mesa Falls, Idaho
The last stop on the trip is the perfect pre-stop off point if you’d like to add Yellowstone National Park to your journey. Not only is the journey there scenic and beautiful, but the Upper Mesa Falls is a gorgeous and powerful 10-story waterfall complete with a convenient viewing platform. It’s completely free to enter, probably to prove that there's more to see in Idaho besides potatoes and fields of corn!