SEATTLE — He's hiked over 18 thousand miles in Washington...and written 10 hiking guides. Clearly, hiking expert Craig Romano knows how to have fun on the job! We hit the trail with Craig, and he revealed his top 5 Western Washington Hikes -- for winter.
"The weather's great here, very very mild and temperate winters in Washington, which gives us no excuses to stay indoors."
Craig calls Winter Hike number one -- Oyster Dome --“The Pearl of the Chuckanut”.
"The Oyster Dome is actually one of the finest hikes in Western Washington not only for winter but year round. It's right between Mount Vernon and Bellingham, and it's the only place where the cascades actually meet the Salish Sea.”
Craig gives hikes stars for scenery…
“Usually in my books, I rank my hikes 1-5. It's purely subjective.”
And numbers for difficulty:
“I rank all my hikes also 1-5 on how strenuous, 1 being easy, 5 being most difficult.”
Oyster Dome gets a 4 for difficulty, balanced out by a 4 for scenery as well.
Hike number two -- the South Fork of the Skokomish on the Olympic Peninsula -- ranks 3.5 stars for scenery and a 2 for difficulty.
"Beautiful old growth forest, usually there's elk in the valley, which is another great thing about wintertime, a lot of the elk are coming down from the high country."
Winter hike number three is in the Columbia River Gorge at Beacon Rock State Park: It's a steep hike up 2,400 foot Hamilton Mountain, which nabs it a 4 for difficulty, and a 4 for scenery as well.
Wallace Falls in Snohomish County is winter hike pick number four. Craig gives this one a 3 for difficulty and a 4 for wild winter beauty.
Craig saved the best for last and took us on a classic Whidbey Island hike.
Hike number 5 starts at a historic cemetery and then passes a home and a blockhouse built in the 1800s called the Jacob Ebey House, where the hike takes its name from. Along with the history comes incredible views, scoring Ebey’s Landing a 2 for difficulty and the highest mark -- a 5 -- for beauty.
You can find Craig's books on Amazon, or buy them directly from local mountaineering stores. You can also find Craig on his website, craigromano.com