If it’s your first time visiting Go Wander Wild, WELCOME!
We are so honored to have you here, hanging with us in this little space on the Internet.
The purpose of this website is to help you spend more time outdoors. We hope to inform, inspire, and empower you to get outside and see this world, while doing your part to respect and protect the lands beneath your feet.
Our focus is on the Pacific Northwest (or PNW for short), a unique region of the US and Canada characterized by mossy pine forests, rugged beaches, cascading waterfalls, pristine glacial lakes and epic mountain peaks.
We fell in love with this region from our very first visit and even decided to make our permanent home here (in Bend, Oregon!).
If you are longing for the thrill of new adventures, alpine lake hikes, chasing waterfalls, hot springs and unspoiled beaches, you’ve come to the right place.
Consider us your friends and personal PNW guides as we encourage you to get out and explore.
Hiking is one of our greatest passions, and we love that it is a hobby for people of all ages and experience levels. Whether you’re new to hiking or you’ve logged many miles in your hiking boots, check out our personal hiking “must-pack” list (+ some of our favorite tried-and-true brands), as well as our hiking guides and resources to prepare you for the best PNW trails.Hiking Essentials
From the best gear to preparing meals in a tiny kitchen or over an open fire, we’ve got you covered! Find out where to camp in the PNW and how to find the best campgrounds (Hint: The Dyrt is our favorite campsite locating app with the largest database of campgrounds and user-submitted reviews.) Plus we are sharing our favorite camping recipes and all sorts of goodies to help you get comfortable sleeping in the wilderness.Camping Essentials
We are gear junkies. Neither of us are all that into shopping… unless it’s a trip to REI, that is. Over the last few months, we’ve been into that store more times than we’d care to admit. We’re sharing our tried-and-true favorites when it comes to outdoor gear.Check out our favorite outdoor gear
Pacific Northwest Bucketlist
And now the really exciting stuff… We’ve put together a giant bucketlist covering all of the Pacific Northwest. Some of the things on this list are adventures we’ve already taken and written about for your benefit (just click on the hyperlink) and some are adventures we cannot wait to have in the future.
You can also download this list in a handy PDF format to take with you offline and check off your own adventures!
First things first, you might be wondering…
Where exactly is the Pacific Northwest?
The Pacific Northwest is a region in the northwestern corner of the United States. Definitions tend to vary depending on who you ask and borders are blurry, but our definition typically includes the two key coastal states of Washington and Oregon, plus northern California, Idaho, and southern BC, Canada.
For the purpose of this blog, we will be focusing primarily on these states. However, at times we will stretch our definition of the PNW “borders” so as to include areas just outside the region with plenty of opportunities for adventure.
We’ve broken this list down by state to make it easier for you to navigate. If you already know the state you want to visit, you can click on it below and jump down to that section.
Washington State Bucketlist
The Epic Cascade Mountain range, cold weather rainforests and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation are just some of what define Washington state, a gem in the Pacific Northwest.
There is something for everyone in this west coast state with a mix of big cities and small towns and adventures for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. I even would go as far to say it’s our favorite state in the US (Shh! Don’t tell my fellow Oregonians!).
From Washington state’s best kept secrets to can’t-miss destinations, here are the top things on our Washington state bucketlist.
- Berry picking in Bellingham
- Camp on Shi Shi Beach
- Chase waterfalls
- Colchuck Lake
- Get your hike on
- Hike (part of) the PCT
- Hoh Rainforest
- Lake Chelan
- Lake Diablo
- Mount Baker
- Mount Rainier
- Mount Saint Helens
- Mountain biking
- North Cascades Highway
- North Cascades National Park
- Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park
- Palouse Falls
- Scenic Mountain Loop Highway
- See a concert at The Gorge Amphitheater
- Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
- Skiing or snowboarding
- Snoqualmie Falls
- Snowshoeing or cross country skiing
- Soak in a hot spring
- Spend the night in a mountain hut
- Spend the night on a fire lookout
- The Enchantments
- Whale watching in the San Juan Islands
- Whitewater rafting (or kayaking!)
Hundreds of miles of rugged coastline, thick pine forests, mountains, hot springs, raging rivers and cascading waterfalls characterize the diverse landscapes of Oregon. There’s no arguing that Oregon is absolutely breathtaking.
Beyond the beautiful landscapes, Oregon is home to some of the coolest small towns in the United States and has endless amounts of adventure.
From the cute towns on Oregon’s rugged coastline to the unique landscapes found inland, here are the top things on our Oregon bucketlist.
- Alvord Desert
- Blue Pool (Tomolich Falls)
- Broken Top Hike
- Camping on the coast
- Cannon Beach
- Columbia River Gorge
- Crater Lake National Park
- Ecola State Park
- Explore the tide pools
- Float down the Deschutes River
- Go Crabbing
- Heceta Head Lighthouse
- Hiking near Bend
- Hood River
- Lincoln City
- McCredie Hot Springs
- Mount Hood (lost lake, lavender field, skiing)
- Multnomah Falls
- Oregon Coast road trips
- Painted Hills
- Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
- Sandboarding in Florence
- Sea Lion Cave
- Secret Beach
- Shore Acres State Park
- Silver Falls State Park
- Skylight Cave
- Smith Rock
- Soak in a hot spring
- South Sister Summit
- Thor’s Well
- Three Capes Scenic Route
- Tillamook Creamery
- Tumalo Falls
- Umpqua Hot Springs
- Umpqua National Forest
- Willamette National Forest
- Wine tasting in Hood River
Northern California Bucketlist
Northern California is broadly defined as part of the PNW, in part for it’s similar climate and unique landscapes to rival those of its northern neighbors. Here you can experience towering Redwood trees big enough to drive your car through, volcanic mountains, rugged coastline and one of the most note-worthy lakes in the US.
From national parks to the Golden Gate Bridge, here are the top things on our northern California bucketlist.
- Cypress Tree Tunnel
- Glass Beach, Fort Bragg
- Lake Tahoe
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Mount Lassen
- Pacific coast road trip
- Petrified Forest near Calistoga
- Redwoods National and State Parks
- San Francisco
- Yosemite National Park
You may be surprised to hear that Idaho isn’t all just potatoes. There are rugged mountains, pristine lakes, hidden hot springs and unique landscapes scattered all over this lesser-known state. In fact, after traveling there on a state-wide road trip, we can pretty confidently say that Idaho is one of the most underrated states in the U.S.
If you’re like us and you love the outdoors, but can’t stand the crowds at popular destinations, Idaho may just be the perfect spot for your next adventure.
From pristine hidden hot springs to dramatic mountain peaks and cute small towns, here are the top things on our Idaho bucketlist.
- Balanced Rock
- Bruneau Sand Dunes
- Coeur d’Alene
- Craters of the Moon
- Custer Ghost Town
- Goldbug Hot Springs
- Redfish Lake
- Sawtooth Mountains
- Sun Valley
- Thousand Springs State Park
- Twin Falls
British Columbia Bucketlist
Image source: G Yancy via Flickr
Canada’s westernmost province lines the Pacfic Northwest coast just north of Washington. The province is defined by an intricate fjord system dotted with lots of small islands, majestic mountain ranges and national parks to rival those in the US.
Bursting with road trip potential, B.C. has noteworthy routes like the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway that linked Whistler with Vancouver and Highway 1 through Glacier National Park (the Canadian version).
From the Canadian Rockies to the burgeoning modern city of Vancouver, here are the top things on our British Columbia Bucketlist.
- Big Berg Lake
- Canadian Rockies
- Caving on Vancouver Island
- Great Bear Rainforest
- Haida Gwaii
- Hike the West Coast Trail
- Kayak the Broken Group Islands
- Kootenay ski towns
- Lake Osoyoos
- Okanagan Valley Wine Region
- Othello Tunnels
- Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
- Sail through Desolation Sound
- Salmon fishing