I've been planning to go on a backpacking trip this weekend with a couple of friends but our original plan has been thwarted by the lingering snow pack. Seattle may have a mild climate, but the mountains around here get massive amounts of snow and it takes months for them to melt out. We were going to hike up the Dosewallips River on the East side of Olympic National Park to Anderson Glacier but there is way too much snow. We also considered the Hoh River Trail on the West side of the park, but that would be a long drive, long hike, and the last couple of miles up to the Blue Glacier (on Mt. Olympus) are still snowy.
Last night three of us got together to try to figure out our plan but we were almost completely drawing a blank for places that were within ~4 hrs driving of Seattle and would be snow-free or at least almost snow-free. Pretty much everything above 3000' feet still has snow. Jennie suggested the lower Columbia River Gorge and maybe even the first part of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington. That jogged my memory about the Eagle Creek Trail, which my dad has and has suggested to me before. I called my dad and he was pretty sure Eagle Creek would be free of snow by now. And he said he loved this trail so much that he has hiked it twice.
After a trip to REI where we thought we would find hiking guide books with more information (turns out they have NO books with information on the PCT!), as well as maps, we were set on taking the Eagle Creek Trail to Wahtum Lake and then making a loop by coming back along Benson Ridge and the Ruckel Creek Trail. It's about a 25 mile loop and it looks amazing - waterfalls and old growth Douglas fir forest. The only down side of this hike is that the first few miles are very popular, being only 30 min from Portland and being one of few trails to be snow free right now. It sounds worth it though.