If you think the Pacific Northwest is all hiking, coffee and craft beer...
you'd be absolutely correct. But it's some of the best hiking, coffee and craft beer in North America. Encompassing Washington, Oregon and parts of Canada's British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest is known for its impressive glacier-laced mountain ranges, rugged coastlines, perpetually green forests and quirky cities. While the region does have a bit of a rainy reputation, you'll never be far from a hot cup of coffee; Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks, after all. PNW locals cherish their outdoor activities, so lace up your hiking boots and grab your reusable mug... it's time to explore the best of the "Upper Left."
Our Pacific Northwest tours
Pacific Northwest highlights
Pacific Northwest tour reviews
Pacific Northwest FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Flying into the Pacific Northwest is easy, with three centralised international airports to choose from: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Portland International Airport (PDX) in the US, and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Canada. Exploring the region in a car is your best bet; From Seattle, both Portland and Vancouver are a quick 3-hour drive (or 1-hour flight).
Each of the PNW's major cities has many different options for public transportation. In Seattle, locals can travel on land, rail and sea, by utilising public buses, streetcars, a light rail and a robust ferry system. Portland has public buses and streetcars but also has been rated one of America's most bike-friendly cities, offering protected bike lanes and numerous biking trails, so renting a bike is a great option.
If you're looking to get into the great outdoors and explore the region's National Parks, you'll need to rent a car, as public transportation doesn't reach these areas. From Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park are both a 3-hour drive. From Portland, Crater Lake National Park is a 4-hour drive.
Although the region has a reputation for being gloomy and rainy, the PNW actually has mild, temperate weather overall. In fact, Seattle and Portland don't even rank in the top 10 rainiest cities in the US! Seattle couldn't live up to its nickname "the Emerald City" without a little rain, however, and the winter months (December to March) tend to be drizzly and damp, leaving the surrounding forests green year-round. By June, the Pacific Northwest enters its dry season, with bright blue skies and long sunny days that last until September.
What to pack for the Pacific Northwest depends on what time of year you're travelling and what you're planning on doing. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for all destinations, and layers are always a good idea (even in the summertime) as the weather can change quickly in all seasons.
Hiking trips require proper trekking gear: a mixture of lightweight, quick-drying clothing, properly fitting hiking boots and sun protection. To avoid buying plastic, a water bottle or bladder/hose system to refill along the way is a must.
Before travelling, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the ‘Packing’ section of the Essential Trip Information for the tour you’re interested in, especially if you're joining a walking, hiking or trekking trip.
We're committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them toward the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.