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Washington Backcountry Discovery Route (Jun 2018)

It's not often that we end up on a trip in our own backyard. There are many reasons for that - there are amazing sights far and wide, adventurous friends are located states away, and of course the weather in Washington makes snow-free exploration tough much of the year.

But when Joe got a 4Runner and mentioned that he and his wife (Daisy) wanted us to get them (and their 16-month old) out on their first trip, it seemed like a great opportunity to do something a bit easier and a bit more local.

The WABDR (Washington Backcountry Discovery Route) fit that bill perfectly!

This 575-mile route thoroughly explores the Cascade Mountains beginning in Stevenson, WA and making it to the Canadian border at Night Hawk. Views of the massive volcanic mountains from the dense forest in the southern part of the route are stunning and the open arid pine forests of the central part of the route showcase the diversity of Washington. The route just seems to get better each day as you head north and into the high-mountain areas beyond Lake Chelan.

toyota tacoma and 4Runner on WABDR Oregon-to-Canada on the WABDR (Jun 2018) - Day 1: Joe and Daisy's First Big Dirt Adventure June 24, 2018. It's not often that we end up on a trip in our own backyard. There are many reasons for that - there are amazing sights far and wide, adventurous friends are located states away, and of course the…
mt. rainier reflected in lake WABDR Day 2: Volcanoes - June 25, 2018. It was a cold night - even though we were at only 4,500 feet, the temperatures dipped into the mid-thirties, making us all acutely aware that we'd expected (and dressed for) warmer weather. As usual, I was the first out of bed, hoping to catch sunrise, or…
toyota tacoma overlooking snowy mountain range WABDR Day 3: So Expo - June 26, 2018. The wind that rocked us to sleep in the CVT kept blowing through the night, perhaps the most continuously windy night we've spent six feet off the ground. Nestled under the covers we were cozy and warm, and it was a struggle to pull myself out at…
girl climbing stairs to fire lookout WABDR Day 4: Lookouts. And The Jungle! - June 27, 2018. As we awoke the next morning, everyone was well rested and happy that we'd gotten only a short burst of light rain; and that the morning was shaping up to be a beautiful one - hopefully indicative of the entire day ahead. The first order of business…
toyota tacoma, 4Runner on closed dirt road WABDR Day 5 & 6: Finally 4WD; and a Run for the Border - June 28-29, 2018. Our campsite above Lake Chelan worked out well through the night, the small bluff sheltering us from the wind until it died down in the early morning hours, and no traffic on the nearby road. In fact, the site worked so well that none of us woke…


More BDRs!


  1. CJ Martin
    CJ Martin April 26, 2021

    Do you think this is passable in a stock 3rd gen Tacoma TRD Sport? Thanks and love all your info!

    • turbodb
      turbodb April 26, 2021

      Hey CJ, I do think that with careful line choice and good driving skills/decisions on the trail, you can definitely make it in a stock 3rd gen Tacoma. Most importantly, I'd be sure to have good tires (and a full size spare), and plenty of fuel, just in case.

  2. Joe
    Joe October 6, 2021

    Just found your site, and man, I am enjoying it. You produce some great work and it is much appreciated. I'm in a similar boat to Joe from the WABDR trip...same name, same 4runner, same desire to get out there and explore with my wife and 5 year-old daughter.

    I'm sure you may receive requests from folks to tag along, but if you're ever up to have another family join you, please let me know. We also live in the Puget Sound area.



    • turbodb
      turbodb October 6, 2021

      Happy to hear you found - and are enjoying - the site Joe! I definitely recommend getting out there as much as you can. There are a ton of places around that you'll really enjoy. I'll recommend a couple, though perhaps you've already stumbled upon them - both are in SE Oregon. The first is the Alvord Playa/Desert area, and the second is the Owyhee Canyonlands. Not too far away, and both quite fabulous. Make sure to go when it's dry though, they can be treacherous if it's muddy. 👍

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