Legends of Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, have existed in the Pacific Northwest for centuries. Native American tribes passed down stories about large, hairy, forest-dwelling creatures, and early settlers reported sightings of ape-like creatures as early as the 1800s. Yet, definitive proof of the creature’s existence has been elusive. This doesn’t mean Sasquatch doesn’t exist – someone just needs to step up and find it.
If you’d like to give it a shot, be sure to bring your camera. There’s no point finding Bigfoot if you can’t document the encounter for the world. To get you started in the right direction, here’s where to look.
Mt St Helens, WA
The aptly named Ape Canyon is located Southeast of Mt St Helens and had several Sasquatch sightings in the 1920s, including one report of a pack of Bigfoot attacking a group of miners in 1924. Sasquatch sightings continued throughout the years but sadly, many locals believe the legendary creature’s population took a hit during the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens since sightings are now reported less frequently.
What to do if you don’t find them: Luckily, there are endless things to do in the Mt St Helens area. The area is probably best known for hiking and mountain biking, activities which also lend themselves to finding Bigfoot. The Ape Canyon Trail offers mind-blowing views of Mt St Helens, along with Mt Rainier and Mt Adams in the distance. Ape Cave, a two-mile-long natural lava tube is another unique experience. Afterward, visit the Mt St Helens Visitors Center to learn more about the 1980 eruption.
The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is an hour and 45 minutes away, but worth the drive for extra layers of understanding of the area’s history and the beauty of the Columbia Gorge. Finish the night in the Skamania Lodge, offering comfortable, luxurious accommodations in their main building or in one of their highly coveted tree houses. Please note – hunting Sasquatch is officially illegal in the entirety of Skamania County, where the lodge and Mt St Helens are located.
Applegate Lake, OR
After a miner from Southern Oregon reported several Sasquatch sightings near Applegate Lake in the 1970s, researchers were granted a permit to build the world’s only “Bigfoot trap,” a 10’ x 10’ wooden contraption they regularly baited with fresh animal carcasses to attract the beast. They never caught a Sasquatch, but the trap still stands and you can hike the Collings Mountain Trail and visit it to this day.
What to do if you don’t find them: The Bigfoot Trap is located about a half-hour from Ashland, OR, probably best known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival which runs almost year-round. The drama scene is reason enough to visit the city, but Ashland is also a premier rafting destination. The Upper Klamath and Rogue Rivers have options for all skill levels. Momentum River Exhibitions offers overnight rafting/glamping trips with gourmet meals. The area is also full of vineyards and tasting rooms, including the award-winning Weisinger Family Winery. Rest your head at Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, which boasts a fun, retro decor and fantastic guest amenities like bicycles and a complimentary hot breakfast.
Walla Walla, WA
There have been many plaster casts taken of purported Sasquatch tracks, but probably the most famous were taken by a forest service worker in the Blue Mountains just outside of Walla Walla. These were the first casts of Sasquatch prints verified by scientists to contain dermal ridges, and many believers point to them as proof that Bigfoot does indeed exist.
What to do if you don’t find them: There are at least four golf courses within an hour’s drive of Walla Walla, including the award-winning Wine Valley Golf Club. However, the area is probably best known for being home to 120 wineries like Long Shadows and Va Piano Vineyards. Stay at the gorgeous Eritage Resort, which has an amazing restaurant, a small lake, and views of the Blue Mountains. Eritage Resort is located a few miles outside of town in a serene setting peaceful enough to allow you to hear birdsong and the rustling of wheat. If you listen closely enough, you might even hear Sasquatch calling.
You might not spot a live Sasquatch here, but you’ll learn all about them at the North American Bigfoot Center in Boring, Oregon. The museum is curated by famed Bigfoot hunter Cliff Barackman, who strives to provide scientific evidence of Sasquatch through interactive exhibits and informative displays.
What to do if you don’t find them: Boring is only about a half-hour from Portland, so if you don’t find a live Sasquatch hanging around the museum your trip is hardly wasted. Highlights include the 12-acre Portland Japanese Garden, which features a serene zen garden, bonsai up to 500 years old, and breathtaking sights everywhere you turn. No visit to Portland would be complete without a visit to mammoth Powell’s Bookstore or one of the five restaurants of James Beard award-winning chef, Vitaly Paley, a leader in cooking delicious food with a focus on local ingredients and sustainability. Porter Portland is the perfect place to stay – he rooms are impeccably decorated and fully stocked with amenities such as local tea and coffee. It’s within walking distance to most of the city’s major attractions.
In the 1970s the Lummi Indian Reservation just outside of Bellingham, WA reported more than 100 hundred Sasquatch sightings in a short period of time, including three from police officers. Today, the city of Bellingham has officially branded itself as a “Sasquatch Protection and Refuge Area” in order to protect the creature from harm.
What to do if you don’t find them: Bellingham is an easy day trip from Seattle. A local company called The Bigfoot Adventures offers daytime, nocturnal, and even multi-day excursions into the forest with professional Bigfoot guides. Or enjoy the pleasures of city life with a visit to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art or the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. Be sure to build in time to take a scenic drive along the Mt Baker Scenic Byway or to climb or ski the stunning Mount Baker. Finally, reward yourself with a fantastic meal and a luxurious room overlooking the water at the Hotel Bellwether. It’s the perfect place to reflect on your simian-searching experiences.