Dubbed “the Evergreen State”, Washington has no shortage of natural wonders that will take your breath away. While many travelers head to the Pacific Northwest to visit downtown Seattle, there’s good reason to be drawn to the diverse natural areas this beautiful state has to offer. Whether you prefer long days on challenging trails or a relaxed stroll through the rainforest, Washington has something to offer.
Here are four amazing natural sites you can’t miss on your visit to Washington State.
Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument has a way of making you feel humble. For several decades, Mount St. Helens was a popular destination for summit-seeking mountaineers, much like Mount Rainier is today. However, all that changed on May 18, 1980, when a huge earthquake caused the entire north face of the mountain to slide off in a massive avalanche, releasing the pressurized volcanic gasses and the famous eruption.
The eruption of Mount St. Helens is a notable chapter in North America’s recent natural history, and walking the site today is sure to be an unforgettable experience for any nature enthusiast. Though nearly 150 square miles of forest were destroyed following the eruption, the monument site is now home to some spectacular primary succession and wildlife viewing. The Monument and surrounding National Forest lands offer plenty of spectacular hiking opportunities, making this a must for your tour of Washington State.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is the symbol of Washington State, and it’s well-earned. Mount Rainier is a spectacular site, visible on a clear day from many peaks in the Cascade mountains. Much like Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier is a volcano, though tourists can rest easy knowing it is at no present risk of eruption. The volcanic nature of Mount Rainier gives it a notable pyramidal shape, and it towers high above lesser mountains in the region.
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most spectacular offerings in Washington State. Anybody inclined towards outdoor recreation will have a ball camping out and exploring the many trails the Park as to offer. There are many opportunities to camp in and near the park. The best time to visit in July through August, during peak wildflower season, when the trails are most accessible. Not to mention, the views of the subalpine meadow will be unforgettable.
Make your way across the Olympic Peninsula and reach the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States: Cape Flattery. The Olympic Peninsula offers a quieter, more laid-back vibe than the Seattle area, and the scenery is a unique marriage between maritime ports and dense rainforest.
Cape Flattery, with its dense forests and sea-battered coves, recalls the coasts of Maine and Ireland. Featuring a short, family-friendly hiking trail, it’s a worthy pilgrimage to make during your trip to Washington State.
The Hoh Rainforest is one of the most magical places in the United States. Deep within the Olympic Mountains, this temperate rainforest is lush beyond imagining and certain to capture your imagination. If you’re eager to see some of the most unique nature Washington has to offer, then head on over to Forks, Washington, and make your way into Olympic National Park. This point is a bit out of the way, but it’s many people’s favorite spot for a reason.
Make the Most of Your Time in Washington
Washington State is an unusually spectacular place. You could easily spend years there exploring the amazing hiking trails and natural sites that state has to offer. However, if you’re only coming for a short visit, it makes sense to focus on the highlights. You can’t go wrong with any of these four.
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