Photo Credit: Photo credit: Ryan Stone
5 Must-Visit Spots in Washington State for Nature Lovers
Washington state is home to many magnificent natural wonders. From mountains and canyons to lakes and waterfalls, there is so much beauty to be explored. The abundance of evergreen forest land is what inspired its nickname, “the Evergreen State.” All this and more makes it a perfect United States destination for nature lovers.
Travel Noire has rounded up a list of places in Washington you can visit to be at one with Mother Earth. Some of these natural attractions are close to major cities and would make an ideal trip for outdoor enthusiasts who fancy hiking, climbing, camping and enjoying wide open spaces. If you are planning to visit one of them, be sure to do your research in advance to check local rules and learn about any permits that may be required.
North Cascades National Park
The stunning North Cascades National Park boasts a diverse landscape with a wide range of geographic features. There is a whopping 9,000-foot difference between the 500,000+ acre park’s highest and lowest points. Its lower points are a temperate rainforest of sorts while its highest points consist of snow-capped mountains. The park also has falls, glaciers, lakes and valleys. Rafting, bicycling and camping are among the activities enjoyed there. With more than 400 miles of trails, it comes as no surprise that hiking is quite popular.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Spanning over 400,000 acres in the Central Cascades region, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area offers some of the best rock climbing in the Pacific Northwest. There are over 700 ponds and lakes, and 47 trailheads with approximately 615 miles of trails. The wilderness area is inhabited by a variety of wildlife, including black bears, pumas, bobcats, elk and wolves. More than 150 bird species also call the area home.
Mt. Rainier National Park
As Washington’s most family friendly national park, this incredible natural marvel is a great choice for those traveling with children. It is named for the iconic Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano and the highest point in the state. The mountain is the most glaciated peak in the United States from which five rivers originate.
In addition to three drive-in campgrounds and numerous wilderness camping sites, Mt. Rainier National Park has two historic inns for visitors looking to stay. This park has charming subalpine meadows. In the summer months, colorful wildflowers bloom, creating a magical display. However, those planning to visit during this time should be prepared to grapple with congestion from the crowds of visitors.
The San Juan Islands
This idyllic Washington archipelago situated in the Salish Sea offers breathtaking scenery at every turn. Mountains, waterfalls, beaches, lavender fields, lakes and more await the outdoorsy traveler. Enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing. There are plenty of scenic trails for hiking or biking. Many animals call the islands home. Seals, red foxes, bald eagles, Canada geese and blue herons are some of them. Many visitors come to see the orcas that inhabit the waters around the islands year-round.
Olympic National Forest
This national forest is a 633,000-acre gem of adventure and enchanted wilderness. Full of towering mountain ridges, huge canyons, gorgeous ocean beaches and luxuriant rain forests, there is so much terrain to explore. The land yields edible mushrooms and summer berries while Hood Canal is open to visitors who would like to harvest their own oysters. Though much of Olympic National Park prohibits dogs, Olympic National Forest welcomes travelers to visit with their fur babies. All of its trails and campsites are dog-friendly.