Washington is a beautiful state, a regional treasure, and a lot of what can be enjoyed there can be found in the Cascade Mountain Range that runs north to south down the middle of the state. There is a lot to do and see in the Cascades, in the northern, central, and southern parts of the range. here is a look at five particularly memorable places that you cannot go wrong paying a visit to.
Visit Mount Rainier
As the tallest mountain in the state, Mount Rainier gets more than its fair share of visits. You can approach the mountain from a number of directions and in addition to driving up to the visitor centers at Paradise on the southern slopes and Sunrise on the northern side, there are also many other attractions like waterfalls, lakes, campgrounds, picnic spots, and historical sites to explore. It’s easy to spend an entire day driving around and finding new places to explore on the slopes of Mount Rainier. The problem is you’ll probably need more time than that if you want to see everything worthwhile there. Mount Rainier offers a very special experience.
Drive the Cascade Loop
The Cascade Loop is one of the real treasures of Washington. This long drive takes you past some of the best scenery there is to offer in the region. You’ll see the Columbia River and the orchard land from Wenatchee to Chelan, the beautiful Methow Valley, the breathtaking North Cascades Highway, the quaintness of the Skagit Valley, the splendor of Whidbey Island, and the many great things to see and enjoy from the Stevens Pass area to Leavenworth. It may take one overnight stay, it may take two, and you may just decide to draw it out with a longer trip. No matter how you decide to drive the Cascade Loop you are sure to enjoy your time out there on the road.
Spend Time in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is one of the most popular communities to visit in the Cascade Mountains. This friendly little welcoming village is built around a Bavarian theme and it really is like walking into a different world. When you go there you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible specialty shops, great restaurants, and memorable places to stay. Leavenworth is also perfectly located for the outdoor enthusiast and anyone interesting in kayaking, river rafting, skiing, jogging, rock climbing, hiking, and more. Leavenworth is the kind of town you’ll always remember and want to come back and visit again and again.
Check Out Mount St. Helens
There is probably not a more dramatic event in the recent history of the state of Washington than the eruption of Mount St. Helens. When that mountain blew, it covered more than half the state in ash and destroyed acres of forest land. You can visit Mount St. Helens today by going to the Johnston Ridge Observatory and learning about the historical aspects of what happened there. You can then go and see the site firsthand by actually hiking up and looking down inside the crater. This is an unforgettable experience that you’ll want to make sure you bring your camera along for.
Go Up Lake to Stehekin
It’s everyone’s dream at some point to visit a place where they can truly get away from it all. The Pacific Northwest offers a lot of options in this regard including island spots, coastal areas, and more. One of the best of these though is the small community of Stehekin. This tiny town sits at the upper reaches of Lake Chelan and if you’d like to drive there, I’m sorry, you can’t. There are no roads that lead from the outside world to Stehekin. You can only get there by float plane, boat, or hiking trail. Once there you will see some of the most serene and peaceful parts of the Cascade Mountains that you can find. There is a nice lodge there, some very satisfying campsites, and even a few small businesses. A hike or bike ride to the local waterfall is a must too. You won’t believe how much you’ll love your visit to Stehekin.