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Visiting Washington on Your Next Road Trip
Much like its southern neighbor, Oregon, Washington State gives its visitors a pleasing array of outdoor pursuits. From the peaceful scenery of Puget Sound, to the devastated landscape of Mount St. Helens, Washington is a land of extremes, and its natural attractions beckon visitors year-round.
The Cascade Mountains are home to several state and national parks that provide as much breathtaking scenery as they do diversity. Olympic National Park in northwest Washington boasts some of the most varied landscape in the entire world. On one hand, the Olympic Peninsula showcases alpine mountains, coastal wildlife havens, and temperate-zone rain forests, all of which can be found within miles of each other in this park. Walkers will not only delight in the park's climatic diversity but also in its many prized wildflowers, found nowhere else in the world.
Washington is a land of extremes, and its natural attractions beckon visitors year-round
Did we mention the park's Roosevelt elk population, which is the largest in North America? Trails take you along the rocky Washington coast, meander through lush and overgrown forests, or up through the Olympic Mountains, a small range consisting of a cluster of captivating canyons. The jewel is Mount Olympus, an icy peak at just under 8,000 feet and the bane of the world-class mountain climbers who venture here to tame it. These mountains are home to some 50 glaciers and miles of hiking trails through the high country where you might enjoy a chance encounter with the resident blacktail deer, mountain goat or black bear.
Nestled in the heart of Puget Sound are the San Juan Islands. Although the islands number around 170, only four (Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, and San Juan) are readily accessible. However, don’t let that stop you, as they’re worth a visit. Lopez Island is a treat for bicycle enthusiasts, with its miles of trails and easy, meandering terrain. Orcas Island is home to Mount Constitution, the tallest mountain in the San Juans. Accessible by hiking, biking, driving or old-fashioned horseback riding, the mountain’s peak dazzles with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Vancouver Island in Canada. And humans aren’t the only ones compelled to come here. San Juan Island attracts killer whales during the summer months. Whale watchers won't want to miss an opportunity to visit the newly designated Lime Kiln Park in hopes of glimpsing Earth’s largest mammals.
Just 70 miles down the road from Seattle lies Mount Rainier. Part of the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier National Park offers hundreds of miles of leisurely mountain drives as well as a 305-mile trail system for hikers of all experience levels. With a summit of 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier stands as the tallest volcanic mountain in the continental United States while playing host to the nation's largest network of active glaciers. Because of its altitude, the park is susceptible to harsh and sudden changes in weather, so visitors are cautioned to be prepared.
While Washington is home to many natural wonders, the state is also a place where one can get a firsthand look at the results of Mother Nature's awesome power. On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens exploded, blowing off nearly a mile of its summit and flattening nearly 250 square miles of forest around the mountain. The area is now the Mount St. Helens National Historic Monument and visitors can find days' worth of outdoor activities around the mountain. The blast’s path unleashed floods, mudslides, and leveled forests, which is still pretty much how things look today.
For a peaceful respite from the destruction at Mount St. Helens, the Yakima Valley is Washington's most fruitful valley, where visitors are rewarded with natural bounty. The valley is in fact in the shadow of Mount St. Helens, but unlike the mountain, Yakima Valley has fully recovered and today is one of the country's most productive agricultural centers. Boasting more than 300 days of sunshine per year and loads of fertile volcanic soil, wildflowers are found in unusual abundance here, and their popularity is rivaled only by roadside fruit stands and "U-Pick" farms throughout the region.
Article Courtesy of Woodall's Campground Directory where you can find Washington campgrounds and Washington RV camping resorts at the turn of a page. Browse