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Overview

The most formidable and volatile peaks in the Cascade range stand in the southern part of Washington state, highlighted by the terrific trio of Rainier, St. Helens and Adams. Glacier-capped Mount Rainier, the iconic backdrop to Seattle, rises over 14,000 feet, making it one of the tallest mountains in the lower 48 states. On the occasional clear afternoon, bathed in a reddish glow, "the mountain" seems right in Seattle's backyard. It's also the recreational playground for the city's many outdoors enthusiasts.

Winter wilderness recreation on Mt. Rainier is limited, but skiers and snowboarders are offered spectacular vistas from ...

The most formidable and volatile peaks in the Cascade range stand in the southern part of Washington state, highlighted by the terrific trio of Rainier, St. Helens and Adams. Glacier-capped Mount Rainier, the iconic backdrop to Seattle, rises over 14,000 feet, making it one of the tallest mountains in the lower 48 states. On the occasional clear afternoon, bathed in a reddish glow, "the mountain" seems right in Seattle's backyard. It's also the recreational playground for the city's many outdoors enthusiasts.

Winter wilderness recreation on Mt. Rainier is limited, but skiers and snowboarders are offered spectacular vistas from Crystal Mountain just northeast of the park and White Pass to the southeast. Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980 with a blast that transformed the environment into an eerie moonscape. The Mount St. Helens Visitor Center near the town of Castle Rock is open through the winter and a number of cross-country ski trails are maintained in the area.

The slopes of Mount Adams, the state's second-highest peak, can be climbed in winter and offer some especially good skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. Much of this region is managed by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which maintains an extensive network of sno-parks for snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding in the forest.

Myra Ingmanson
About the Expert

Myra Ingmanson and Daniel C. Schechter worked together on various titles for Lonely Planet, particularly the Pacific Northwest and Mexico books. Together they coauthored chapters for Lonely Planet's Eastern Caribbean.

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Myra Ingmanson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late October to mid March