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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. On the occasional clear afternoon, bathed in a reddish glow, glacier-capped Mount Rainier seems right in Seattle's backyard. The area surrounding Mount Rainier National Park is also the recreational playground for the city's many outdoors enthusiasts. A plethora of hiking and biking trails, rivers, waterfalls and lakes are easily accessible, many with vistas of the mountain.

When Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980, the world saw what awesome forces lay ...

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. On the occasional clear afternoon, bathed in a reddish glow, glacier-capped Mount Rainier seems right in Seattle's backyard. The area surrounding Mount Rainier National Park is also the recreational playground for the city's many outdoors enthusiasts. A plethora of hiking and biking trails, rivers, waterfalls and lakes are easily accessible, many with vistas of the mountain.

When Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980, the world saw what awesome forces lay beneath this volcanic range. The blast transformed the environment into an eerie moonscape. The history of the eruption is superbly displayed at several interpretive centers; from one observatory you can gawk right down into the volcano's crater.

Wildflowers paint the slopes of Mount Adams, the state's second-highest peak. The mountain's relative inaccessibility makes for some appealingly solitary rambling. It's also a relatively easy climb to the summit. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest encompasses a large number of trails, lakes and a couple of significant wilderness areas. Visit in late summer when the huckleberries are ripe for the picking.

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 May to early October