Updated:08/28/18Wonder and Awe Fill The Views With Washington Volcanoes An awe-inspiring sight on the Seattle horizon is Mt Rainier. This massive volcano has a vertical rise, out of the surrounding plateau, equal to the tallest mountains on Earth. More than a mile high on the southern shoulder of the mountain, a lodge and parking area […]
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Just 30 miles east of the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, Snoqualmie Falls plunges 268 feet. A little farther away from the city, amid seemingly endless forest, three massive volcanoes stand like pyramids in the skyline. Along the border with Oregon, the great Columbia River Gorge is a mecca for those who seek the most spectacular scenery and windsurfing anywhere. As you will see, Volcano Country is famously diverse.
One of the largest volcanoes in the Cascade Range, Mt Adams towers 12,276 feet above sea level. Many aspiring mountaineers make this their first major summit. The easiest route to the top is long and strenuous, but non-technical, following an old mule-train path. In the summer, wildflowers blanket much of the mountain in a surreal array of color. Reached most rapidly from Trout Lake, endless miles of trails await explorers on foot or horseback.
An awe-inspiring sight on the Seattle horizon is Mt Rainier. This massive volcano has a vertical rise, out of the surrounding plateau, equal to the tallest mountains on Earth. More than a mile high on the southern shoulder of the mountain, a lodge and parking area overlooking Paradise Valley, appropriately named, is accessible by car almost all year. You can stay in comfort on the mountain or in one of the scenic towns nearby. Walk or hike the countless trails through ancient forests; spy on glaciers while standing amid a sea of wildflowers.
The May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens provided an opportunity to see the Earth recreating itself. Twenty years later, one can witness firsthand the land being reborn, sprouting anew through the still surreal moonscape of lava and ash. See whole forests blown over by the force of the blast. Visit a number of visitor centers located just a few miles from the massive crater. Each stop gives you a different visual and educational perspective. You can even see a new dome forming.
The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon cutting through the volcanic rock of the Cascade Mountain Range. Join some of the world’s best windsurfers who flock to this natural wonder. For scenery, you can’t beat a drive or bike tour along the historic Highway 14. Or hike one of the waterfall trails, then relax in the comforts of one of the many bed and breakfasts, inns or luxurious lodges in the area.