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Washington

There are 2969 named mountains in Washington. The highest and the most prominent mountain is Mount Rainier.

Washington is home to over sixty named mountain ranges, two of which dominate the landscape: the Olympic Mountains and the Cascade Mountains. There are 3 areas designated as national parks in Washington: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Olympic National Park.

Mount Rainier

Washington is best-known for the Washington Cascades, part of the larger Cascade Mountain Range, which dominates the landscape and extends from British Columbia, Canada, through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. The Washington Cascade Range is generally divided into three different regions: North Cascades, Central Cascades, and South Cascades.

The Washington Cascades

The North Cascades are often referred to as the ‘Alps of the United States,’ because the rugged landscape resembles the Swiss Alps. Arguably one of the most scenic and geologically complex mountain ranges, the North Cascade Range is home to noteworthy mountains like Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Shuksan, as well as Washington’s famed National Park, North Cascades National Park.

The North Cascades

Less than two hours from Seattle you’ll find the Central Cascades, which is said to offer some of the best hiking trails in the Pacific Northwestern United States. In the Central Cascades, you'll find Rattlesnake Mountain, Mount Si, Tiger Mountain, Little Si, and Mailbox Peak. Due to its proximity to Washington’s largest city, Seattle, the Central Cascade Mountains are very popular for local hiking, backpacking, camping, and climbing.

Rattlesnake Mountain

The South Cascade Mountains are home to three volcanoes – Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. Mount Rainier, in particular, is Washington’s tallest peak and the highest peak in the Cascade Range.

Mount Rainier boasts the largest glacial system in the lower 48 states, with more than 25 glaciers descending the slopes. The area was designated as a Mount Rainier National Park in 1899, becoming the fifth national park in the United States, preserving 236,381 acres including the entire mountain and 123 smaller peaks.

Mount Rainier, skyline trail

Throughout the Cascade Range, visitors can expect incredible alpine views, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, dense forests, accessible campgrounds, and climbing routes. However, those interested in experiencing the Cascade Range by vehicle can also drive approximately 440 miles on the Washington Cascade loop which passes through a variety of Washington’s top outdoor attractions.

Washington’s second most popular mountains, the Olympic Mountains, are located on the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington and are primarily protected by Olympic National Park. Unlike the Cascade Range, the peaks found in the Olympic Mountains are not exceptionally large – the highest is Mt. Olympus at 7,962 ft. However, there are several popular hiking trails which include: Mount Storm King, Hurricane Ridge, and Mount Washington.

Major Trails and Hiking Areas

Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain at the Cascade Range and tallest in Washington. However, within Mount Rainier National Park there are over 260 miles of maintained hiking trails to enjoy. There are thousands of attempts to hike to the peak of Mt. Rainier each year, but only half succeed due to weather and lack of preparation. At an elevation of 14,411 ft, Mt. Rainier is one of only two fourteeners in Washington, so if you’re looking to hike to the top, you’ll need adequate experience and supplies.

Mount Rainier

Mount Si (4,167 ft.) is hiked by nearly 100,000 people each year. Its popular due to its proximity to Seattle and is considered to be an achievable hike by both experienced and novice hikers. Ascending Mount Si takes little more than a few hours and includes a rock scramble to the top.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker (10,778 ft) is considered one of the most dominant features in the North Cascades. There are several hiking trails in and around Mt. Baker that offer incredible views of its summit. In the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, you can find over 1,500 miles of hiking trails at varying distances.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park offers a variety of trails that feature jagged peaks, massive glaciers, and incredible panorama views. The most popular peaks in the Olympic Mountains include Mt. Storm King, Mt. Olympus, Mount Deception, and Mount Constance.

Olympic National Park

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is another popular location for hiking, backpacking, camping, and climbing. Within the North Cascades, you’ll find over 2.5 million acres of pristine wilderness. Some of the more popular hiking routes include Hannegan Peak, a 5.2-mile trail with views of the Cascade Range and Mt. Baker, and Bandera Mountain, a 3.5-mile trail that climbs to the top of Bandera Mountain with sweeping views of alpine meadows and lakes.

Major Cities

Seattle

Seattle is the perfect place to stay if you’re interested in traveling to popular wilderness areas and mountains in Washington. Within a three-hour drive of the state’s most famous mountain ranges, North Cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier, and Mount Baker, Seattle is considered a convenient starting point for travelers interested in getting the most out of their stay in Washington state.

Seattle

Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the state of Washington. The city lies alongside the Pacific Ocean and is known for its cloudy weather and mild temperatures. It has an international airport, Seattle-Tacoma International, and a variety of hotel accommodations, which makes it a great starting point for tourists that are traveling throughout the state.

Washington Ski Resorts

Holder of the world snowfall record (slightly less than 95f/29meters of snow in a year) Washington is a winter-sports paradise. Large amounts of natural won't disappoint snow enthusiast of any skill level. Conveniently, there are many ski resorts within a couple of hours from Seattle.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort

  • Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is located on the slopes of the namesake mountain (Crystal Mountain) with one of the most scenic views of Mount Rainier in Washington. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • Mission Ridge - a large basin between Mission Peak and Wenatchee Mountain. The resort boasts more Sun than usually in Washington. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • Mt. Spokane ski area operates within Mount Spokane State Park on the eastern state border with Idaho. Apart from skiing on the slopes of the Mount Spokane the Park offers many other kinds of outdoor recreation all year round. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • The Summit at Snoqualmie unites 4 mountain areas with the total of 25 lifts. The Summit is conveniently located less than an hour from Seattle. The broad range of available activities include day and night skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and Nordic trails. Online ski resort status is available on the website. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • Mt. Baker Ski Area in northwestern Washington is the place where it snows the most.
  • 49° North Mountain Resort on the slopes of Chewelah Mountain. The ski area is located in the northeastern corner of the state in the very heart of the Colville National Forest. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • Stevens Pass is located on the crest of the Cascade Range, guaranteering abundant and frequent snowfall. The ski runs go down from the ridge between Big Chief Mountain and Cowboy Mountain. Online ski resort status is available on the website.
  • White Pass - a ski resort with magnificent views of Mount Rainier and a broad variety of winter activities available.
  • Bluewood famous for the epic trees is situated in the southeastern part of the state. With clear skies and more than 300 inches of snow annually, Bluewood boasts some of the lightest, fluffiest, smoke-dry powder in the Pacific Northwest region.
  • Hurricane Ridge a small, family oriented ski area, is the only one in the Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge features winter vistas unmatched anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
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