Filled with mountains, forest, rivers, and gorges, Washington is a state that outdoor enthusiasts love to visit. Washington State Parks bring you close to some of the most rugged or pristine examples of Washington States diverse ecosystems.
Washington State Scenery
Washington has two mountain ranges in its borders, the Olympics to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. It is also bisected by the Puget Sound, which is home to the Emerald City of Seattle. Some of the best parks and wildlife are actually in this area"s Seattle parks.
One of the most visited Washington State Parks is the Olympic National Park. There are three ecosystems on the Olympic Peninsula: the 60 or more miles of rugged Washington coast, the glacial mountain ranges, and the temperate Washington rainforests.
Visitors who want to experience all the outdoor beauty of Washington State tourism enjoy exploring all the different parks of the state. Old-growth forest, elk, and bald eagles are just a few of the living things that flourish in one of Washington states pristine parks. There are 15 types of animals and eight different plants that are found only in the Olympic National Park and nowhere else in the world.
To the east, the Cascade Mountains offer an entirely different experience. Alpine camping, kayaking in glacial lakes, and backcountry snowshoeing are just some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in Eastern Washington.
The North Cascades is one of the most scenic Washington State Parks. This idyllic mountain scenery is the setting of remote Bavarian-themed villages like Leavenworth, and a center of summer Washington vacations on glacial lakes like Lake Chelan.
The north area of the Cascade Mountains is filled with lush valleys, towering mountain peaks, plummeting waterfalls, and 300 glaciers, making this area its own destination and a center for Washington State tourism. Highway 20, or the North Cascades highway, is a scenic driving tour of the most beautiful areas of the north part of the Cascade Mountains.
One of the most well known landmarks in Washington, Mount St Helens, has its own park. After the 1980 blast, the mountain was relatively quiet until 2004, when it began to have small earthquakes and the lava dome grew in size. The activity at Mt. St. Helens has had a part in stimulating much of the recent increases in Washington State tourism.
Visible from hundreds of miles away is the summit of Mount Rainier. This mountain is inside one of the most visited Washington State Parks. At over 14,000, it is thousands of feet higher than any of the peaks of the Cascade Mountains. Two million visitors go to Mount Rainier every year. Whether you"d enjoy views of the mountain from a nearby wildflower-filled alpine valley, or want to come closer and hike on its glaciers, a trip to Mt. Rainier is the pinnacle of a Washington State vacation.