30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington

01.03.17

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30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
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  • View toward Crying Lady Rock from La Push, Second Beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • La Push, Second Beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • A panoramic view of La Push, Second Beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • A vibrant and brief sunset over the sea stacks of Second Beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Westhaven State Park beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View of the North Cascades from the Thornton Lakes Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View of Thornton Lakes.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View of Mount Degenhardt.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View north to the surrounding North Cascades from Trappers Peak (5,966 ft).- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • The Hoh River at Olympus Guard Station. The trail to Hoh Lake crosses over the ridge on the far right.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • The view into the eastern end of Seven Lakes Basin.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus).- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Colchuck Lake Basin.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Colchuck Lake's side lake and autumn colors.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Colchuck Lake with Aasgard Pass (7,840 ft) in the saddle.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Looking up at the pass between Dragontail and Colchuck Peak.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Looking up at Colchuck Peak (8,705 ft).- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Isolation Lake in the Enchantment Lakes Basin.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Leprechaun Lake in the Enchantment Lakes Basin.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Outdoor Project contributor Josh Lupkin takes in a beautiful sight looking into the crater of Mount St. Helens (8,365 ft) from Norway Pass.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Independence Ridge and Norway Pass with Spirit Lake behind.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Contributor Josh Lupkin overlooking Mount St. Helens (8,365 ft) and the Plains of Abraham.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • The destroyed forest near Mount St. Helens resembles toothpicks.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Lake Crescent from Fairholme Beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Fall colors in the meadow along the trail to Blue Lake.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Liberty Bell Group over Blue Lake. From left to right: Liberty Bell (7,720 ft), Concord Tower (7,560 ft), Lexington Tower (7,560 ft), North and South Early Winters Spires (7,760 ft, 7,807 ft).- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft) from the trail to Goat Lake.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Mount Rainier (14,409 ft) and Goat Lake in the distance from the trail to Goat Lake.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Misty views of craggy peaks along the trail to Goat Lake.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • View across Goat Creek Valley, with Old Snowy (7,900 ft) at left and Ives Peak (7,940 ft) at right.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Lake Cushman, The Big Rock cliff-jumping spot.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • A kayaker crosses from Orcas Island to Sucia Island at dusk.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Palouse Falls State Park in Washington.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Spirit Falls, Little White Salmon River.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Beacon Rock, viewed from the State Park's upper picnic area.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Mount Adams, South Climb: sunset from Lunch Counter.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Mount Adams, South Climb.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Sunset over the lunch counter as Mount Adams looms above and Mount St. Helens rests in the distance.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Rolling boardwalk at Duthie Hill Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • A biker zooming over one of many boardwalks in Duthie Hill Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
  • Western portion of the cave.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in Washington
Article
Pro Contributor

The upper left corner of the continental United States is a verdant, mountainous, ecological marvel. From the highest peaks of the Northern Cascades to the wild wilderness of the Gifford Pinchot; from the great eastern plains to the thundering ruckus of the coast, Washington delivers adventure. And as a major bonus, Sea-Tac is one of the easiest airports to fly to in the west. 

Though it's hard to be exact, it's estimated that there are over 70,000 miles of rivers that wind through and tumble over this wet, wet state. Coupling that with over 8,000 lakes makes for a fisherman's, kayaker's, and lounger's delight. That's not to mention that 157 miles of Washington's rugged coastline kisses the Pacific Ocean, delighting surfers and beachcombers. So it's no secret why water-centric adventures weigh heavy on this list. 

Ever-present, though, be it seaside, lakeside, or smack in the center of downtown Seattle, is a jagged mountain range in the distance. There are over 63 named mountain ranges within the state, and each is shockingly different from the next. One only needs to juxtapose a jaunt through the Enchantments to Colchuck Lake with a trip to Mount Margaret via Norway Pass to understand.

Even the most determined explorer could spend a lifetime seeking thrilling adventure and jaw-dropping beauty within the state of Washington and feel as though she hasn't scratched the surface. Whether the best experiences come to you by way of mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, or even by car, find below a less-than-comprehensive starter pack for Washington experiences. Please bear in mind that there are a number of adventures on this list that require a specific skill set or professional guides. Always assess your own abilities before embarking beyond the trailhead or the put-in.

Mountains

1. Thornton Lakes Trail + Trappers Peak

2. Mount Margaret Via Norway Pass

3. Mount Adams, South Climb

4. Gobblers Knob + Lake George Hike

5. Mount Ellinor

6. Mount Ann

7. Washington Pass Overlook

Overnights

8. Enchantment Lakes Hike Via Colchuck Lake

9. Hoh to Sol Duc Via High Divide Trail

10. Goat Lake

Day Hikes

11. Beacon Rock

12. Ape Canyon

13. Guler Ice Caves

Rivers/Waterfalls

14. Palouse Falls

15 Spirit Falls

16. Spray Waterfall + Spray Park Hike

17. Snoqualmie Falls

18. Wind River

19. Middle White Salmon River

10. Outlet Falls

Lakes

21. Blue Lake Hike

22. Lake Cushman

23. Lake Crescent​

24. Baker Lake

Beaches/Sea Kayaking

25. La Push, Second Beach

26. Orcas Island, Obstruction Pass Beach

27. Westhaven State Park + Half Moon Bay

28. Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking

Mountain Biking

29. Duthie Hill Park

30. Ape Canyon to Plains of Abraham

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