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Elle Ossello | 12.22.2016

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.


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


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


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


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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