Just start planning for your next trip and get your flight bookings through American Airlines Reservations’ official site to Evergreen Washington State and get a chance to grab some amazing offers on every booking. Book now and visit this beautiful place to start exploring it. Scroll down for the top 13 places in the Evergreen Washington State you must see, visit, experience, and sometimes exert yourself before you die.
13. Grand Coulee
An ideal shoulder season jaunt in three steps. Visit the Dry Falls overlook and (weirdly constructed) visitor center north of Ephrata. The ice dam holding Lake Missoula burst about 13,000 years ago, unleashing an enormous volume of water over a 3.5-mile wide, 400-foot-tall precipice.
Stop two is Steamboat Rock State Park in the middle of Banks Lake, a wonderful coulee-watching spot. The third stop, of course, is Grand Coulee Dam, a hallmark of the New Deal that made the desert bloom and whose power, in Woody Guthrie’s words, turned darkness to dawn. The massive third powerhouse generates electricity during cold, dark winter days when use soars.
12. Kettle River trail north of Republic
With the Cascades increasingly crowded, one further east destination in Northeast Washington beckons — especially during fall colors. The partially complete Kettle Crest Trail, along Curlew Lake and further north, is gorgeous. It’s located on an old railroad grade, along a river that meanders south from Canada, swings back north into Canada, and again crosses the border to merge with the Columbia River.
11. Women’s restroom, Columbia Tower Club
This is a destination accessible only to half of our readers, but it boasts Seattle’s finest view straight out to Mount Rainier. Alpine glow at sunset adds beauty to the Liberty Ridge-Willis Wall face of the mountain.
Two male public figures have seen the view. Both President Bill Clinton and then-Sen. Al Gore had security folk make sure the restroom was empty, and then sneaked down to see “The Mountain.” Note: The club also has an observatory.
10. Cape Flattery and Neah Bay
Buy a Makah Recreation Pass and take the 3/4 mile trail down to Cape Flattery, the furthest northwest tip of the contiguous United States. An environment of pounding surf, wind-sculpted trees, constantly changing climate, plus bald eagles flying by with fish in their talons.
The Museum of the Makah Cultural and Research Center, in Neah Bay, is one of the country’s finest small museums. Its exhibits center on artifacts recovered from an Ozette Indian village archeological site near Cape Alava.
9. National Nordic Museum
Less that three years old, already given its name by an act of Congress, the National Nordic Museum in Ballard is striking for its architecture — “structured around a linear fjord” in words of its architect — and exhibits from the heritage of five countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Check their website for upcoming exhibits and programs. The building is marvelously full of light even on the darkest of days.
8. Sunset ride to Bainbridge on a Washington State Ferry
The author is offspring of a Brooklyn-born father who spurned the Statue of Liberty as a “tourist attraction.” We do turn our noses to attractions right under our nose. Still, old college chums, taking a trip West after kids leave the nest, rave about this experience.
Bone up on the Olympic summits that give Seattle its western skyline; Mount Washington whose visage resembles that of America’s first president.
7. Beacon Rock State Park
The 848-foot-high basalt volcanic plug was a stopover point for Lewis & Clark in 1805. The park features rock climbing, a trail to the top with many switchbacks, plus boating. The Columbia River has become a renowned wind surfing center, especially Hood River upstream on the Oregon side.
Most of all, however, here is the place to appreciate where a mighty river has carved a path through a mighty mountain range, now protected as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
6. Raft a Northwest River
The Wenatchee River during runoff season is an exciting, bumpy ride with Class 2 and 3 rapids. A renowned rapid, Drunkard’s Drop, is a little less exciting since a giant boulder plunked into the river nine years ago. The put-in is at Leavenworth. A second recommendation would be the Skagit River above Marblemount, especially Dolly Parton Rapids where the river rushes between two giant boulders.
5. Walla Walla wine tour
A lovely town in its own right, with parks and the Whitman College campus, Walla Walla has become a wine lover’s destination of North American renown. The author can remember days when the highlights were Woodward Canyon and L’Ecole 41 — in an old school — in Lowden just west of the city.
No more. In order to imbibe, taking a wine tour is strongly recommended. So is having a checkbook at the ready. In 2006, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama came out for a forum at Garfield High. Host Tom Douglas gave him a bottle of Woodward Canyon cab to take home. The Obamas would later serve Walla Walla wine at White House state dinners.
4. Salmon fishing at Ilwaco and a visit to Long Beach and Cape Disappointment State Park
Give Astoria its due, but our side of the mouth of the Columbia River is worth a stay. The lighthouse at Cape Disappointment is a premier storm watching spot. Rarely have I ever seen kids so pumped, so into it, as on a salmon fishing charter out of Ilwaco.
If you have sense enough to take a long weekend, head up to Leadbetter Point State Park at the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula. With miles of ocean beaches, it’s a great place for the family dog to go loping into the water, and then come back and shake water all over you.
3. Sunrise side of Mount Rainier
The north side of Tahoma is a bit less crowded than Paradise, and features epic meadow and tundra walks. Burroughs Mountain features views of the great Emmons Glacier and Little Tahoma. The 7,800-foot summit of Third Burroughs looks down a vertical half-mile at the Winthrop Glacier. You have the Willis Wall and Liberty Ridge in your face.
The stroll up to Mt. Fremont Lookout is a relatively easy 5.4-mile round trip, with mountain goat watching.
2. Palouse Falls
It’s Washington’s official state waterfall, out in the semi-wilds of Eastern Washington, a little more than an hour’s drive north from Walla Walla. The waterfall is 198 feet high, its canyon sculpted by enormous floods created by the Pleistocene-era bursting of Lake Missoula. The almost unimaginable volumes of water created Eastern Washington’s coulees.
Palouse Falls State Park is popular for its remoteness. There is camping, but expect a ranger to be on hand to check your Discover Pass.
1. Mount Constitution on Orcas Island
You can drive or hike up to the 2,409-foot summit in Moran State Park, which has a panorama to die for. Spread out below are the San Juan Islands as well as Canada’s Gulf Islands. The 10,778-foot Mount Baker looms to the east, living up to a rough translation of its native name: The Great White Watcher. Olympics are dream hazy to the south.
The San Juan Islands get crowded in mid- to late summer. The “shoulder seasons” of spring and fall are the ideal time to visit. Dine well down below, and then see the Salish Sea spread out below you.
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