Summer is a wonderful time for a new adventure in Washington. The warm, beautiful weather is perfect for hiking, wildflowers are in full bloom, and our mountain passes are now open for picture perfect road trips. If you’re looking to see more of our gorgeous state this season, try checking out one (or all) of these extraordinary places.
1. Artist Point
Artist Point is located at the very end of Mount Baker Highway (State Route 542). The final, scenic 2.7-mile stretch of the road leads to a parking area, where you can stop, get out and take trails for even more up-close views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.
2. The Ozette Triangle Loop
Hiking out to Cape Alava (the western-most point of the lower 48) is almost like experiencing a dream. The 9-mile loop is basically two hikes in one: with both a walk through the forest, and along the beach. It kicks off by Lake Ozette, and follows a wooden boardwalk out to the coast - where you can find tree-topped sea stacks, driftwood, and of course, serene views of the Pacific Ocean.
3. Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls is one of the prettiest gems in the Olympic National Park. The six-mile hike to the falls starts out by Sol Duc Hot Springs, passes through old-growth forest, and leads over a bridge where you can get the best views of the cascade.
4. The Mount Rainier Gondola
Even if you're not much of a hiker, you can still enjoy unparalleled views of our grandest mountain (and a meal to go with it) by taking the gondola up to Crystal Mountain Resort. The impressive ride takes visitors over meadows filled with wildflowers to the summit of Crystal Mountain.
At the top, you can find a great meal at Summit House, overlooking Rainier and the Cascades. Perched at 6,872 feet high, the restaurant serves seafood, sandwiches, burgers and hot specialty drinks. (Read more info
5. Bagley Lakes Trail, near Mount Baker
Heather Meadows is an enchanting area to explore near Mount Baker. There's an easy, two-mile loop you can take that winds around Bagley Lakes, featuring blooming wildflowers, a stunning mountainous backdrop and year-round snowfield.
6. Naches Peak Loop, in Mount Rainier National Park
This kid-friendly loop starts out by Tipsoo Lake, offering a short, pleasant walk surrounded by gorgeous alpine scenery. The 3.2-mile trail winds along a hillside and through grassy meadows lined with bright summer wildflowers. With hardly any elevation at 600 feet, the easy trip can be enjoyed by hikers of all ages and skill levels.
7. Dungeness Spit, near Sequim
For an easygoing beach hike, try walking up Dungeness Spit at low tide. This natural sand spit is 5.5-miles long, and juts outs from the northern edge of the peninsula into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
8. Dog Mountain, near the Columbia River Gorge
Dog Mountain is a steep 7-mile hike, but the expansive views of the Columbia River makes the challenging trip worth the sweat. The forested mountain also features these bright yellow balsamroot flowers blooming in the early summer.
9. Steamboat Rock State Park, near Grand Coulee
This huge, stunning park is in the Grand Coulee area, on the north end of Banks Lake. It features massive rock cliffs that were carved out by the Missoula Ice Age Floods thousands of years ago (like
, and the
Lake Lenore Caves
). The lakeside park also offers hiking trails, campsites, and fantastic views of the basalt butte looming about 800 feet over the water.
10. Harry's Ridge Trail, Mount St. Helens
A moderate 8 miles, this day hike will give you outstanding views of Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake. The route's actually named after a man, Harry Randall Truman, who refused to leave his home despite evacuation orders and died when the volcano erupted on May 18, 1980.
11. Snow Lake, near Snoqualmie Pass
Snow Lake is a beautiful hike not far from Snoqualmie Pass, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The trail is well-maintained, and easy to follow as it leads up a ridge that overlooks the water. After reaching the viewpoint at the top, you can even keep going down to the basin and walk along the pristine lake.