Some of the enchanting places here in Washington are almost too good to be true. Whether it’s the surreal beauty of our Northwest landscapes, or one of our weird man-made attractions, there are plenty of things around here you really just have to see to believe. Like these 12 incredible spots:
1. Hobbit Hut (Port Orchard)
This adorable Hobbit-inspired hut is located inside The Brother's Greenhouses garden center. During business hours, you can take a trip inside the charming little earthen building, take photos, and even sign their guest book.
2. Cape Alava
Hiking out to Cape Alava (the western-most point of the lower 48) is almost like experiencing a dream. The trail follows along a wooden boardwalk before leading out to the coast, where you'll be able to find tree-covered sea stacks, driftwood and serene views of the ocean.
3. Vance Creek Bridge
The Vance Creek Bridge has gained a little too much popularity online in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, #ThatNWBridge is now off-limits to the public (and it's on private property). But it's still always mind-blowing to see in photos. The dangerous, abandoned railway is the second highest in the country, at 357 feet high above Vance Creek.
4. Enchantment Lakes
The Enchantment Lakes area got its name for a reason. It's a long and strenuous hike out in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and usually includes camping for a few nights (or up to a couple of weeks) to fully explore everywhere. But the picturesque lakes, rugged peaks and meadows make the challenging trip well-worthwhile. You may even spot some mountain goats while you're up there.
5. Natural Bridge
This rock bridge is one of the most extraordinary hidden gems in Mount Rainier Park. Located on the Northern Loop Trail, the arch is perched 200 feet high on the hillside behind Lake Ethel and Lake James. Could you imagine the view looking down while climbing across? It would be
6. Cedar Creek Treehouse
Cedar Creek Treehouse is what everyone dreams of as a kid. Complete with a rainbow bridge, observatory and towering spiral staircase, this "off-the-grid" retreat provides one-of-a-kind lodging 50-feet high off the ground. It features a cozy loft for one or two people, skylights, and sweeping views of the forest, Mount Rainier and Nisqually Valley down below. (Check out more info
7. Tree Root Cave
The Tree Root Cave is one of the most bizarre pieces of nature in the Olympic National Park (near the Kalaloch campgrounds). Somehow, the tree is still able to stand despite the fact the roots lead to nowhere and there's no soil to help keep it alive.
8. Washington Pass Overlook
If you're driving on North Cascades Highway 20, this is the perfect place to turn off for incredible photo opportunities. There's a paved trail that leads out to the overlook, and eventually makes a loop around. From the viewpoint, you'll be able to get a good look at Liberty Bell and a number of other jagged peaks.
9. Guler Ice Caves
The Guler Ice Caves are one of the most mystic places to explore in southwestern Washington, not far from Trout Lake. Because the lava tubes remain at a constant 32 degrees (or below), they're able to maintain these ice stalactites and stalagmites almost all year long. Eventually, some of them do melt and re-form, so you may be able to see new, unique formations every time you visit.
10. Gothic Basin
The hike to Gothic Basin in the North Cascades will leave you breathless. Literally - it's a challenging, nearly 10-mile hike with a whole lot of steep elevation. But the pay-off is tremendous. You'll reach a pristine basin filled with ice-carved lakes, rocky cliffs and picture perfect alpine scenery. The trail is also dog-friendly, if you'd like to bring your four-legged friend.
11. Hobbit House
This whimsical Hobbit House is the closest you can get to experiencing Middle Earth in Washington. The magical hut is available to rent for the night, located out on the beautiful Orcas Island. Nestled deep within the woods, the one-bedroom haven offers a private, tranquil place to stay with a deck to relax on and a beautiful hobbit-sized kitchen. (Check out more info
12. Strawberry Bay Falls
There's nothing quite like the sight of a beautiful 100-foot waterfall plunging into the Pacific Ocean. At low tide, you go for a short walk along the shore to catch a glimpse of this horsetail cascade by the south end of Third Beach.
Have you been to any of these enchanting spots in Washington before? What are some other places throughout the state that you would only expect to see in your imagination?