You can always find a new place to explore here in Washington. And with spring coming up, the weather will be getting warmer and wildflowers will be starting to bloom everywhere. It’s one of the most beautiful places to head out all year – especially in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for a unique adventure this season, these 15 places around the state should definitely be on your list:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Boulder Cave Trail
You can take this short path through Boulder Cave just outside of Naches in the Mount Rainier area. The dark cave formed millions of years ago from volcanic activity, and is now home to dozens of Pacific western big-eared bats. Past the cave, the trail will also lead you up to Devil's Creek Falls.
2. Staircase Rapids
The Staircase Rapids Loop is one of many enchanting, fairy tale hikes you can experience in the Olympic National Park. After crossing over a cable bridge, the path heads through old-growth forest along the rapids of the Skokomish River.
3. Mount Si
This classic hike by North Bend is perfect during the early spring season. The moderate route heads up the summit of Mount Si, with panoramic views to enjoy from the top.
4. Franklin Falls Trail
This impressive 70-foot cascade on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River is accessible to hike to year-round. It's thought to be hidden in plain sight, located between the elevated roadway of I-90 and old Denny Creek Wagon Trail.
5. Comet Falls Trail
Comet Falls is perhaps the most spectacular waterfall in all of Mount Rainier National Park. The 3.2-mile trail to the waterfall runs along Van Crump Creek, with several other, smaller cascades to see along the way.
6. Iron Horse State Park
This historical park was once part of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad, and is now full of miles of trails in between Cedar Falls and the Columbia River. Pictured is the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which travels east along the old Milwaukee Road.
7. Lenore Lake Caves
These ancient caves were formed thousands of years ago, after water from the Great Missoula flood pulled parts of basalt from the walls of the coulee. It's a fascinating area to wander around, not far from Dry Falls State Park.
8. Ginkgo Petrified Wood State Park
You can find one of the largest petrified forests on the planet right here in the center of our state. The park's home to over 50 different species of fossilized wood, like ginkgo, sweetgum, redwood, Douglas fir, walnut, spruce, elm, maple, horse chestnut, cottonwood, magnolia, yew, and witch hazel.
9. Mount Pilchuck State Park
This park on the western edge of the Cascades is filled with alpine scenery, and a short 3-mile trail that heads up the peak of Mount Pilchuck itself. On top of the summit, keep an eye out for the historic fire lookout that sits at 5,324 feet high.
10. Dash Point State Park
This park along Puget Sound is one of the most popular in all of Western Washington. It features a little bit of everything, with sandy beaches, camping spots, miles of trails, water recreation, an abundance of wildlife and lovely flowers come springtime.
11. Beacon Rock State Park
Open year-round, this park sits on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The area's known for a giant monolith to hike up, but you can also take the Hamilton Mountain Trail here, as well as a route to see the picturesque Hardy Falls.
12. Umtanum Creek Recreation Area
The Umtanum Creek Recreation Area is a captivating place to explore in the Yakima River Canyon, just south of Ellensburg. It features a pleasant hike across a bouncy suspension bridge, and up a canyon that's filled with blooming wildflowers in the spring.
13. Harry's Ridge Trail
If you head along this moderate 8-mile trail, you'll be able to admire 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.
14. Ape Caves
Just south of Mount St. Helens, you can find plenty more adventure through these dark lava tubes. The ancient caves formed thousands of years ago after the volcano erupted and lava poured down the side of the mountain.
15. Priest Point Park, Olympia
Even if you're not up in the mountains, there are still plenty of trails to venture around Washington. This heavenly waterfront park in our capital provides miles of trails, picnic tables, and beach access to the Budd Inlet of Puget Sound.
So many places, so little time. Are you ready to head out for an adventure here in Washington yet?