After cooling off by the coast this summer, try making a trip out to some of our charming mountain towns by the Cascades. These small communities not only provide a great place to just get away from it all, but their remote locations offer endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping. Here are 12 of the many communities on both sides of the mountains you should swing by this season.
1. North Bend
Nestled in the western foothills of the Cascades, North Bend is known for being home to Twede's Cafe, which was featured in
Twin Peaks. The small town is only a short drive from Seattle, with Mount Si looming high in their horizon. You can also head down to Rattlesnake Ridge from here for an excellent (yet challenging) four-mile hike. The scenic trail leads up through forest to a ledge overlooking a beautiful turquoise lake.
Newhalem is known for their long history of providing electricity to Seattle. In honor of it, they even have a public sculpture to see known as "The Temple of Power", created with recycled bits of giant circuit breakers for columns.
You can also take the short and scenic "Trail of the Cedars" here. This mile-long route kicks off near their main street downtown, heads over a bouncy suspension bridge and through a cedar-filled forest, passing by the town's historic powerhouse.
Leavenworth may be a cozy Christmas town during the winter, but this small Bavarian village has plenty to offer during the summer, too. You can still browse their many quaint local shops, dine on some authentic German food, and head out for plenty of outdoor activities throughout the area.
Hidden among forest, Ashford is one of the closest towns bordering Mount Rainier National Park. The tiny community provides several cabins and cottages that are perfect for setting up base before taking off to explore. Or if you're looking for a totally unique lodging experience, you can stay in the
Cedar Creek Treehouse
here, 50-feet high off the ground.
This Wild West-themed town in the Methow Valley has plenty to see and do all year long. You can find plenty of outdoor recreation in the area, or stop by for a drink in the oldest operating saloon in the state at Three Fingered Jack's Saloon. They still have old school swinging doors, as well as billiards and some great food options.
Nestled between Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams, this remote town is completely surrounded by forest. The area not only offers opportunity for hiking, fishing and camping, but also plenty of cozy cabins and lodging options, as well as a Summer Rod Run event at the end of July.
Tucked away in the North Cascades, Stehekin can only be reached by boat (including the Lady of the Lake ferry), plane or hiking. The beautiful valley is filled with miles of trails to explore, and the Stehekin Valley Ranch even offers unique rides on Norwegian Fjord horses down to Coon Lake.
Sultan is a small town just west of Gold Bar (where you can find
). In the summer, there's plenty of hiking opportunities nearby, along with their 3-day festival known as the Sultan Shindig - which will be going on from July 8-10. And of course, a trip to this small town isn't complete without stopping by the Sultan Bakery for some of their breakfast, lunch, or baked goods.
9. Cle Elum
Cle Elum is situated along the Upper Yakima River in the foothills of the Cascades. Their unique name even comes from a Salish term that translates to "swift water."
Because of their great location by the mountains, the town's a popular destination for camping, hiking and fishing in the summer. And like Sultan, you can't head through their town without stopping over at the local bakery.
Concrete is only about twenty miles from the North Cascades National Park in Skagit County. The small town features several various attractions, from the historic Concrete Theater to Silo Park, and the Henry Thompson Bridge, which spans over the Skagit River.
Roslyn is known for their mural featured in Northern Exposure, but there's much more to see in this small community over the summer. Nestled in the eastern foothills of the mountains, the rural town has plenty of nearby hiking opportunities and highly rated local restaurants.
Glacier is the last town you'll pass through on Mount Baker Highway before reaching the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The area draws in outdoor enthusiasts all year, for hiking and river rafting in the summer, and skiing/snowboarding in the winter.
Have you been to any of these communities by the Cascades before? What are some of your favorite mountain towns in Washington?