Our Ten Favourite Days in Washington
Hurricane Ridge is a mountainous area in Washington’s Olympic National Park and forms part of the Olympic Mountains. Hurricane Ridge is a year-round destination; in summer, folks come for views and like us for the hiking and in the winter they come for winter sports.
If you come for the hiking then there are a number of trails for all abilities. Take a look at the routes that we walked during our day at Hurricane Ridge. The visitors centre also offers a list of hikes and Ranger activities each day.
In May 1980 a 5.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a series of events that rapidly caused one of the largest volcanic eruptions that has ever been recorded. I remember watching on the news and learning, for the first time, about pyroclastic flows and the devastation caused by the eruption.
Today Mount St Helens is sleeping but the possibility of further eruptions is never far away. Today the mountain is a popular tourist destination offering several walking trails; you can read about our day at Mount St Helen’s or stop at the Visitors Centre and learn more about the volcano and about hikes and Ranger activities.
A few years ago I read a blog, or more accurately, I saw a photo in a blog. That was enough for me! And so we ended up in Washington State and we finally got to visit Rainer National Park. We walked the Skyline Trail and it was everything we’d hope for and more! If you are in the area then visiting this National Park should be in your itinerary!
Seattle, whislt being America’s 15th largest city, feels very compact and walkable for a tourist. We only had a day in Seattle but it was enough to give us a flavour of the State’s capital and left us wanting more!
Spend a day or more in the city that sits on the Puget Sound; you wont be disappointed!
The Puget Sound is an enormous body of water that serves today as a border between Canada and the USA. It’s home to whales and dolphins and seals and salmon and numerous sea birds. It’s fair to say that Puget Sound has shaped the lives of the people who live here.
One of the Puget Sound islands is Vashon and we took the Washington State Ferry for the day to explore. It’s a tiny island, you can see a lot in a day! And it seems to have everything, beautiful wild beaches, forests and a glorious little town that is well worth a visit.
We stayed in Port Angeles which is a fabulous little destination in itself and we booked a whale watching cruise during our stay. We’ve been whale watching before off the Coast of New England and in Maui but this trip was different because Orca live in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Whale sightings are guaranteed (or your money back) but no matter because I was sold when I read ORCA!
Lake Crescent is a stunning body of water formed when glaciers carved deep valleys during the last Ice Age. Today it’s famous for its brilliant clear waters and is a popular tourist destination. There are places to stay, a campsite and many well marked trails and ancient forests to explore; we spent a day at Lake Crescent but you could easily spend longer!
Formerly known as the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and renamed in honour of activist, Billy Frank Jr. the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to simple enjoy nature and the trails are suitable for all ages and abilities. The Estuary walk leads you out through the estuary along a giant boardwalk. We spotted a myriad of birds including a Bald Eagle with her young. You can also spot harbour seals and otters and a host of other animals along the expansive tide flats. We regret not going back for a return visit!
There are several hikes at Mount Rainier National Park of various lengths and suitable for different ages and abilities. We took one of the shorter trails, visiting one of the alpine lakes that sit in the shadow of Mount Rainier.
The Snow Lake trail is short but quite demanding but worth the effort as the views of the lake and the surrounding mountains were nothing short of majestic.
Ride The Washington State Ferry
As our flight landed in SeaTac Seattle, the people sat behind us on the flight told us to check out The Washington State Ferries; it was a great piece of advice! We took a ferry to Vashon Island and also to Seattle. The Ferries are regular, efficient and very affordable. If you wish to explore Puget Sound and you don’t have deep pockets this is a fabulous way to see more. If we’d had time we would certainly have taken more!
In all honesty we only initinally decided to visited Washington State because 1) I liked the idea of hiking around Mount Rainier and 2) it was close to Vancouver where we had originally planned to visit. BUT having spent a few weeks in Washington State we are so grateful for our time here and we would certainly return.
It’s a state that offers so much in terms of beauty and nature and hiking and cities and towns and ease of travelling. Go to Washington and discover her charms! You won’t be disappointed!