What mountains run through Washington State?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Washington State, located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is blessed with a diverse and stunning landscape that includes several major mountain ranges. These majestic mountains not only add to the state’s natural beauty but also provide numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, and skiing.

One of the most prominent mountain ranges in Washington is the Cascade Range. Stretching from northern California all the way to British Columbia in Canada, the Cascades divide the state into two distinct regions – the western side and the eastern side. The Cascade Range is home to some of the highest peaks in Washington, including Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Glacier Peak.

Traversing the Cascade Range are several major passes that provide crucial transportation routes through the mountains. Snoqualmie Pass, located just east of Seattle, is perhaps the most well-known pass in the state. It carries Interstate 90, one of the main east-west highways in the United States, and provides access to popular ski resorts and outdoor recreation areas.

Further south, another significant pass in the Cascade Range is Stevens Pass. This pass, also traversed by Highway 2, is a gateway to the eastern side of the Cascades and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Stevens Pass is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, with a ski resort attracting visitors from all over the state.

Moving westward, we come across the Olympic Mountains, a unique and rugged range located on the Olympic Peninsula. These mountains are known for their pristine wilderness, ancient rainforests, and stunning alpine landscapes. The Olympic Mountains are home to Mount Olympus, the highest peak in the range, and are part of the Olympic National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

In the northeastern corner of the state lies the Selkirk Mountains, which extend into Washington from British Columbia. While not as well-known as the Cascades or Olympics, the Selkirk Mountains offer a quieter and more remote mountain experience. This range is characterized by its deep valleys, dense forests, and abundant wildlife, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and backpackers seeking solitude.

Lastly, we have the Blue Mountains, located in southeastern Washington. This range is part of the larger Columbia Plateau and is known for its rolling hills, grassy slopes, and scenic canyons. The Blue Mountains provide a stark contrast to the rugged peaks of the Cascades and offer a different type of outdoor experience, including hiking, camping, and birdwatching.

As an avid outdoor enthusiast who has had the privilege of exploring Washington’s mountains, I can attest to the sheer beauty and diversity of these ranges. From the towering peaks of the Cascades to the remote wilderness of the Olympics and the tranquil landscapes of the Selkirks and Blues, Washington State truly has something for everyone seeking a mountain adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or simply enjoy immersing yourself in nature, the mountains of Washington will leave you awe-inspired and longing for more.