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Washington: Evergreen State in the Northwest

The State of Washington easily ranges among the most popular tourist destinations within the United States. That does not mean by any chance that visitors get a sense of crowdedness. Washington State is much too large and diverse for this to happen. From Seattle, this great city with the relaxing atmosphere in the west, over the magnificent volcano mountains of the Cascade Range towards the dry and sunny east with its countless outdoor recreation options: Washington State is a real thrill for young and old, sporty and artsy!

General Information

Washington comprises the northwestern tip of the continental United States. The northern state border is at the same time the boundary between the US and Canada, running along the 49th parallel. The Canadian province of British Columbia is thus the neighboring province for the State of Washington.

Washington is parted into a western and eastern half by the Cascade Range. This mountain range is made up of several volcanoes which also constitute the highest peaks. Those include Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens. The region is also famed for the Galena chain lakes.

Due to the elevation and landscape differences, the climate within the state varies greatly. The west, bordering with the Pacific, is characterized by an oceanic or marine west coast climate. East of the Cascade Range, there is considerably lesser precipitation. The spring and summer is relatively dry throughout Washington while falls and winters often bring mild, humid weather, although of course in higher elevations that means snowfall and frost. The average annual temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


The Native American tribes that inhabited the region lived mostly from fishing, most notably whale and salmon. This does not go for the tribes of the interior regions of course who subsided on hunting, food-gathering, and some forms of agriculture. Europeans arrived as late as the 1770s, a fact accounted for by the remote western position on the continent which was explored from east to west by Europeans. Trade of various goods like fur, fish, and timber evolved between various European nations in the 1790s. Spain originally claimed possession of the region, which was later ceded to the US. Notable settlements were not undertaken before the mid-19th century. Many settlers came along the popular Oregon Trail. In 1889, Washington was the 42nd state to join the Union.

Originally an agricultural state, during WW II many war industries discovered Washington and produced there. Seattle was an important embarkation point for the Pacific theater during that time.

National Parks

Washington State has three of the major US National Parks. Located in Pierce and Lewis counties, Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899 as the fifth park within the US. The park is of course dominated by the volcano mountain of 14,410 feet, the highest mountain in Washington, which lends the park its name. This steep peak is surrounded by green valleys, cascading waterfalls, subalpine wildflower meadows, and extensive old growth forests. Within the park, no less than 26 glaciers are located as well. With snow and ice throughout the year they are prime destinations for winter sports. Mount Rainier is itself a prime hiking and mountain climbing destination. More than 10,000 attempt an ascent to the peak each year.

North Cascades National Park is located in the northernmost portion of the Cascade Range within US boundaries. 684,000 acres of natural beauty, prime attractions like Ross Lake and the Lake Chelan area invite thousands of tourists each year. Rugged mountain peaks dominate the picture here. An astonishing number of 318 glaciers is located in North Cascades National Park. The park is well-known for its extensive wildlife and game, like wolves, grizzlies, lynx, moose, and wolverines, among many others.

Around Mount St. Helens, that notorious volcano that last erupted in 1980, the National Volcanic Monument is preserving the heritage of the outbreak. On the 110,000 acre area, many trails, viewpoints, information stations, campgrounds, and picnic areas have been established since the 1980s.


Seattle, that marvelous sea town, is known as the Emerald City. The name stems from the green surrounding nature. Seattle is known for its relaxing, lush lifestyle, its climate and healthy air. The city is located at the shore of Puget Sound, a saltwater inlet of the Pacific. Lake Washington on the eastern edge of the city provides a sweet water alternative to the salty Pacific. If you are lucky, you might catch Bill Gates, a resident of the lakeshore, shopping here. The historical district of Seattle goes along First Avenue in the heart of the city. Pike Place Market is just as it used to be 100 years ago, full of bakeries, grocery stands and so much more culinary delight. Seattle really is an incredibly relaxing and sympathetic city. Further north, towards Birch Bay, one finds Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands.

Eastern Washington

Exit the urban surroundings of Washington; enter the countryside environment of eastern Washington. But Spokane is also a large city. Being a gateway to grain fields, year-round recreation possibilities and Riverfront Park, Spokane retains its small city feel, while offering all the trappings of a big city. Spokane really is the perfect base for a wide variety of outdoor recreation. Extensive bike trails lead through the region, challenging golf courses, lakes, and rivers please every interest. It should be noted that the eastern portion of the state is protected by the Cascade Range from the Pacific rainfalls. 250 days of sunshine and more are the average here. And there is so much fun here too. Take a ride on the world’s largest wooden roller coaster, play a round of poker in one of the high-class casinos, or engage in one of the other seemingly countless activities prevalent here.

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