The most widely known volcano in Washington is Mount St. Helens which last erupted in 1980. Yet, did you know that it is just one of five active volcanoes in Washington state? As part of the Cascade Arc some of the state’s highest and most magnificent mountains comprise the ring of fire. Washington volcanoes are a combination of potentially devastating combustion and unparalleled beauty.
Mount Baker in the far north of the state has been referred to as ‘the crown jewel of the Cascades’. Sitting 30 miles east of Bellingham, Mount Baker reigns over Puget Sound. In the summer her slopes are generously covered with wildflowers and hiking along the many trails and paths are a favorite seasonal attraction. In the winter, snowy slopes and resorts like Mt. Baker Ski Area make for great snowboarding and skiing.
Artist Point on WA 542 marks the end of the Scenic Byway that cuts through Mount Baker from the town of Glacier. Here mesmerizing views provide the perfect backdrop for you to take pictures while the nearby Visitor Center proffers geological information and recreational areas for picnics.
Mount Rainier located Southeast of Tacoma in Mount Rainier National Park is the highest mountain in Washington state. It’s home to 26 glaciers, forests, streams, rivers, and meadows. One of the most popular trails for viewing the mountain splendor surrounds Reflection Lakes. This cluster of lakes mirrors the sky above for unencumbered views of one of the greatest spectacles in nature. In addition, Paradise can also be found. At 5,400-feet on the south slope of Mount Rainier, the name Paradise has been given to the gorgeous wildflower meadow that offers glorious views and is a popular spot for tourists.
Activities on Mount Rainier include horseback riding, hiking and fishing in the summer while winter gives way to snowshoeing and skiing. Crystal Mountain Resort and White Pass Ski Area provide thousands of acres of winter fun on dedicated terrain and backcountry.
Mount St. Helens, located in the Southwest part of Washington, is the most active volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a popular destination in Gifford Pinchot National Forest and commemorates the devastation of the 1980 eruption. The Science & Learning Center offers interactive educational resources and provides group programs and hikes.
For an exploration on lava, the Ape Cave Lava Tube on the Southwest flank of Mount St. Helens is one of many lava tubes that make up the Cave Basalt. Open year-round, you can walk through the tubes in a guided exploration.
Glacier Peak, Northeast of Seattle is the most isolated of all of Washington’s volcanos. Aptly named it has the most glaciers of any mountain in the 49 continental states. Located in Snohomish County, the surface of the volcano contains 450 miles of rugged trails. Seldom seen views of wilderness can be found on this quiet mountain where you may find yourself in the company of mountain goats, elk, black bears and the occasional grizzly bear.
Mount Adams is the largest volcano in Washington state. Although the least visited volcano in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Adams lies only 30 miles east of Mount St. Helen. Most of the top of Mount Adams is covered with glaciers while its gorgeous slopes are draped in a beautiful dense forest. Enjoy quiet hiking trails on Mount Adams that take you past pristine lakes and brilliant meadows dripping with colorful wildflowers.
Mountaineering in Washington
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Exploring scenic mountain roadways is even better on a bike. A motorcycle trip along the cascades immerses you in beautiful surroundings and brings you up to narrow passage ways where the best view may be continued with a short hike. Pack your gear for a memorable day spent on Washington’s open roads.
Well maintained national and state parks provide safe and fun recreation around volcanic mountains in Washington. Marked hiking trails guide you to your destination while stops for swimming or a picnic can be made along the way. Beloved wildlife areas like Mount Rainier National Park and Mount Baker Ski Area put exploration and adventure hand in hand.