- Washington is teeming with natural attractions. The state is split into eastern and western regions by the Cascade Mountain Range. West of the mountains lies the coastal area of Washington, which includes the largest city in the state, Seattle. Olympic National Park lies in this region on the Olympic Peninsula. The park preserves most of the Olympic Mountains, which harbor 60 glaciers and many miles of 60 miles of wild and scenic ocean beaches. Other attractions in this region are the San Juan Islands and extensive waterways used for recreation.
Copyright: National Park Service
Mount Rainier National Park
The eastern slope of the state includes the headwaters of the Columbia river, which leads southward to form the border with Oregon. A few smaller mountain ranges dot the northern and southern areas of western Washington, with the Columbia Basin claiming most of the area. This region lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains. The northwest corner of the state contains Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. The lake extends 150 miles and was created by the Grand Coulee Dam.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities in Washington state will please the skilled mountaineer and the novice hiker. Experienced individuals looking for a challenging climb can attempt to summit Mount Rainier. The National Forests that line the Cascades provide endless outdoor opportunities. Lake Roosevelt, in the east, will satisfy the desires of boaters, anglers, water skiers and sailors.
Climate - Washington's climate varies greatly between regions and with changing elevation. The Cascade Range splits the state and alters weather patterns. Climate at lower elevations west of the Cascades is generally temperate due to the coastal influence, with extreme temperatures rare. The Cascades and Western Washington receive high amounts of precipitation, consisting of mostly rain at the lower elevations but heavy winter snow at the higher elevations. The peaks of the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains remain snow covered throughout the year.
Averaging only about 12 inches of precipitation annually, Eastern Washington is significantly drier than Western Washington. Eastern Washington also experiences much greater temperature extremes with summer temperatures often reaching 90 degrees F at the lower elevations and winter temperatures commonly dropping well below freezing.
Washington State is located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.