Description - Washington state is comprised of nine regions. These regions include the Coast, Islands, Palouse, North Cascades, Columbia River Plateau, Ponderosa Pine Country, Wine Country, Volcano, and Olympic & Kitsap Country.
- Washington is teeming with natural attractions. The state is split into eastern and western regions by the Cascade Mountain Range. Most of this range is preserved as National Forests, Parks and Recreation Areas. The northern portion of the range includes Cascades National Park, which contains 300 glaciers. The Pacific Crest Trail leads along the length of the Cascades from the northern to the southern border of the state. The southern portion of the range contains Mount Rainier National Park, with the namesake mountain rising 14,410 feet.
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.
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 with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
Washington is comprised of ten regions. Driving instructions and maps are available on the individual pages.