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Washington Cascades

Grafted onto one of the more temperamental segments of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Washington Cascades are a rugged, spectacular mountain range capped by five potentially lethal volcanoes: Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and – fieriest of all – Mt St Helens.

Renowned for their world record–breaking precipitation and copious crevasse-covered glaciers, the highest Cascade peaks are vast stand-alone mountains that dominate almost every vista in the western state and create scrubby, almost desert-like conditions further east.

Protected within a string of overlapping wilderness areas and national parks, the mountains offer some of the most awe-inspiring backcountry adventures in the US, if you don't mind bedding down in a tent and liberally dousing yourself in bug repellent. For the less outdoor-attuned, rarefied Cascadian beauty can be glimpsed through the windows of cars, buses and trains, or enjoyed in a handful of classic 'parkitecture' lodges.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Washington Cascades.

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