The State of Washington is home to an abundance of natural wonders, owing much to its amazingly diverse climate and spectacular geography left behind by the Ice Age. Washington’s striking natural beauty lies within its active volcanic peaks, alpine slopes, lush rainforests, and even flushed canyons and desert plains.

    Head out of Seattle on a road trip to see some really spectacular sights. Bring along your camera and quench your thirst for adventure through the abundance of hiking and wilderness trails. Camp the night to even better take in the best natural wonders in Washington State. Some of these sites are state icons – another good reason to tick them off your bucket list.

    1

    Hoh Rain Forest

    Journey through an emerald expanse of the Olympic Peninsula

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    Hoh Rain Forest is the green jewel of the Olympic National Park, where you can hike through a protected forest. Wander through dense mossy halls among towering conifers and alongside the namesake river, or better still, picnic or camp in the forest to take in all that one of the best natural wonders in Washington has to offer.

    Hoh Rain Forest is a great place to spot a rich variety of birds, from pheasants, kites, goshawks and swifts to small and beautiful hummingbirds. Hoh’s lushness comes from the high precipitation levels it receives between October and June – it’s best to experience it in all its glory outside this period.

    Lokasi: Olympic National Park, 18113 Upper Hoh Rd, Forks, WA 98331, USA

    Telepon: +1 360-374-6925

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    2

    Goat Rocks Wilderness

    Choose your hike through the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range

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    Goat Rocks Wilderness offers hikers a variety of scenic trails to take on for a great day out on the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range. There are over a dozen hiking trails to choose from, many of which take you around or across an extinct volcano between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.

    Millions of years of glaciation and erosion made way for beautiful alpine meadows that stretch between both sides of the crest. The best time for an adventure in Goat Rocks is between August and October, depending on snow levels. Thanks to the high altitude and low temperatures, the snow here only begins to melt in late July, revealing scenic ponds and alpine pastures to enjoy in summer.

    Lokasi: Randle, WA 98377, USA

    Telepon: +1 360-891-5000

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    3

    Ape Caves

    Explore one of the longest lave tubes in North America

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    Ape Caves is an intriguingly named lava tube that tunnels for over 2 miles through Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The cave is good for various skill levels, from families with kids who can enjoy a short, paved trail, to the spelunker-at-heart who can take on the 1.5-mile-long upper cave route, which includes a climb up an 8-ft rock wall.

    The origin of the name? The cave system was named after the St. Helens Apes scout troop that sponsored the interpretive site. The tube was formed during the Mount St. Helens’ highly eruptive years. You can admire the beauty of the still-active stratovolcano before or after your cave adventures.

    Lokasi: FR-8303, Cougar, WA 98616, USA

    Telepon: +1 360-891-5000

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    4

    Dry Falls

    Discover panoramic precipices that open to picture-postcard lakes

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    Dry Falls is one of Washington State’s most breathtaking geological wonders. Long before it dried up to reveal its current tapestry of lakes,  massive ice-age glaciers melted over centuries with the waters of Lake Missoula flooding into the area. The beautiful 3.5-mile-wide canyon was once the world’s biggest waterfall.

    This Grand Canyon-like site is best viewed from the Dry Falls Heritage Area in Sun Lakes State Park, Coulee City. You can also take in another impressive view of the Grand Coulee Dam as it flows into Dry Falls, about an hours’ drive further north.

    Lokasi: WA 99115, USA

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    5

    Palouse Falls

    The pretty and iconic waterfall of Washington State

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    Palouse Falls is like an oasis within the dry Washington wasteland; a glorious 200-ft waterfall that drops into the winding Palouse River gorge. Getting to the falls requires a pretty tucked-away trek, with clearly marked paths that steer you away from some perilous cliffs. Once conquered, the trail leads you to the truly rewarding sight.

    A leftover from the Ice Age, the upper course of Palouse River flows over the falls and into a picturesque crater-like pool that’s surrounded by the tall canyon walls. Get your camera ready to capture the sheer beauty of the falls from several available viewpoints around the pool but always stick to designated paths.

    Lokasi: Palouse Falls State Park, WA 99143, USA

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    6

    Mount St. Helens

    Sheer natural beauty with a deadly past

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    Mount St. Helens continuously draws hikers, mountain climbers and photographers with its magnificent beauty, which eclipses its violent and destructive past. The still-active stratovolcano erupted in May 1980, claiming the life of Harry R. Truman, owner/caretaker of Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake.

    Non-climbers can learn a lot about the mountain, ecosystems, and volcanology in general at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center through displays, models and a theatre. You can take in the beautiful views of the forest and western slope of this Washington State icon from the visitor centre’s vantage point.

    Lokasi: Seaquest State Park, 3029 Spirit Lake Hwy, Castle Rock, WA 98611, USA

    Telepon: +1 360-274-7750

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    7

    The Enchantments

    Conquer the mountain trails to claim your scenic rewards

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    The Enchantments is a set of trails reserved for serious hikers that lead you through a magnificent alpine haven near Leavenworth, Washington. There are 3 main trails that you can conquer, the shortest covering at least 7 miles. Among the rewards, besides the rugged mountain views, are the series of lakes, including the largest – Isolation Lake.

    The wilderness is best experienced between July and October, with an overnight hike to better take in most of the surrounding beauty. Overnight permits come with a price and are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, though. Day-use permits are free of charge.

    Lokasi: Leavenworth, WA 98826, USA

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    8

    Columbia River Gorge

    Discover the Washington side of the Columbia River

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    The Columbia River separates Oregon and Washington, and although most of the well-known highlights are on the Oregon side, Washington’s side has its own set of natural wonders.

    Top sights along this 80-mile-long and 4,000-ft-deep gorge include the 848-ft-tall basalt monolith known as Beacon Rock, the scenic Dog Mountain trail with its lake views and stunning wildflower-covered slopes, the scenic peak of Table Mountain, and the wildlife-rich Steigerwald Lake refuge. Stop by the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson to learn more about the history and features of this stunning canyon.

    Lokasi: Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, 990 SW Rock Creek Dr, Stevenson, WA 98648, USA

    Buka: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Telepon: +1 509-427-8211

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    9

    North Cascades National Park

    Dramatic mountains and lakes 3 hours from Seattle

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    Escape to the North Cascades National Park for a good dose of adventure in Washington's great outdoors. Here, you're treated to a host of thrills such as hiking through a variety of backcountry routes, mountain skiing, camping and backpacking, and fun paddling out on the lakes.

    It takes less than 3 hours to reach North Cascades from Seattle. The best time to set out on the alpine trails is between the dry months of June and September. This period is right after the sleet and snow have melted away to reveal the clear views of the Mount Baker, Shuksan and Sahale peaks, as well as the striking colours of lakes Baker, Diablo, and Ross.

    Lokasi: Rockport, WA 98283, USA

    Telepon: +1 360-854-7200

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    foto dari Jeffhollett (CC BY-SA 4.0) dimodifikasi

    10

    Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

    Discover the home of Washington’s unusual state gem

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    The Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is a rare forest with over 7,000 acres of fossilised Ginkgo trees, which have made way to petrified wood being Washington’s official state gem. Head down to Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center for deep insights into the diverse types of hard, glistening petrified wood coming from the forest.

    Along Columbia River and out on the open road of the historic Old Vantage Highway, you can take in the great views with occasional wildlife spottings of golden eagles and elks. Want to spend the night in this great wilderness? That’s possible at Wanapum Recreation Area, where you can set up camp by a lake of the same name.

    Lokasi: Wanapum Recreation Area, 4511 Huntzinger Rd, Vantage, WA 98950, USA

    Telepon: +1 509-856-2700

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    11

    Mount Rainier

    The highest mountain of the Cascade Range

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    Mount Rainier is about 130 km away from Seattle and is an impressive peak of 4,392 metres that can be seen from many vantage points around the state. If you’re in Seattle, try to find a spot along the shores of Lake Washington for the best views of the mountain, including Madrona Park Beach or the dock at Mount Baker Beach Park.

    Head up to Tumwater Hill near downtown Olympia for fabulous views of South Puget Sound and Mount Rainier. For a closer look, hike along the trails in Mount Rainier State Park where wildflower-strewn meadows and old-growth forests offer more beautiful sights to brighten up your Instagram page along with the mountain scenery.

    Lokasi: Mount Rainier, Washington 98304, USA

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    12

    Orca whales in Puget Sound

    You might also see humpbacks, minke whales and bottlenose dolphins

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    Puget Sound in Washington's north coast is one of the best areas in the world to enjoy an up-close (but not too close!) encounter with these killer whales on a whale-watching tour. It's a thrilling experience for anyone to capture the moment when the sleek black body of an orca whale breaches the glassy surface of the water. 

    Orcas can be seen year-round but the best time of year is from mid-May to mid-October. You can book whale-watching tours from several operators along the Washington coast including Seattle, Port Townsend, Anacortes and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. 

    Lokasi: Puget Sound Lowlands, Washington, USA

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    13

    Snoqualmie Falls

    A cascade of mists and legends

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    One of the most photogenic waterfalls in the state, Snoqualmie Falls is found about 45 km east of Seattle. Tumbling over the cliff at a height of more than 80 metres, the falls are best viewed from the park’s observation deck. You could also take the short trail that leads to a point near the base of the falls for a different angle.

    The falls are part of a sacred site for the earlier inhabitants of the area, the Snoqualmie Tribe, who believe that prayers are carried between heaven and earth by the fall’s mist.  

    Lokasi: Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie, WA 98024, USA

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    14

    Chelan, WA

    A quiet town on the edge of a tranquil lake

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    Lake Chelan is a secluded nature spot in Washington popular with hikers and anyone looking for a restful few days away from the big city. Measuring 55 miles long, the lake's dimensions are hemmed in on both sides by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest mountain range. The bracing glacial run-off from the mountains feeds into the Chelan River.

    A highlight of a trip to Chelan is the Lady of the Lake boat trip that visits the Rainbow Falls – 321 ft of stunning natural beauty, fed by over 100 glaciers. With over 30 wineries in the region, an afternoon of wine tasting is a popular activity for couples.

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    Ari Gunadi | Traveler Kompulsif

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