June 27th, 2007 Greg Huntington | Special Section Stories
 

Washington State

The Canada of Oregon has it all—a Stonehenge replica, a longboarder's concrete wet dream and dark, damp underground lava caves. Vive les rocks.

     
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Mount Rainier
IMAGE: thomas cobb

Bike: Seattle's Burke Gillman Trail


Why go: Nirvana's hometown is the second-greatest cycling city in America. What to expect: Seventeen flat miles of trail follow an old railway bed from Seattle's Ballard neighborhood to the northern shores of Lake Washington. Plenty of car access and stunning views of Seattle's cityscape. For the adventuresome, a 65-mile circumnavigation of Lake Washington is available. Pack this: Water bottle, camera and hip-hugging spandex. Google it: Burke Gilman parks.

Hike: Mount Baker Fire Lookouts


Why go: Given your full-back tattoo of Kerouac, it's time you spent some time in a fire lookout. What to expect: The Mount Baker Ranger District is home to four historic lookouts with sweeping 360-degree views. Lookouts are open to the public for overnight stays on a first-come, first-served basis and are accessible after the mid-July snowmelt. Pack this: Binoculars, ultra-light edition of Desolation Angels. Google it: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest lookouts.

Spelunkin': Ape Cave


Why go: For the sheer fun of flipping on your headlamp and shouting, "Well, I'll be a monkey's spelunker!" What to expect: Nearly 2.5 miles of underground trail, Ape Cave is the longest lava tube in the U.S. Formed from Mount St. Helens' molten lava almost 2,000 years ago, the caves are a popular destination for snowshoers in the winter. Guided tours are offered throughout the summer. Pack this: A strong flashlight, warm clothes, lava-monkey repellent. Google it: Ape Cave.

Skate: Maryhill Loop


Why go: You always liked that song "Danger Zone," but couldn't afford a jet. What to expect: Two and a quarter miles of pudding-smooth pavement twisting through Klickitat County, top speeds up to 50 mph, hairpin turns that would melt the face off any longboarder. Pack this: Full-body leather suit, longboard, unquenchable thirst for speed. Google it: Silverfish longboarding Maryhill.

Wed: Maryhill Stonehenge


Why go: You've been planning a fantasy-themed wedding for months, but all the shrines in Rivendell were booked. What to expect: A life-sized replica of the original Stonehenge in England. Perched above the Columbia Gorge. Inspired by the (mistaken) idea that the original Stonehenge was a sacrificial site, the Southern Washington cement-henge was dedicated in 1918 as a memorial to soldiers "sacrificed to the god of war" in World War I. Pack this: Camera, the One Ring to rule your marriage, druid-only wedding party. Google it: Maryhill Stonehenge.

Ferry: San Juan Islands


Why go: All the romance of Titanic with none of the icebergs. What to expect: Stunning views of northern Puget Sound from the bow of the ferry as it snakes its way between rocky beaches and evergreen-studded bluffs. With 83 of the 172 islands designated as wildlife reserves, the San Juans are an ideal destination for bird-watching, cycling or kayaking among one of three resident Orca pods. Pack this: Windbreaker, binoculars, whale harness. Google it: Washington State ferries.

Hike: Dog Mountain


Why go: Weasel Mountain sounded totally unpleasant. What to expect: Sweeping panoramas of the Columbia River, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, fields of alpine wildflowers in the spring, and quiet contentment upon reaching the 2,984-foot summit. Pack this: Extra water, good walking shoes, tolerance for crowds. Google: Dog Mountain hike.

Hike: Panorama Point on Mount Rainier


Why go: You just summited all 14,411 feet of Mount Rainier and you're looking for a scenic cool-down. What to expect: As close and majestic a view of Mount Rainier as you can have without actually climbing it, the 5.3-mile loop hike to Panorama Point is a moderately difficult tour through alpine meadows and ancient scree slopes. Pack this: Warm clothes, the spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary. Google it: Mount Rainier Panorama Point.

Bike: Tiger Mountain


Why go: When it comes to riding up hills, you grind better than a 16-year-old at a homecoming dance. What to expect: Heroic climbs, stunning summit views and teeth-chattering descents through largely second-growth forest. Tiger Mountain is one of the most popular single-track biking destinations in the Northwest. The area boasts a network of three cycling-inspired trails of varying difficulties interconnected by gravel roads.Pack this: Helmet, map, extra large bandages. Google it: Bike Tiger Mountain Washington.

Swim: Dougan Falls


Why go: Put the "gal" back in Washougal and slip into that bikini that hasn't seen the sun since Spring Break Daytona. What to expect: The Washougal River cascades over 20-foot falls into deep blue pools, making Dougan an ideal spot for swimmers, sunbathers and the occasional river kayaker with a death wish. Pack this: Swim trunks, water wings. Google it: Dougan Falls, Washougal River.

Climb: Bavarian Leavenworth


Why go: Sylvester Stallone thinks he can out-climb you, and you have to go prove him wrong...again. What to expect: Once touted as the beating heart of Washington State climbing, the Leavenworth area still boasts countless discovered and undiscovered bouldering problems. Thanks to a 1965 community development makeover, the entire village of Leavenworth re-cast itself as a little slice of "Olde Vorlde Bavaria" on the eastern slopes of the Cascades. Pack this: Chalk bag, Ricola, lederhosen. Google it: Washington Climbers Coalition Leavenworth.

Hike: Rialto Beach


Why go: Wash your hiking socks in a tide pool. What to expect: This 18.5-mile trail picks its way along the Washington coast, past rocky outcroppings and hard-packed beaches (some passable only at low tide), before plunging inland through the temperate rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula. A 3.5-mile detour will take you to Cape Alava and Wedding Rocks, where you can see 500-year-old petroglyphs left by Makah whalers. For Pacific-side campsites, reservations are required. Pack this: Tidal chart, as many extra socks as you can carry before collapsing. Google it. Rialto Beach to Lake Ozette hike.

Hike: Salmo-Priest


Why go: Film an alternate ending to Grizzly Man (two hours of you charging/eating bear). What to expect: Hidden in the often overlooked northeastern corner of the state, the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area is home to a network of trails that crisscross the high-elevation ridgelines and old-growth trees of Colville National Forest. Due in part to the solitude of the 41,335-acre area, it's home to protected wildlife, including grizzlies, woodland caribou and gray wolves. Pack this: Map, good boots, armored grizzly suit. Google it: Salmo Priest Wilderness Area.
Get Out!
These Forests Ain't Virgin Anymore
Over the Edge
Doggin' It
Franken-Bike
Cycle Tour 101
Get Out 100:
Stumptown
Willamette Valley
The Coast
Great Cascades/Columbia Gorge
Central Oregon/High Desert
Oregon's Outer Edges
Washington State
 
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