Unique Places in Washington State

  • View from Viewpoint
    View from Viewpoint
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  • Tacoma Dome and old Union Station (now courthouse)
    Tacoma Dome and old Union Station (now...
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  • huge driftwood along Puget Sound at Chambers Bay
    huge driftwood along Puget Sound at...
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Washington State

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Mount Pilchuck Hike

    by GuthrieColin Updated Dec 8, 2007

    Mount Pilchuck is a 6 mile roundtrip hike to the top in a slightly steep trail ending at 5324 feet (1622 m) in elevation. It will take around 3 hours and gain 2,166 feet (660 m). It is fairly heavily used so expect to pass several people.
    You will be given great views at the top though. Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer and the entire Cascade Range can be seen from the observation tower. Also along the hike you will see several large second growth trees.

    Directions: Take Hwy 2 east. Take SR 92 through Granite Falls. Turn Left at three way and go a few miles for a sign for Mt Pilchuck. Follow to parking lot.

    Website: www.localhikes.com

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Riverside State Park

    by Astrobuck Written Oct 5, 2007

    One of the most beautiful state parks. Riverside has many hiking trails, gorgeous scenery, and even a swinging bridge. The trails are not very difficult, and can be accessed easily.

    Located northwest of Spokane, Wash., on the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers.

    Swinging Bridge
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Washington State Park Trails

    by Astrobuck Updated Oct 5, 2007

    Washington has many state parks, but one of the few states I have found where the state parks are actually free. Although the web site states certain fees for camping, etc, we never paid a daily use fee.

    Like Colorado, some of the most gorgeous scenery can be seen when you hike the park trails.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

    by Carmanah Updated Nov 24, 2006

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    When I was 12 years old, my family took a summer vacation along the Olympic Peninsula to see Port Townsend and Port Angeles. In between the two locations on the coast is Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge - a protected ecosystem along the Dungeness sand spit. We briefly visited this site on our way to Port Angeles. I don't recall spending more than one hour here. I do, however, remember walking from the parking lot through the groves of temperate rainforest down to the beach. The trees were very, very tall!

    The Dungeness spit itself extends 5 miles out into the Juan de Fuca Strait, with its sands carved into the long irregular pattern by the winds. It's home to many species of animals and plants that thrive along estuary ecosystems. Once we got down to the water, we noticed it was somewhat foggy. The spit itself is made of sand and cobble, and there aren't any paved trails, so be prepared with the appropriate footgear if you're going for a walk. Surrounding the spit are large tidal flats - prime wildlife habitat.

    If you're interested in unique geological features such as sand spits, or if you estuary ecosystems and wildlife refuges, then visit the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. You don't need a full day to explore the area - a few hours will do.

    My mom and I at the misty Dungeness Spit
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island

    by Carmanah Updated Nov 24, 2006

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    Apparently Fort Ebey used to be a coastal defence fort during World War II, but has since been turned into a state park for recreational use. My family stumbled across this park by accident back in 1998. I think we were simply driving down the main highway on Whidbey Island when we saw the turnoff for the park. Being curious, we had to check it out!

    According to the website, Fort Ebey State Park is a 645 acre "camping park", which means, obviously, you can camp here. It's located two miles south of the town of Coupeville, on the west coast of Whidbey Island and makes a good stop-off point if you were taking a scenic route along the coast. While I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to visit, if you're already on Whidbey Island, and thus already off the beaten path, it's worth a stop. It would probably make for a great picnic location!

    My dad at Fort Ebey State Park Me, my sister and my mom
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

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  • EdinburghRoc's Profile Photo

    Gosh it's B I G.

    by EdinburghRoc Updated May 6, 2006

    Go see / visit the Grand Coolie Dam it's Awesome !

    This is where I met my first real americans The Indians or first peoples or first nations.

    Inside the Grand Coolie Dam is like being in a James Bond film site ITS THAT BIG.

    And is FREE.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • Sunshine64's Profile Photo

    Wind River Cellars

    by Sunshine64 Updated Jan 20, 2006

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    Wind River Cellars is located on the Columbia Gorge. The location is spectacular (they have weddings there), and the wine is good, too. They produce about 2500-3000 cases per year.

    We visited after rafting the White Salmon river nearby, and tasted their wine and ate our pre-arranged lunch on their patio. The owners, Joel and Kris, are fun and friendly and full of good information.

    Joel, the owner
    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting

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    Hiking at Alpental

    by Sunshine64 Updated Jan 18, 2006

    Alpental is known for skiing, but there are some great trails you can hike in the summer.

    I hiked here in late June 2002, and the first mile & 1/2 of the trail was clear. Beyond that there was still so much snow that we couldn't follow the trail and, after tromping around in our shorts in the snow for a while, finally gave up and turned around. Because the snow had started to melt, there were beautiful waterfalls and little streams to cross. It's a great little adventure!

    Alpental in June
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • blind30's Profile Photo

    East of Mt. Rainer. And South of there....

    by blind30 Written Sep 18, 2005

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    I'm not particularly good at giving out secrets, or off the beaten path directions, their not for everyone. I took a chance by going to Packwood Washington, figureing it may be a bit off the beaten track, south and east of Mt. Rainer, and North and East of Mt. St. Helens. Guess I was right. An extremely convenent location to both. Packwood has its own charm, and its behind, instead of in front of the crowds.
    If you like star watching, and trails available on a whim, this is the area to base from, day-hikes, night-hikes, backpacking, or riding the ridges. From here all is available.
    Check it out..........

    Great lighting for a early start...... Modern Plumbing........ Road side maintance.......
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Camping

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  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    Family Rest Stop: Shelton

    by Jonathan_C Written Jan 23, 2005

    After visiting Southwest Washington (e.g. Long Beach, Willapa Bay, Ocean Shores etc.) you may choose to avoid the congestion of I-5 and take the back roads back to Seattle. This will mean traveling through Montesano and Shelton to get to the Bremerton ferry. For kids, unfortunately, this can be just as boring as highway driving. Luckily, you will find another Leathers playground in Shelton. You can see it just as you enter town from the south. It's located on Turner Avenue and an extended break here will put everyone in a better mood for the last hour or so of driving.

    Leathers playground, Shelton
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    • Road Trip

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  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    Family Rest Stop: Centralia -- Riverside Park

    by Jonathan_C Written Jan 23, 2005

    If you're driving South from Seattle toward Portland or the coastal beaches near the mouth of the Columbia you can break your trip in half with a stop at Riverside Park just a few blocks off the highway in Centralia. Here you'll find bathrooms, picnic tables, play equipment, ball fields, wadable access to the Skookumchuck river and the largest free skate park in the Northwest. What more do I need to say?

    For food you should drop by the local BurgerVille at 818 Harrison on your way back to the highway. I'm not much on fast food joints but these guys use Oregon Country Beef and have seasonal huckleberry shakes. Now that's my kind of fast food!

    Directions:
    Take the Harrison exit off of I-5 and head east into town. Take the second street on your left, just after Bugerville, to get to Riverside Park.

    Riverside Park, Centralia
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • tahoesasha's Profile Photo

    Look up at the sidewalk

    by tahoesasha Updated Nov 23, 2004

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    The Seattle Underground Tour examines the colorful history of Seattle's development, destruction by fire and re-building. Combines comedy, architecture, history, culture and a gift shop. This is more of a must see than an off the beaten path, but since you're entering condemned buildings and hearing stories about rats and prostitutes, some might not take a fancy . But if I had kids I bet they'd love it, and it also is a rare example of actual living history.

    Related to:
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    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

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  • skootter01's Profile Photo

    Great view of Wanapum Dam

    by skootter01 Written Aug 22, 2004

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    This isn't really a destination, it's more of a stop along the way. If you find yourself following the Columbia River on Highway 243 S., you'll come upon the Wanapum Dam. There is a small, unmarked turn leading to the hills above the dam with this great viewpoint.

    Dam it!
    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    Natural Waterslide

    by Jonathan_C Updated Aug 13, 2004

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    The Denny Creek waterslide is an absolute gem that those of us who live here treasure. The one mile, 550' elevation gain trail takes you into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and is just long enough to work up a sweat after which the cold water is a treat. If you have kids -- good luck getting them to leave before the sun goes down! Bring a book and bask on the rocks while they play until they're numb. If you don't have kids, or can leave them with one parent, take a hike up the creek to see one incredibly beautiful waterfall after the next. This is why we live here!

    Notes:
    Northwest Forest Pass required for parking. Sign in at the trailhead. (Be safe -- water play is not advised until July after the spring runoff has calmed down. Check the website below for nearby streamflow. I'd recommend visiting at or below 100 cfs.)

    Directions:
    From Seattle take I90 to Exit 47 (Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek) then turn left and cross the overpass. Turn right on road #58, pass the Denny Creek campground and then turn left on Road #5830 and follow it to the end. Allow one hour.

    Denny Creek water slide
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    Swimming Hole: Shoofly

    by Jonathan_C Updated Aug 13, 2004

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    On those rare days when it gets too hot in Seattle you can always go to beaches on Lake Washington or the Sound to cool off. But there's always something special about moving water. And it's especially special when you find a spot in a river with a real "swimmin hole". My ideal swimming hole would have a beach, smooth rocks, pools, rapids, cliffs and a rope swing but perhaps that's asking for too much.

    'Shoofly' on the S. Fork Stillaguamish is a bend in the river that has rocks, pools, rapids and a gravel beach along with an Osprey nest up above. You can lounge in the deep, still pool or play in the rapids, finding just the right spot to settle into a cool water jacuzzi. (Be safe -- this river is quite dangerous except at low water. Check the river stage at the website below. We went when the gage height was 3.5.)

    Notes:
    This isn't a spot for small children. I'd recommend 100lbs or excellent swimming skills before bringing a kid here.

    Directions:
    From Seattle, take I-5 N to Everett and then take 2, 204, 9 and 92, zigzagging your way up to Granite Falls. Follow the Mt. Loop Highway just past Wiley Creek campground to a section of road with a 20 mph speed limit. You'll see the spot as you round a bend in the road. Park just upstream of the bend. Allow 90 minutes.

    swimmin' in the Stilly
    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Budget Travel

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Washington State Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Washington State off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Washington State sightseeing.
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