other massive chain of
from the Ring of Fire, the molten rainbow-shaped arc along the edges that
contains 75 percent of all active volcanoes.
Ease into the alpine experience at Snoqualmie Falls,
a 268-foot cataract a half-hour drive east of Seattle.
free to park and visit the observation platform, but splurgers may want to
pop into the adjacent Salish Lodge (which may appear familiar from its cameo
in the original Twin Peaks hit TV series).
The highlight remains Mount Rainier National Park, anchored by
its eponymous 14,410-foot volcano: the most glaciated peak
in the Lower 48. The gleaming snow cone often appears to
loom over Seattle, though actually
65 miles southeast of the city.
Companies such as International
Mountain Guides can help alpinists summit this iconic landmark. It
requires months of training, not to
mention a serious cash outlay on gear,
ranging from lightweight titanium
sporks to potentially life-saving ice
axes. Yet even with excellent preparation, more than half
of i mb er
reach the peak due to
fatigue, injuries and
other curve balls.
Get a taste of the
high country with a
9-mile round-trip day
hike from the Paradise Jackson Visitor
Center (5,400 feet) to
Camp Muir (10,100 this,
the park requires climbing permits).
More easygoing trekkers can explore
the wildflower meadows near the 1916
Paradise for inexperienced folks, as are day tours from
outfitters such as Evergreen Escapes.
Come winter, this valley becomes a
hot spot for sledding and snowshoeing. Hardy types even can build igloos
and hollow out snow caves when the
drifts grow deep enough (typically
December through April).
For more classic resort comforts,
turn to Crystal Mountain, 12 miles
northeast of Rainier. The first
ski gondola can reveal views all the
way to Mount St. Helens. At 6,872 feet,
such as bison chili, Asiago linguini and
lemongrass-gin cocktails. An outdoor
area includes a for summertime travelers accompanied by their
Finally, get off the beaten
and the road network
Stehekin, a mountain community
accessible only by boat, plane or foot.
Rent a bike or kayak to view pioneer
ruins and spot pictographs along the
shore. What better ways to explore
the headwaters of Chelan,