10 Most Beautiful Mountains of Washington State

There are plenty of mountains in the US, but the ones in Washington stand in a league of their own. From volcanic peaks like Mount Baker to the tricky technical climbs of Forbidden Peak, Washington’s mountains are as diverse as they are numbered. Many of these mountains are not for beginners, and some of them should really only be attempted by experts with a lot of experience in hiking and rock climbing, but one thing is for certain: Every single one of the mountains on this list is staggeringly gorgeous, with a view from the top that is simply unbelievable.

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1. Mount Olympus

  • Located in: Olympic National Park
  • Height: 7,979 feet
  • Nearby City:  Port Angeles

Known For: Mount Olympus is often called the crown jewel of the Olympic mountains in Washington. The summit is rocky and snow-covered for most of the year so snow hiking knowledge is essential. The start of the trek to the summit begins just a couple of hundred feet above sea level. As the main summit trail winds up the mountain you will experience forest hiking, meadows, and then glacial hiking and snow as the elevation increases. The incline through the snow can be particularly difficult for hikers who haven’t had a lot of experience with mountain climbing.

Some of the trails at the lower elevation of the mountain can be hiked in sections or done as part of a day hike. But if you’re going to be pushing to reach the summit you’ll need to do some mountain camping. Most of the time it takes 4-5 days for hikers to get from the start of the trail to the summit, and that’s in good weather. It could take longer if the weather isn’t cooperating.

2. Mount Shuksan

  • Located in: North Cascades National Park
  • Height: 9,131 feet
  • Nearby City:  Little Glacier

Known For: This mountain is one of the most recognizable images of the mountains in Washington. It’s also just 11 miles from the Canadian border. Mount Shuksan is a mountain that offers people who aren’t expert hikers the chance for some fun in the snow and easier mountain climbs. However, that doesn’t mean that beginners can reach the summit without help. If you’re not a very skilled hiker or experienced with mountaineering techniques it’s best to have a guide take you to the summit of the mountain. The breathtaking views will be worth the challenge of getting to the top.

If you are an experienced hiker with mountaineering experience and you want to try the ascent on  your own or with friends you will need to take the trail that leads up Sulphide Glacier and from there get the trail that will take you all the way to the top of Mount Shuksan.

3. Mount Baker

  • Located in: Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Height: 10,781 feet
  • Nearby City:  Little Glacier

Known For: Like most of the Cascade Mountains in Washington Mount Baker is a volcano, although it’s a very young volcano geologically speaking. It also has the second-heaviest glacier cover. What Mount Baker is really famous for is snow. Lots of snow. Massive amount of snow. It’s one of the snowiest places in the entire world. In 1999 the Mount Baker Ski Area set a record for snowfall by receiving almost 100 feet of snow in one season.

Skiing, skating, and winter sports are the most common activities that people travel to Mount Baker for. But there are also hiking trails and intrepid hikers who have lots of experience with snow and cold-weather hiking to hike Mount Baker. Some hikers use Mount Baker as a trial run for the snow-covered mountains in Alaska. Or they use winter hiking at Mount Baker as a way to sharpen their rock climbing and extreme weather hiking skills.

4. WA Mountains: Glacier Peak

  • Located in: Glacier Peak Wilderness
  • Height: 10,541 feet
  • Nearby City:  Seattle

Known For: Glacier Peak is the most isolated of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. There are no amenities like you might find at other popular mountains. But if you do head out to Glacier Peak what you’ll find is worth the trip. If you can make it to the summit you’ll find prehistoric lava deposits and other fascinating geological finds. There are also some pretty spectacular views from the top of Glacier Peak.

 But, like the other mountains in this range getting to the top can be a challenge. Surrounding the summit are more than 30 glacial peaks, which is where the name Glacier Peak comes from. You must have experience hiking glaciers and dealing with snow and cold to make this trek.

5. Mount Fernow

  • Located in: Wenatchee National Forest
  • Height: 9,249 feet
  • Nearby City:  Lucerne

Known For: The views from the summit of Mount Fernow are extraordinary. But it will take some rock scrambling and heavy trekking to see them. Mount Fernow is one of the highest mountains in Washington and the summit is very rocky. The last bit of a climb to the summit is a rock scramble so anyone that tries to reach the summit needs to be comfortable with scrambling the last bit of the trail.

If you’re ambitious and want to get to the summit in a day you can take the Phelps Creek Trail. It will get you to the summit in a day if you keep a steady pace. But most people take a couple of days to reach the summit camping along the way. The Entiat Trail is the easiest trail to the summit and allows for a slower pace. If you want to challenge yourself and climb the ice of this glacial mountain you can test your skills on the North Face with the Holden Trail.

6. Bonanza Peak

  • Located in: Wenatchee National Forest
  • Height: 9,511 feet
  • Nearby City:  Lucerne

Known For: Bonanza Peak is a stunning mountain to see and a difficult one to climb. There are three active glaciers adjacent to this mountain and a steep incline. That means that hikers who want to try for the summit will need to have advanced mountaineering skills. They also need to be great at rock scrambling or else they won’t make it to the summit. To get near Bonanza Peak you’ll have to take a ferry to Lucerne, then hike about 13 miles from Lucerne. It’s not an easy hike and this isn’t a trek for tourists. This is an expedition that serious climbers use to challenge themselves or build up their skills so that they can take on larger mountains like those in Alaska

7. Mount Storm King

  • Located in: Olympic National Park
  • Height: 4,534 feet
  • Nearby City:  Port Angeles

Known For: Mount Storm King is one of the most challenging mountains in Washington to hike. Even though it doesn’t have the high elevation that some of the Cascade Mountains have it’s still a tough climb. Nearly the entire trail to the summit is vertical incline. In fact, to get to the summit you’ll have to pull yourself up there with a series of ropes after having completed the climb from the base. Don’t skip leg day if you want to try this hike. You’ll need strong legs to propel yourself up those last feet to the summit.

You can start the summit trail at the Storm King Ranger Station with a light walk. There is a side trail that goes to the Marymere Falls. It’s about a mile loop and it’s a great warmup before you try the ascent to the summit. The first two miles of the trail aren’t that difficult, but the last three miles of the summit trail are almost straight incline. You will be climbing and rock scrambling almost the entire way. If you can make it to the summit you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of Crescent Lake below.

8. Mount Adams

  • Located in: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • Height: 12,280 feet
  • Nearby City: Yakima

Known For: Most of Mount Adams sits in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but some of it is on the Yakima Indian Reservation. Mount Adams is one of the older mountains in the Cascade Mountains. It’s estimated that volcanic activity began on Mount Adams more than 900,000 years ago.

Mount Adams and the protected land around it is an outdoor lover’s dream. Visitors can hike, camp, bike, run the trails, ride  4-wheelers and ATVs, ride horses and camp with horses, swim, kayak, fish, and much more. If you are brave enough to try and hike to the summit of Mount Adams you can try the Mount Adams South Climb trail. It’s a challenging trail that you must be at least an intermediate hiker to take on. But the views from the summit, after you complete this 13-mile trek, will amaze you.

9. Luna Peak

  • Located in: North Cascades National Park
  • Height: 8,311 feet
  • Nearby City: North Cascades

Although the view from atop any mountain tends to be beautiful, with sweeping panoramas of jagged landscapes far below, many consider the view from the summit of Luna Peak to be the best view in the state of Washington. Located within North Cascades National Park, Luna Peak is rugged and remote, a true reminder of the vast wilderness that lurks just beyond the reaches of human civilization.

The summit offers views of lakes, forests, and mountains for miles, and the hike to the top reaches Class 2 or 3 at its most difficult.

10. Dragontail Peak

  • Located in:
  • Height: 8,840 feet
  • Nearby City: Chelan County

Dragontail Peak was named for the sharp, thin ridges of rock that extend along the southwest ridge of the mountain. The number of routes to the top of Dragontail Peak is staggering and huge, with such a variety of routes that an amateur could scramble to the top and a seasoned mountaineer could still encounter routes and cliffs they would find challenging. The approaches come from either Colchuck Lake or Snow Lake, with stunning views both from the base at these lakes and from the top of the mountain as well.

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