"High Desert and Heavy Rain: depends on where" Washington State by glabah
Washington State Travel Guide: 7,557 reviews and 20,459 photos
When you ask someone who doesn't know about the northwest about the State of Washington, it is very likely you will hear something about all the rain that the state gets.
The truth of the matter is that over half the state is high desert and struggles with getting enough water. It all depends on where you are.
The photo above was taken on the Columbia River close to Maryhill, and should illustrate the eastern Washington fairly well. No, Washington is NOT a wet state where it rains all the time. Only the western 1/3 of the state really deserves that reputation.
Though, I will admit that I have spent most of my Washington visits in the western part of the state, which probably deserves the reputation of having a lot of rain - though even there the even more coastal region gets more rain than the populated area along Interstate 5 further inland - especially on the rain-trap side of the Olympic Mountains.
Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Olympic National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
For the benefit of those who were expecting to see a photo with dark, gloomy rain when taking a look at a page about Washington, I have provided this photo of a Washington State Ferry in August of 2009. Yes, this is what summer in Puget Sound can look like some of the time (but not always).
Items of Interest along Interstate 5:
There are a lot of people on the forums that ask about what to do that is near Interstate 5, as they drive from California to Vancouver BC or Seattle. Here are two suggestions:
The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a Native American house located in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Ridgefield
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington is the site of an old Hudson's Bay Company fort, which was the oldest English speaking community in the west.
A very large number of people that ask questions about Seattle and Interstate 5 ask about driving from Seattle south and then to the coast, or from Seattle southward to Portland, or other routes going south. Therefore, I have written two tips that may be of help to you:
from Interstate 5 from Seattle is really not that pleasant a tourist trip if you are just on the road. The scenery isn't that great and the traffic can be terrible. Therefore, I also have Suggested Alternatives to Interstate 5 Going South Including the Coastal Routes and routes to the coast.
Seattle is very much a tourist destination, and even though certain people insist that it always rains there, the reality is quite far from the truth. Certainly there are days like the ones in the previous photo, but even with that dismal gray sky, the fact is that by noon there were a few clouds and most of the sky was blue. This photo, taken from the Water Tower Observation Deck in Volunteer Park, was taken the day before the one above.
Seattle has a fair number of museums. There is of course the Seattle Art Museum (which has two buildings: the main Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Asian American Art Museum, plus it owns Olympic Sculpture Park), but there is also the much lesser known Frye Art Museum, as well as an art museum built into the University of Washington campus. Museums also include the Pacific Science Center, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, the Museum of Flight, and many others.
Tacoma is part of the greater Seattle area (Puget Sound region) and includes a few museums as well, and the Museum of Glass is probably the most well known of these. There are also a number of attractions in Point Defiance Park, including a zoo and Fort Nisqually.
However, I almost always get tired of big cities after a while, and therefore it is nice to be able to just get onto a ferry and within an hour be in a much smaller city, such as Bremerton or go even further to Poulsbo or even Port Townsend.
Snoqualmie Falls is spectacular, but there isn't that much to do right at the falls. The nearby community of Snoqualmie has an interesting downtown area though, and some trails. This area is an easy bus ride or drive from downtown Seattle.
However, I highly suggest visiting some of the rural areas outside the Puget Sound region. As shown in that photo at the top of this page, there is a lot to Washington other than the stereotypical Seattle wet and green climate.
- Pros:Lots of Variety. If you find it interesting, you can find it if you look hard enough. Many areas, even small cities, have acceptable public transit access (not great but at least usable). Spectacular scenery in places.
- Cons:Wet temperate climates in west or dry and cold climates in the east: no intermediate climate zones. Many state parks close in October. Fast growth rate in Seattle and all over state creating traffic troubles and converting scenic areas to concrete.
- In a nutshell:Visit now before things get even more crowded.
Other states have bays, inlets and assorted other inland waterways. Washington, however, has Puget Sound, which is an... more travel advice
Due to the sheer number of communities through which this trail passes, it is difficult for me to cover much of it here.... more travel advice
glabah's Related Pages
Washington State Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Washington, the Northwestern Corner of the US"
- "America the Beautiful"
- "Washington State: Terrainius Maximus"
- "WASHINGTON STATE"
- "High Desert and Heavy Rain: depends on where"
- "marko727's new Washington Page"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Washington State
- Hotels in Washington State
- Transportation in Washington State
- Nightlife in Washington State
- Restaurants in Washington State
- Shopping in Washington State
- Warnings and Dangers in Washington State
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Washington State
- 1,256 Reviews
- 5,733 Photos
- 308 Forum posts
- 145 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (38)
Have you been to Washington State?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Washington State
- Posted in Miscellaneous Forum "Re: Page Turner"
- Uploaded a Photo to "From Seattle Southward Part II: Interstate 5 Route"
- Wrote a Review Puget Sound; Washington's Unique Inland Maze in Washington State Things to Do
- updated a Washington State Travelogue "Various Scenery from the Train, Portland - Seattle"
- Commented on one of mtncorg's Washington State travel pages
Videos in Washington StateSee All Videos (41)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Seattle Intro, 158 reviews, 783 photos, 15 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Portland Intro, 156 reviews, 651 photos, 7 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Tacoma Intro, 86 reviews, 376 photos, 2 travelogues
- Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Intro, 26 reviews, 328 photos, 28 travelogues
- Victoria Intro, 73 reviews, 237 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Port Townsend Intro, 58 reviews, 218 photos, 2 travelogues
- William Finley National Wildlife Refuge Intro, 25 reviews, 208 photos, 12 travelogues
- Washougal Intro, 20 reviews, 201 photos, 15 travelogues
- Magnolia Bluff Intro, 37 reviews, 159 photos, 3 travelogues
- Friday Harbor Intro, 45 reviews, 139 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (44)
Top Washington State hotels
- Seattle Hotels
- 3133 Reviews - 7620 Photos
- Spokane Hotels
- 147 Reviews - 229 Photos
- Leavenworth Hotels
- 135 Reviews - 360 Photos
- Ocean Shores Hotels
- 30 Reviews - 84 Photos
- Bellevue Hotels
- 30 Reviews - 60 Photos
- Kennewick Hotels
- 4 Reviews - 6 Photos
- Anacortes Hotels
- 34 Reviews - 100 Photos
- Tacoma Hotels
- 178 Reviews - 602 Photos
- Federal Way Hotels
- 13 Reviews - 30 Photos
- Centralia Hotels
- 27 Reviews - 73 Photos
- Issaquah Hotels
- 12 Reviews - 24 Photos
- Port Angeles Hotels
- 32 Reviews - 76 Photos
- Bremerton Hotels
- 52 Reviews - 150 Photos
- Olympic National Park Hotels
- 296 Reviews - 763 Photos
- Port Orchard Hotels
- 24 Reviews - 66 Photos