Cascade Mountain Range - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Cascade Mountain Range

Cascade Mountain Range

The Cascade Mountain Range (known locally as the Cascades) are a breathtaking range of peaks that extend from the northern tip of California into southern British Columbia. The mountains are a veritable paradise for outdoor sports like hiking, rock climbing, skiing, camping, boating and canoeing, and many others.

The tallest peak in the Cascades is Mount Rainier, which stretches up 14,411 (4,392m) feet above sea level. While climbing Mount Rainier is considered very difficult, the peak offers other activities and is one of the most-photographed mountains in the US. Mount Adams is another peak that is intimidating to novice climbers.

The most famous peak in the Cascades, however, is Mount St Helens, an active volcano that famously erupted in 1980, killing 57 people. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument explores the event.

Only a few hours' drive from Seattle, the Cascades are a wonderful place to relax and enjoy nature on any Washington holiday. The pristine wilderness and abundant animal life will rejuvenate anyone who needs to escape the city.

Information & Facts

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

One of the oldest national parks in the United States, Mount Rainier National Park was founded in 1899 to preserve the lofty volcano, Mount Rainier, known to the Native Americans as Tahoma. The snow-capped peak is visible from Seattle, 90 miles (145km) away and dominates the region, drawing thousands of climbers every year to dare the dangerous ascent to its summit. The rest of the park is a beautiful wilderness containing glaciers, rivers, deep forests, lush alpine meadows and over 240 miles (380km) of maintained trails.

One Sunday morning in May 1980, Mount St Helens, one of the snow-covered peaks of the Cascades Mountains, lying about 168 miles (271km) south of Seattle, erupted, causing a massive landslide and devastating a vast area of forest. The volcano continued erupting intermittently for six years. Today the area is being preserved as the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, being left to revive naturally from the experience while scientists continue to monitor the volcano and the environment of the surrounding landscape. The Monument has become a fascinating tourist attraction equipped with numerous viewpoints and miles of trails enabling it to be explored by car or on foot. Forest Interpreters host visitors during the summer months, organising activities like walks and amphitheatre presentations, while in winter the mountain slopes provide cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Climbers take on the journey to the crater rim and five visitor centres operate on State Road 504 on the west side of the mountain providing information about the volcano and the environment. A gift shop at the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center offers hand-crafted items made from Mount St. Helens ash.

About an hour's drive into the Cascades Mountains east of Seattle is the resort of Snoqualmie Falls, where the Salish Lodge and Spa is famous for having been the setting for many scenes from the hugely popular television series, Twin Peaks. The dramatic falls plunge 270 feet (82m) down a precipice into a pool of deep blue water, close to the town of North Bend. The world's first underground electric generator still operates behind the falls. There are several hiking trails in the area and picnic sites with a view of the waterfall. Snoqualmie also boasts four ski slopes: Alpental, Snoqualmie Summit, Ski Acres and Hyak. In the town of Snoqualmie is the Northwest Railway Museum and the historic Snoqualmie Valley Railroad, which runs steam train trips to North Bend between May and October.

High on the cliffs above the Colombia River, The Gorge is one of the best music venues in the country. A natural ravine coalesces at a cliff edge where a large stage hosts the biggest acts on tour in the Northwest. The 20,000-seat venue is privy to both the stunning view and sound quality resulting from the natural theatre-like setting. Visitors usually spend the night at Gorge campground in front of the venue. Here, all manners of cars, campers, RVs or simple tents are scattered across for an often rowdy night of celebration. Vehicles are charged $40 for access and individual campers an extra $10. The Gorge is in George, Washington, an easy three hour drive east from Seattle on the I-90 highway. There is very limited motel accommodation nearby and the isolated nature of the area means it's better to pack your own. The venue is the host of the annual Sasquatch Festival each May.

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