A Tale of Two Washingtons

Tucked into the northwest collar of the U.S., Washington State is saturated in natural beauty, both lush and desert-dry. It’s like two states in one. Both are defined by water or the lack of it.

The Cascade Mountain Range separates the state into two distinct climates: cool and wet on the west near the coast; hot and dry on the east near Idaho.

Jefferson Lake in Washington’s Olympic National Park.

If you love sunshine and scorching summers, then Spokane, Pasco, or Moses Lake are for you. If you sunburn easily and prefer cool, wet weather, then you’ll love Seattle, Olympia, Puget Sound, or the state’s crown jewel: the lush, verdant Olympic Peninsula. Here, lakes, rivers, and water reign supreme.

Lake Crescent.

Lake Cushman

One of the peninsula’s crown jewels is Lake Cushman (above).

Nestled along the eastern elbow of the Olympic Peninsula off Hoodsport, Lake Cushman is a 4,010-acre lake and reservoir on the north fork of the Skokomish River in Mason County. It offers great recreational opps including picnicking and camping. Also some of the most challenging mountain hikes in the region.

Like: You don’t have to be part mountain goat to navigate the trails to Wagonwheel Lake or Mounts Rose and Ellinor. But it helps.

After your hike, soak your tired tootsies in the lapping waters of Lake Cushman. And lemme tell ya, if you’ve never seen the sun slide over the Olympic Mountains from the shores of Lake Cushman, now would be good!

Striking out on the Big Creek Loop.

In the meantime, additional choice trails in the Lake Cushman area include the Big Creek Loop (4.6 miles RT), the Dry Creek Trail (7.2 miles RT), and Spike Camp (7.2 miles RT). Don’t forget to pop into Staircase. Oh, the Staircase Rapids! Or the spectacular Hoh Rain Forest on the west side of the peninsula.

But I’ll leave that for another post. Think of it as another ‘two-fer.’ Stay tuned!