Eastern and Western Washington are almost like two different worlds. Not only is there a big difference in culture, but the landscapes on each side of the Cascades have just as much contrast. Western Washington is better known for Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula and the Pacific coastline, but Eastern Washington has its own share of diverse hiking opportunities through canyons and along beautiful lakes & rivers. These eight hikes of various lengths are some of the most scenic adventures you can take on the eastern side of the mountains.
1. Umtanum Creek Canyon
2. Lake Lenore Caves
3. Riverside State Park
You can’t go wrong with any of the trails here just outside of Spokane. Set in Nine Mile Falls, this huge state park is actually the largest in our state, with two campgrounds, miles of scenic trails, picnic areas, and a swinging bridge in the Bowl & Pitcher area.
4. Quartzite Mountain
A short but steep climb, Quartzite Mountain may seem daunting at first, but the wide open views from the summit are worth the challenge. A well-maintained trail will lead you to the top, where you’ll get unobstructed views overlooking the town of Chewelah. The hike up passes through beautiful wildflower meadows and forest, with wild strawberries growing along the way during the summer.
5. Twin Sisters, Wallula Gap
Science suggests these basalt rock pillars were formed from erosion thousands of years ago, but some argue they came from an old urban legend. Whatever the case, it’s worth stretching your legs and walking the short mile to see them. Especially with the beautiful Columbia River as the backdrop! You can find the trailhead just off Highway 730, near the Tri-Cities.
6. Icicle Ridge
7. Palouse Falls
Our state’s official waterfall, Palouse Falls, is actually hidden out in the middle of nowhere, northeast of the Tri-Cities. There are two trails you can take for different viewpoints: one leads you the top of the cascade, while the other steep (and much more difficult) route leads to the bottom.
8. Chelan Lakeshore Trail
I can’t wait until spring rolls around in a couple of months and I can start marking some of these off my list. So tell us, what are some of your favorite hikes in Eastern Washington?