The Cascade Range offers countless opportunities for adventure, from snowboarding and skiing in the winter to warm-weather activities like hiking, kayaking, biking, fishing, and rock climbing. Hit the powdery winter slopes of Washington’s Mount Baker, marvel at the volcanic landscapes of Mount Saint Helens, and climb up lofty peaks such as Oregon’s Mount Hood. If you want to admire the majestic scenery in relative comfort, there are plenty of less physically challenging—though no less scenic—alternatives. Drive the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway, ride the Amtrak Cascades train, or take to the skies for a helicopter or hot air balloon ride over the peaks.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Cascades are a must for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.
If you’re planning to hit the trails, be sure to bring hiking boots and a sense of adventure.
Rainfall is heaviest in the western part of the range, while the eastern region is typically much drier.
How to Get There
International airports in Seattle and Portland offer easy access to the Cascades. Public transport options within the wilder parts of the Cascade Range are generally limited, so it’s best to rent a car or go as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
Many access roads and hiking trails are closed in the winter, except those leading to winter sports resorts. Summer is the best time to visit for hiking, biking, and most other outdoor activities. Spring and fall are typically rainier.
The High Cascades
Among the many mountains in the range, several towering volcanic peaks are so much taller than their neighbors that they dominate the surrounding landscape and are visible from tens of miles away. At 14,162 feet (4,315 meters), Northern California’s Mount Shasta qualifies as one of these giants, as does Washington’s mighty Mount Rainier—at 14,410 feet (4,392 meters), it’s the tallest peak in the Cascades.