Washington State Forests You Need to Visit

The splendid forests in the state of Washington offer the perfect natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts
The splendid forests in the state of Washington offer the perfect natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts | © Spring Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Stephanie Andrews

With moss-covered trails, lumbering evergreens and mountain-studded forests, Washington state is a nature lover’s dream. We’ve collected some helpful tips from our local insiders on the best ones to visit.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Umatilla National Forest

Tucked away in the Blue Mountains, Umatilla National Park spans over 1m acres (400,000ha) that run from southeast Washington to northeast Oregon. This national forest offers the perfect spot for many outdoor sports – rafting, fishing, cycling, hiking and hunting. While you’ll find several campgrounds on site, the Olive Lake Campground offers lakefront views and prime wildlife-viewing spots. If you’re a wintersports lover, Mountain Road #30 offers well-groomed trails for snowmobiles and cross-country skiers. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

Wandering under the canopy of towering, ancient trees at the Grove of the Patriarchs, you may feel like you’re in a Tolkien adventure. This easy 1.5mi (2.4km) loop, near Mount Rainier, guides you through some of the largest and oldest red cedars, Douglas firs and western hemlocks in the United States, some of which are more than 1,000 years old. It’s the perfect spot for couples and families with kids or pets. The Grove of the Patriarchs will also provide the ultimate backdrop for some truly spectacular photos. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

Olympic National Forest

Looking to experience all of Washington’s most diverse landscapes? If so, Olympic National Forest is a must. Adventure awaits at this rugged forest, with more than 70mi (110km) of coastline, as well as lush rainforests, hot springs and mountain glaciers. Enjoy a day paddling along the rivers and lakes, tackle the eight nature trails or relax in the hot springs at a rustic cabin resort. The national forest’s ranger-led walks and campfire activities are perfect for families. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

Capitol State Forest

We don’t expect you to be able to tackle all 110,000 acres (44,500ha) of Capitol State Forest, but if you’re looking to experience the wilderness outside Olympia, this natural gem is an explorer’s paradise. Here, you’ll find more than 61mi (98km) of cycling, hiking and horseback riding trails, as well as 82mi (132km) of adventure for those who’d rather rev up some engines and take to the trails by motorcycle or ATV. The best views in the area can be found on Capitol Peak, which offers panoramic landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman

Ginkgo Petrified Forest

While the Ginkgo Petrified Forest is not what you first think of when picturing a state forest, it is undoubtedly one of the most unique “forests” of Washington. You’ll find this geological marvel resting on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River. Instead of a lush forest full of ginkgo, maple, elm and Douglas fir, you’ll find petrified trees that are millions of years old. Wander the Trees of Stone Interpretive Trail along 3mi (5km) of wildflower-covered hills and petrified specimens. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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