Also known as The Cascades, the Cascade Range runs for over 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) from British Columbia in Canada through Washington and Oregon to California. It’s part of the Pacific mountain system of western North America as well as the Ring of Fire, which is a ring of volcanoes and mountains around the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, all the recorded volcanic eruptions in the United States’ history have come from volcanoes in the Cascades.
A number of the Cascade Range peaks exceed 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) -- for example, Washington’s highest mountain Mount Rainier at 14,410 feet (4,392 meters) -- making it a top attraction for adventure travelers who want to do some hiking, backpacking or climbing. Another option for exploring the Cascade Range is the Cascade Loop, a road trip that starts 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Seattle and takes you on a scenic drive through the Cascade Mountains. The entire loop is 440 miles (708 kilometers), and takes about two to four days to complete, although doing a day portion is also worthwhile. Some regions you may pass along the way include the fertile Snohomish River Valley, fruit tree-filled Columbia River Valley, glacier-fed Lake Chalen, wildlife-rich Methow Valley and sandy beach-littered Whidbey & Fidalgo Islands, to name a few.
The best way to explore the Cascade Range is through a tour, for example, a Seattle Seaplane Flight: Cascade Range and Seattle Tour. The 80-minute excursion departs from Lake Washington and takes you over the mountains for aerial views of volcanoes and peaks like Mount Rainier and Mount Index not many get to experience. You’ll also enjoy a bird’s eye view of Seattle and its iconic attractions like Husky Stadium, the Space Needle and Elliot Bay. Another great tour option is a Seattle Harbor Cruise, which allows you to explore the city in a relaxing manner from Elliot Bay and Seattle Harbor while enjoying the natural beauty of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.