Cascades + Central Washington

Cascades + Central Washington Travel Guide

This outfitter teaches basic climbing skills that enable novices to reach Columbia Crest while attached to a guide by ropes.

Visit the Nutcracker Museum, which displays more than 5,000 of the iconic toy.

Grab a picnic table: kids can sip old-fashioned root beer floats while parents enjoy Syrah.

The Mystery: The nine-foot-wide bottomless hole and former dump site on Mel Waters’s former property near Ellensburg, Washington, is awash in mystery, which includes its professed ability to “reanimate” dead animals.

James Gilliland, the founder of Enlightened Contact with ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (ECETI), has been hosting seekers at his ranch at the mountain’s base since 1986. Thanks to so many unexplained light shows, almost no one leaves disappointed.

Icicle Junction has a fantastic mini-golf course. Or head to Lake Wenatchee (about a half-hour drive north), for boating and horseback riding.

Snow-capped Mount Rainier anchors 240 miles of hiking trails, ranging from wildflower-field nature walks to icy summit ascents. Stop at the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center for hiking suggestions and info on ranger-led walks.

The Mystery: At the base of Mount Adams lies an incredible hotbed of UFO activity: a wooded ranch-cum-spiritual retreat owned by James Gilliland.

Stop in for scrumptious homemade cookies (and pick up a kit for making gingerbread houses at home).

This park has seen impressive regrowth since the 1980 eruption, but it’s still full of eerie landscapes and volcanic remnants. Stop at the Castle Rock Visitor Center for hiking information.