No matter where you look in Southwest Washington, there’s the possibility for excitement and adventure.
Many of the opportunities require only an adventurous spirit and a willingness to travel off the beaten bath.
Interstate 5, which cuts through Western Washington, is the busiest roadway in the state. The Washington portion of the freeway begins north of the Columbia River on the Oregon border and stretches all the way to Canada.
Along the way, though, it misses some of the most scenic and spectacular wilderness areas in the country right here in Southwest Washington. Without exiting the freeway, travelers are deprived of incredible restaurants, one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities and some of the very best outdoor offerings in the country.
By taking a trip down U.S. Highway 12, adventurers and recreationalists will be amazed and inspired by the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, an area where, just 37 years ago, a powerful eruption captured the attention of the world and forever changed the landscape.
From the volcano, visitors will see the majestic snow-capped peak of Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the state. The active volcano rises above colorful meadows and sparkling rivers on the horizon. Inviting trails provide access to a diverse ecosystem that produces rare encounters with wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery.
The communities of Packwood, Randle, Morton and Mossyrock offer the fuel and sustenance needed to traverse these secluded havens with a full degree of comfort.
To the north, the bustling towns of Chehalis and Centralia await. Affectionately referred to by locals as the Twin Cities, these towns are the beating heart of Lewis County and a hub of activity in Southwest Washington.
Dine at some of the finest establishments in the region, or stop for a visit at one of the country’s largest ongoing rummage sales.
Further north, outdoors enthusiasts will find a handful of communities rich in history and ecological diversity. Stop by Wolf Haven for a peek at the elusive carnivores outside Tenino, or travel through the town to see the beautiful and ornate sandstone architecture that defines much of the city’s history.
These are just a few examples.
It would take much more than this introduction — and even more than a single tourism guide — to fully define all our area has to offer.
So use this guide as a starting point, and venture away from major roadways to see the interesting sights and grandeur of this blessed swath of Southwest Washington.