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Washington Geography

Rugged cliffs and numerous bays front Washington's Pacific Ocean coastline. In the far northwest, the Olympic Mountains dominate the landscape. Further south the Coastal Mountain Range and Willapa Hills seem to blend into Oregon State.

Directly to the east of those hills and mountains, the Puget Sound Lowlands stretch south from the Canadian border to the Columbia River. This stretch of land is home to Washington's major cities.

Puget Sound, lying to the west of Seattle, is a body of ocean water that provides access to the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It contains numerous channels, estuaries, inlets and islands - including the San Juan.

East of those lowlands the majestic snow-capped Cascades rise into the sky. This range of (volcanic in origin) peaks includes Mt. Rainier, Washington's highest point, as well as many other major mountains including Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mt. St. Helens of 1980 eruption fame. These heavily forested mountains are drained by dozens and dozens of small rivers, and contain many cold water lakes.

The Columbia Plateau extends south from central Washington into Idaho and Oregon. Formed by ancient lava flows, it's a landscape of deep, wide valleys and rugged mountains, including the Blue.

In the northeast the Rocky Mountains slice across the state, extending into Canada. The deep-valleyed Columbia Mountains are the most significant range.

Washington's most important river is the Columbia. It rises in British Columbia, Canada, then flows south through the state, forming most of its natural border with Oregon.

Other rivers of note include the Okanogan and Snake. The Baker, Chelan and Ross are lakes of note.

For a detailed look at the topography of Washington, view this topographic map.

Washington Photographs

Mt. Rainier Reflected in Tarn, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Mt. Rainier...
by Jamie & Judy Wild
Buy This at Allposters.com

Washington Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Othello Adams 509
Clarkston Asotin 509
Kennewick Benton 509
Wenatchee Chelan 509
Port Angeles Clallam 360
Vancouver Clark 360
Dayton Columbia 509
Longview Cowlitz 360
East Wenatchee Douglas 509
Republic Ferry 509
Pasco Franklin 509
Pomeroy Garfield 509
Moses Lake Grant 509
Aberdeen Grays Harbor 360
Oak Harbor Island 360
Port Townsend Jefferson 360
Auburn King 253
Bellevue King 425
Seattle King 206
Renton King 425
Kent King 253
Bremerton Kitsap 360
Ellensburg Kittitas 509
Goldendale Klickitat 509
Centralia Lewis 360
Davenport Lincoln 509
Shelton Mason 360
Omak Okanogan 509
Raymond Pacific 360
Newport Pend Oreille 509
Tacoma Pierce 253
Puyallup Pierce 253
Friday Harbor San Juan 360
Mount Vernon Skagit 360
Stevenson Skamania 509
Everett Snohomish 425
Spokane Spokane 509
Colville Stevens 509
Olympia Thurston 360
Cathlamet Wahkiakum 360
Walla Walla Walla Walla 509
Bellingham Whatcom 360
Pullman Whitman 509
Yakima Yakima 509

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.