On one end of the border, to the west of Washington State, lies the Pacific Ocean. On the flip side, the state’s eastern border is separated from Idaho. While Washington doesn’t seem much larger than other states, it isn’t the smallest.
Instead, Washington State, otherwise known as “The Evergreen State,” has a surprising distance spanning east to west. So, if you’re curious, let’s see how wide is Washington State.
From east to west, Washington State is 360 miles long and 240 miles wide. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how the borders of the state measure up against others and more.
Becoming a Part of the United States
Washington wasn’t added to the United States until November 11, 1889. The state was the 42nd state to be officially added, and this was back when there was a 13-year hiatus from any new states being added. Originally, Washington was a part of Oregon state, but it split from that territory on March 2, 1853.
The state started as a settlement during the time of the Oregon Trail. At the time, the settlement comprised Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming and was called the Oregon Country. Skip ahead to the 1840s, and tension existed between the United States and Britain. Both countries were fighting for control of Oregon Country.
Eventually, the states separated and became what they are known today. Britain split off by setting a border between the states and Canada, known as British North America, in the 1840s. The Washington Territory became official in the United States in 1853 when the U.S. Congress separated Washington State territory from Oregon Country.
Geography of Washington
Washington State is between the Pacific Ocean to the west and Idaho to the east. Aside from that, it has the Canadian border to the north and Oregon state to the south. It’s one of the 13 states that share borders with Canada.
The state’s climate is split between the easter and western Washington. To the west, the weather tends to stay in a Mediterranean climate, while the east is relatively dry. Several active volcanoes exist in the west, including Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier. There are also Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.
Eastside, there are Cascades, and the weather is fairly dry. However, the number of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water help compensate for the lack of rainfall.
Overall Size of Washington
When you think of how wide Washington State is, you may wonder if it’s a small or large number. However, the state is actually a total of 71,300 square miles of land. While this might not seem like a lot to most people, it’s actually one of the largest states in the United States. Washington ranks as the 18th largest state in the United States by land mass, which is no small feat.
In terms of size, Washington State is 240 miles long and 360 miles wide. Currently, the state takes up 1.88% of the total land mass in the United States. In comparison, other states with similar land mass and size include Oklahoma, Missouri, and North Dakota.
Out of that land in Washinton, the federal government owns 28.51%, which is calculated to be approximately 12,173,814. Other states are found to have similar numbers, and it’s only a moderate amount. Extremes include Nevada, which has at least 84%, and Connecticut, which is less than 1% government-owned.
Wildlife in Washington
Wildlife in Washington State is abundant, and species are acclimated to the Pacific Northwest area. The climate always tends to have dry summers and wet and mild winters. Animals that thrive in dense forests, prairies, and wetlands tend to do best.
The official state animal is the Olympic marmot (Marmota olympus) which can only be found in the Olympic Peninsula. In addition, the state bird is the goldfinch (Spinus tristis) which has bright yellow plumage with black wings. Other notable Washington State wildlife representing the state include the Pacific chorus frog, steelhead trout, orca, and green dragonfly.
Aside from state wildlife, plenty of other animals reside inside Washington. This ranges from amphibians, fish, mammals, and more. Below is a quick summary of some exciting wildlife you can see in Washington State:
- Bighorn sheep
- Burrowing owl
- Mountain goat
- American Bald Eagle
- Rainbow trout
- Sockeye salmon
- Northern flicker
- Dark-eyed junco
- And many more!
Washington State isn’t that big compared to other states out there. Places like Alaska, Texas, and California almost are triple to more than bigger than the state. The Evergreen State falls in 18th place but still ranks high in terms of its width.
So, while it’s not the biggest state by land mass, population, or any other, it does have its own charm. The state is home to some very interesting active volcanoes and mountain ranges, and it also has amazing wildlife.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock.com
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