Soil samples from 60 sites in the State of Washington were collected and analyzed to determine the magnitude and variability of background concen- trations of metals in soils of the State. Samples were collected in areas that were relatively undisturbed by human activity from the most pre- dominant soils in 12 different regions that are representative of large areas of Washington State. Concentrations of metals were determined by five different laboratory methods. Concentrations of mercury and nickel determined by both the total and total-recoverable methods displayed the greatest variability, followed by chromium and copper determined by the total-recoverable method. Concentrations of other metals, such as aluminum and barium determined by the total method, varied less. Most metals concentrations were found to be more nearly log-normally than normally distributed. Total metals concentrations were not significantly different among the different regions. However, total-recoverable metals concentrations were not as similar among different regions. Cluster analysis revealed that sampling sites in three regions encompassing the Puget Sound could be regrouped to form two new regions and sites in three regions in south-central and southeastern Washington State could also be regrouped into two new regions. Concentrations for 7 of 11 total-recoverable metals correlated with total metals concentrations. Concen- trations of six total metals also correlated positively with organic carbon. Total-recoverable metals concentrations did not correlate with either organic carbon or particle size. Concentrations of metals determined by the leaching methods did not correlate with total or total-recoverable metals concentrations, nor did they correlate with organic carbon or particle size.