From historical forts and trails of legendary explorers to mountainous landscapes, Washington is home to 15 National Park Service sites. As they roam the Evergreen State, travelers can check out these special places, including its big three: Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks.
Mount Rainier National Park
With a peak stretching to 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier towers above the west-central Washington landscape. The park includes pristine old-growth forests and flower-covered meadows, and is a mecca for hikers and climbers. Travelers also can enjoy a ride along the Upper Nisqually River on the Mount Rainier Railroad, which is managed by NTA-member American Heritage Railways.
North Cascades National Park
Boasting more than 300 glaciers and countless jagged peaks, the park includes three units: North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Visitors can enjoy a true back-to-nature experience and view an array of wildlife. The calm waters of Lake Chelan and Ross Lake are favorites of kayakers and canoers.
Olympic National Park
This sprawling park covers 1,442 square miles in the northwestern corner of the state. During a visit, travelers can experience Olympic’s many different landscapes, which range from glacier-fed mountains and old-growth rain forests to miles and miles of windswept coastline along the Pacific Ocean. The UNESCO World Heritage site also is home to three Native American reservations.
Top photo: Mount Rainier Railroad
Photo by Allens Photographic
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