Olympic National Park, WA
Nearly a million acres of wild, untouched PNW wilderness
There is a place that the adventurous soul could call heaven on earth, where both the weekend explorer and the expedition veteran can converge and both be fulfilled. Nestled in the top western corner of our great country, Olympic National Park is a magical place. Boundless beauty never ends, yet it constantly changes around every corner. The scenery here is so vastly different even within a 30 minute drive you will think you have arrived at a different national park. The coastline is embellished with sea stacks and starfish, while the mountains are often covered with snow at their peaks. Drive a little further and you enter the rainforest which is other worldly, almost like you’re on the forest moon of Endor waiting for little furry Ewoks to emerge from behind the massive trees.
While you may not actually see a Ewok, you are sure to see wildlife. The sea and land are full of opportunities to see some amazing creatures. Sea otters and whales swim together in the coastal waters and harbor seals bark loudly as if begging for fishermen’s scraps to be thrown to them in the marinas. Don’t forget to look up though while walking down the beach. There is a good chance bald eagles will be flying overhead looking for their next meal. The occasional black bear or elk will come wandering out of the deep forest, and blacktail deer are, well, everywhere!
Hurricane Ridge offers breathtaking vistas that can be hiked in the summer and skied or snowshoed in the winter. Fall and Spring offer some of the best surfing in the Pacific Northwest at First Beach in La Push. The hiking in the Hoh Rainforest is spectacular year round. If all of that is not enough for you, head to Sol Duc Falls, where the falls themselves along with many the side streams will stimulate your visual senses without the throbbing thighs and burning lungs of steeper hikes on the mountain tops. If you’re a hiker, climber, skier, biker, kayaker, surfer, or add here whatever you’re into, this place is your dream come true. It is a playground for all things outdoor.
In short, it’s now hard to see why they call it the Great Northwest.