A Quick Tour of Washington’s National Parks

Did you know that Washington State has three National Parks?  They are Mt. Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades!  All are marvelous and worth many visits, especially if you live here as I do.  🙂

Lets start with Mt. Rainier National Park  – just two hours south of Seattle,  this one is closest and has everything, including the most beautiful mountain in the country!  Some may beg to differ – I can hear protests from as far away as Alaska and California.  Still, Rainier gets my vote and here’s one of my favorite pictures of the mountain at Reflection Lakes.  Notice the brave ones on thin ice pointing out the view.

Not that you will find a bad view of the mountain anywhere.

And though it’s surely the centerpiece, there’s more to the park than Mt. Rainier.  You’ll also find old-growth forest, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

Next up is Olympic National Park – just a few hours west of Seattle, it has the most diverse landscape of the three.  In addition to the mountain range, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, Olympic has a rainforest and ocean beaches too!

Hurricane Ridge provides the best view of the Olympic Mountains;

Lake Crescent is my favorite lake.

And here’s a sampling of the ocean beaches, some of the wildest and most remote in the country.

Finally, there’s North Cascades National Park – a hidden gem a couple hours north of Seattle.  The rugged North Cascades are known as the American Alps, and are most accessible by hiking.  The Skagit River flows through the park supplying hydroelectric power to the City of Seattle through several dams.  We recently drove the scenic highway through the park and even on a gray and rainy day the colors were magnificent at the Gorge Trail Overlook;

Diablo Lake,

And at the Washington Pass Overlook with views of Liberty Bell.

Well, that’s enough for now.

Can you tell which National Park is my favorite?  Which one would you like to visit?

~  Susanne

14 Comments on “A Quick Tour of Washington’s National Parks

  1. Small wonder you became so interested in photography, with all those breathtaking views to take pictures of. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Terrific tour – incredibly beautiful surroundings and terrific phots…I’m going to re=blog this later today!

    • Kind of a trick question, especially since I gave it top billing!! Mt. Rainier is awesome and since it’s closest we visit it more often than the others. But I like Olympic National Park the best, mainly because it’s bigger and more diverse so there are more things to do. It’s a bit far for a day trip, but great for camping. 🙂

  3. Great post! I wish we’d had time to really explore North Cascades, but are saving it for a backpacking trip. It totally agree about Mt. Rainier. It’s by far my favorite mountain too! Others may be bigger, but there is just something about Rainier. You are so fortunate to be within half a day’s drive of these magical places!

    • Oh thank you so much! I think you’re right to save the North Cascades for backpacking – it is that kind of park! And I agree I am lucky to live so close to these wonderful places, Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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