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Road Trip Through the National Parks of the Pacific Northwest

Ken Lund

Road tripping through a national park in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is an adventure like no other. With breathtaking views, diverse landscapes, and a plethora of outdoor activities, national parks in this region offer an unforgettable experience.

The PNW is home to some of the most beautiful and iconic national parks in the United States, including Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park. Each park has its unique features, and a road trip through any of them promises to be an unforgettable experience.

The first stop on any PNW national park road trip should be Olympic National Park. This park, located in the state of Washington, is known for its vast wilderness areas, rugged coastline, and alpine meadows. Start your trip in the town of Port Angeles, which serves as the gateway to the park.

Doug Dolde

One of the highlights of Olympic National Park is the Hoh Rainforest. The forest is located on the western side of the park and is known for its lush greenery and moss-covered trees. Take a hike along the Hall of Mosses trail, which is a short loop trail that takes you through the heart of the rainforest. The trail is easy and suitable for all skill levels, making it a great option for families with children.

Another must-see attraction in Olympic National Park is Hurricane Ridge. This scenic drive takes you up to an elevation of 5,242 feet, offering spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some wildlife, including deer and mountain goats. Hiking trails in the area range from easy to strenuous, making it possible for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy the area.

Craig Voth

After exploring Olympic National Park, head south to Mount Rainier National Park. The park, which is located in the state of Washington, is home to Mount Rainier, an active volcano and the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range. The park offers numerous hiking trails, ranging from short walks to multi-day backpacking trips. The highlight of the park is the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile trail that circles Mount Rainier.

One of the most scenic drives in the park is the Stevens Canyon Road, which takes you past waterfalls, wildflowers, and stunning views of Mount Rainier. Be sure to stop at Reflection Lakes, which offers some of the best views of the mountain.

The final stop on your PNW national park road trip should be North Cascades National Park. The park, which is located in the state of Washington, is known for its rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and glaciers. The park is home to over 300 glaciers, making it one of the most glaciated regions in the United States.

Jeff Few

One of the best ways to experience the park is by taking a drive along the North Cascades Highway. The highway takes you through stunning mountain scenery and past numerous hiking trails. Be sure to stop at the Diablo Lake Overlook, which offers breathtaking views of the turquoise blue lake.

In conclusion, a road trip through a national park in the PNW is an experience of a lifetime. From the lush rainforests of Olympic National Park to the rugged peaks of North Cascades National Park, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget.

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