USA - Major Attractions and Hikes of the West - A Travel Guide
Olympic National Park
Location: 100 miles west of Seattle, Washington
Features: Mountains, Glaciers, rainforest, hot springs, ocean
Yet another fantastic National Park is just west of Seattle. The Olympic National Park has something for everybody. The Pacific Coast at the west, glaciers in the highest elevations, rainforest on the westside of the mountains and hot springs. The only problem is the weather. Because this is the first mountain range at the Pacific, the clouds from the sea get stucked here and the result is lots of rain in the westside of the park. This is also the place to see the so called temperate rain forest. This is not to be confused with the tropical rainforest, which is something different. Nevertheless the forests here are very dense, with mosses hanging from the trees and water all over the place. The easiest way to experience this unique piece of nature is to drive to Hoh Rain Forest and take a short hike there.
The picture is completely different in the eastside of Olympic National Park. There, the annual amount of rain is much less, so that you have a subalpine character there. A short but nice hike is the one to Elk Mountain, from where you have a fantastic view over the whole mountain range, including the highest peaks and the glaciers.
To get there, you'll have to take a gravel road to the east, which starts at the Hurrican Ridge Visitor Center. Go all the way to the end and hike another two miles to Elk Mountain.
Arches National Park / Bryce Canyon National Park / Canyonlands National Park / Capitol Reef National Park / Crater Lake National Park / Death Valley National Monument / Grand Canyon National Park / Lassen Volcanic National Park / Las Vegas / Lava Beds National Monument / Mesa Verde National Park / Monument Valley / Mount Rainier National Park / Olympic National Park / Petrified Forest National Park / Point Lobos State Park / San Francisco / Salt Lake City / Seattle / Sequoia National Park / Valley of Fire State Park / Yellowstone National Park / Yosemite National Park / Zion National Park