Located in the northwest of Washington State, this 900,000 acre park is renowned for its natural wonders. Under the haze that surrounds the Pacific coast and wooded area, you can find big trees, rugged coastlines, and some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Mount Olympus is the tallest peak in the region at almost 8,000 feet in height. You’ll be amazed at the snowcapped peaks and slow-moving glaciers that make up a rainforest as intriguing as the Amazon region.
The park features the longest undeveloped coastline in the United States, and has plenty of native and endemic animal and plant species, including the endangered northern spotted owl. 95 percent of Olympic National Park is designated as a wilderness area. The region is a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails through woods, meadows, valleys, winding its way to the coastline.
The rain forest is perhaps the most extraordinary phenomena at this national park. Rainfall can total up to 80 inches near the coastline to more than 150 inches in the foothills. The majority of the rain forests are located in the river regions of Hoh, Queets, and Quinault.
The gentle singing of birds appears strong, and sometimes hovers like spirits among the mossy trunks. Since the vegetation’s ground is so dense, the seeds rarely have the opportunity to grow. This explains why most of the largest trees residing in the forest sprouted from nurse logs.
When visitors leave the trails behind and climb higher up into the park region, they begin to notice how the forest begins to change. An abundance of Pacific silver fir and subalpine fir are the predominant species. Mount Olympus has seven glaciers on its flanks, with ice 900 feet thick in some places, and more than 50 glaciers up in the mountainous region. The area is unique because it has the lowest latitude in the world where glaciers exist at an altitude below 2,000m.
To really appreciate the magnificent beauty of the region, you must climb higher towards the eastern region to Deer Park. It’s a little treacherous, however, with some maneuvering you’ll find yourself gazing out to the north and south with some of the most amazing views of the Olympic mountain range. You can see deer roaming in the meadows among rare plants and mountain goats feeding on the ridges that can only be seen in the Olympic National Park region.
Located in the northern half of the Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge is the heart of year-round outdoor activity. The 17 mile Hurricane Ridge Road is a popular highway leading visitors up to 5,240 feet. From the top, the mountain range stretches to the south with snow capped peaks and glaciers making up the scenery. In April and May the snow melts while the days get longer allowing colorful wildflowers to bloom once again, with deer feeding in the meadows against a beautiful mountain setting. Visiting the Olympic National Park is an experience were time seems to stand still. It’s an outdoor adventure that you will want to repeat.
For more information, visit: http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/