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The Majestic & Mountainous 3 National Parks in the State of Washington

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

One of Washington's Majestic National Parks

Wild flowers and Sahale Peak. Taken while hiking up the Sahale Arm in the North Cascades, Washington, US.

Wild flowers and Sahale Peak. Taken while hiking up the Sahale Arm in the North Cascades, Washington, US.

Mountain High

Each of the three national parks in the State of Washington has mountain peaks and glaciers. There are other similarities to be found in them, and yet, like every other national park in the United States, there are also things unique to each park.

Come along on a journey of exploration to Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks and find out what makes each location special.

If you plan a vacation to the northwest part of our country, you might wish to spend some time reading about these national parks to make better use of your trip.

Mount Rainier National Park

This majestic snow-covered mountain top dominating the landscape in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, is also seen from places further away, and it contains an active volcano. Its towering height of over 14,000 feet sets Mount Rainier apart from its neighboring peaks and is a spectacle of beauty when in slumbering mode.

In actuality, even when slumbering, it is like a person who tosses and turns and snores, making people around this site awake and watchful. Volcanologists and seismologists continually monitor Mount Rainier. That way, if necessary, they can warn nearby residents of an impending disaster to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

This mountain has its origins in the earth's fiery interior. Molten lava would have extruded through cracks onto the earth's surface some million years ago. Layer upon layer of melted rock and debris left it standing about 1,000 feet, even higher than viewed as it is today. Geologists speculate that a massive eruption blew off the top of the volcano about 2,500 years ago. It left the current shape of the concave summit.

Even today, small earthquakes occur. The rivers of water under the icy and rock-strewn glaciers are a constant reminder that this restless mountain is one of which to be respectful. Steam vents spew forth sulfuric gases. Most of the glaciers continually advance or recede depending upon weather conditions creating deep crevasses and other hazards. One thing is sure. Mount Rainier is not a static place but ever-changing.

Seasonal Activities and Discoveries

People have been drawn to this lofty site of Mount Rainier to challenge their wits and skills in mountain climbing. Unfortunately, a few lose their lives each year, but it never stops others from trying.

For people who dare to hike among the glaciers, on view are some spectacular ice caves formed from warm air currents. Paradise Ice Caves is one such site that has regaled people with its beauty and color near the edge of the receding Paradise Glacier and is just one of numerous glaciers flowing down the sides of Mount Rainier.

Spring, summer, and fall bring about a burst of life from seasonal flowers, trees, and shrubs. Many animals that hibernate during the winter are out and about feasting and storing up food for the long slumber ahead as winter once again arrives.

North Cascades National Park

Diversity aptly describes this immense national park within the northern reaches of the State of Washington. The North Cascades National Park borders Canada to the north.

Ross Lake in the Ross Lake Recreation Area to the northeast and Lake Chelan in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area in the southeast portions of the national park are two of the largest lakes which provide aquatic recreational activities.
Scenic Highway 20 bisects the North Cascades National Park from east to west, going through the Ross Lake Recreation Area.

At one time, mining took place here. Prospectors once labored in hopes of finding gold, silver, and copper. Horseshoe Basin leaves evidence behind those efforts from years long ago, and hikers often start their journey from one point, which was once a service road to the mines.

Biodiversity in the North Cascades

Found in the biodiversity of eight life zones are countless forms of plant and animal life. Naturalists are naturally attracted to this primitive landscape that includes glacier-sculpted mountains, valleys, and lakes. There are hundreds of mountain peaks and hundreds of glaciers. In fact, in the lower 48 States of the U.S., more glaciers are found in this one park system than anywhere else.

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From deep and dark forests with trees like the Douglas Fir, which can soar to heights of 300 feet to the tiniest of alpine flowers at upper elevations, photographers of plant life will have much to study and capture with their cameras.

Also, from the tiniest of insects to numerous birds and mammals, that range from cute little chipmunks to mountain goats, bears, and secretive mountain lions, there are hundreds of species of which to admire.

The immensity of this park could keep visitors entertained for years in the various seasons, and it would be hard to see it all.

Olympic National Park

One year towards the end of our vacation, which started in Seattle, and which took us to Vancouver and Vancouver Island, we crossed by ferry back to Port Angeles to visit a friend for a day and night before returning to Seattle to catch our plane ride back to Houston, Texas. She had lived in Port Angeles for many years and had a deep love for the natural beauty which surrounded her.

Marie told my mother and me many things about the Olympic National Park and advised us to drive up to Hurricane Ridge to see spectacular views from the top. Unfortunately, after attempting to navigate the road, the fog and clouds made visibility an immense problem. With some careful effort, I was able to turn around and head back down the mountain.

We did enjoy a wonderful meal at Lake Crescent, so we got to see that part of the park for a brief time. Thus, our exploration of this Pacific coast national park will have to wait for another time.

Olympic National Park has magnificent scenery along the coastline, with sea stacks rising out of the water like so many alert sentry lookouts standing at attention seaward of the tide pools and sandy beaches.

There is a rainforest within the park that often gets 140 inches of rainfall per year. I would love to see the forested areas, mosses, ferns, and wildflowers on the forest floor, plus mushrooms and fungi, among other things commonly found within such a unique biosphere.

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain peak in the park. It is tall enough at just shy of 8,000 feet to have several glaciers gracing its slopes. Rivers and waterfalls are within the boundaries of this park and a variety of plant and animal life.

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life…Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.”

— John Muir

“In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Location of the 3 National Parks in the State of Washington

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

It is great that you have visited many national parks in India, and some in the USA. I have only visited those in the US but would enjoy visiting thers outside of our country.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

Yes, despite the fog impeding our trip up the mountain, we did have a good time seeing other areas lower down. Thanks for your comment about my photography. Most of these photos are public domain images.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 22, 2021:

An excellent article, well illustrated. I loved your pictures and the wonderful information about the National Parks. I have visited many National Parks in India, and also some in USA. May be, I would be able to visit those, which you have mentioned above.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful information!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 22, 2021:

Peggy,

Manatita is right. These are majestic.

I love all of your photos.

It's a shame the fog disrupted your trip in the car, but at least you had a great meal.

I think it's great that you have been able to take these wonderful trips.

You are an excellent photographer too.

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

Yes, these mountains are majestic. I had written this long before Brenda's prompts and simply reworked it. I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for your comment.

manatita44 from london on March 22, 2021:

Extremely beautiful!! In fact, Majestic!

I thought perhaps you were doing it for Brenda's prompts but it doesn't appear so. Amazing and the Crevasse was as inviting as it was dangerous.

The Gayantri Mantra is one of Mother India's most sacred and it touched my Heart as it was being sung. Om Shanti! (Peace)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2021:

Hi Sandra,

I hope you get the chance to visit the State of Washington someday. It is so beautiful and has much to offer visitors. We loved what we got to see of it.

Sandra on March 22, 2021:

Would love to visit the State of Washington sometime. It always displays an impressive beauty.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 28, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

Each and every national park I have ever had the privilege of visiting is well worth the time and effort to do so. We have many of them in our country. You are correct in saying that these parks are a visual delight. It would be wonderful if you get to visit them someday.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 28, 2018:

These national parks are a visual delight I can only hope to see in these lovely photos you have in this article. Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2017:

Hi Patricia,

It would be wonderful to be able to spend time in these national parks in the State of Washington. Hope your wishes come true someday. Sending hugs along with prayers your way!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 15, 2017:

Wishing that I can travel to view these up close and personal some day. However you have at least given me a taste of the wonder that awaits.

Once again sending Angels to you and yours ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 13, 2016:

Hi Holle,

I hope you do make a trip out west someday. There is SO MUCH beauty in that location of our country. In reality every one of our states has its own distinctive areas of beauty. The majesty of the mountains, numerous state and national parks and Pacific coastline just make the west really special.

Holle Abee from Georgia on March 12, 2016:

If I ever make it out West, I'd love to see Mt. Rainier. Beautiful hub, and it provides lots of great info.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 08, 2016:

Hi Rochelle,

You certainly picked a glorious time of year for your visit to Mount Rainier and lucked out with that abundant flower show. Some years are better than others. Nice!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on March 08, 2016:

We visited Mt. Rainier many years ago when it happened to be a particularly excellent season of wildflowers. Hillsides were covered with patches of lupines, or lilies, or mixed swaths of multi colors and various sorts. Never had seen so many wildflowers in my life. With the background of the majestic mountain, it was astounding and glorious.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2014:

Hi Shyron,

I just love the northwest part of our country. Such astounding beauty there! Thanks for your comment, votes and the pin.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 25, 2014:

I can see just how beautiful Mt. Rainier is in pictures from my friend who lives in Washington, and I would love to visit sometime. For the time being I will visit all these places through your wonderful hubs.

Voted up, UABI and shared and pinned to the Amazing HubPage created by Brett Tesol.

Have a Blessed day.

Shyron

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 08, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

There is certainly much to see in the State of Washington! I would enjoy seeing more of it also! Thanks!

C E Clark from North Texas on June 06, 2014:

Vacation time is here and I wanted to come back and pin and share this excellent article about Washington's beautiful and interesting national parks in case someone might like to take this year's vacation there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 19, 2013:

Hi Roberta,

So nice that you recently visited that gorgeous part of our country and left a bit of your heart there. It is a worthy spot! Thanks for the pin.

RTalloni on November 09, 2013:

You may know the saying about how once you become a mother your heart walks outside your body from then on. My heart is in the beautiful coastal upper Washington state area. Having just returned from there this was a neat read. A closer look at the wonders of creation in that region would be delightful. Thanks for sharing your visit in a hub!

Pinning to my Travel Plans board. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

There are so many good links here sharing other people's experiences with regard to visiting these national parks in Washington. Thanks for getting the word out about this beautiful state!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 04, 2013:

Came back to pin this excellent article with so many beautiful photos to my 'Travel' board and to share with my followers again since this is the season for vacations and travel.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 24, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

Hope that your wishes become reality someday and that you get to visit the State of Washington. There are many parts of it that I would also like to see. Appreciate your comment and the rest, especially the 5 star rating and the share. Thanks!

C E Clark from North Texas on May 24, 2013:

Gorgeous photos and videos! Loved the video of Mt. Rainier especially. I've never been to the state of Washington and always hoped to get there. I guess it could still happen . . . Voted up, BAUI, and will share! Oh, and gave you another 5 stars.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 23, 2013:

Thanks Suzanne. So glad that you liked this hub about the 3 national parks in the State of Washington. I would love to spend more time in that state someday. Thanks for the votes and shares.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 22, 2013:

Wonderful info and beautiful photos and videos! Voted up, awesome, Tweeted, Pinned and FaceBooked! :D

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

I am happy that you found this hub to be a good resource if considering visiting any of the 3 national parks in Washington. Thanks for the votes.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 10, 2013:

Interesting information and lovely photos, videos and resources! Voted up and awesome! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2013:

Hello srsddn,

Nice that you have seen some parts of the State of Washington. Which areas did you get to see? Perhaps next time if you come back you can plan for a longer stay and get to see one or more of these national parks. Thanks for your comment, vote and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2013:

Hi radhikasree,

Nice to be able to tell you something about the 3 national parks in the State of Washington and show you some photos. Each one does have something unique and special about it. Thanks for your votes + share.

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on April 24, 2013:

Peggy W, All the three National Parks are great. Pictures speak volumes about the grandeur of these parks. I visited Washington about a decade back but it was for a very short period. I wish I could visit it again and have a look of these great Parks. Voted up and shared.

Radhika Sreekanth from Mumbai,India on April 23, 2013:

Each natural spot has got some unique feature as far as I've seen. These parks have got such a spectacular scenery with glaciers, snow covered mountains and all. Loved reading your hub watching these amazing photos.

Up, beautiful, awesome and sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2013:

Hi Indian Chef,

Glad to be able to show you a little about North Cascades National Park as well as Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks in the State of Washington. We would have to drive even further than you do to see snow capped mountains where we live. Many people who enjoy skiing go from Houston, Texas up to Colorado where there are mountains. Thanks for all of your votes along with your comment.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on April 10, 2013:

Peggy thanks for visiting my page and tried to find the baked potatoe recipe on your profile but coupld not.. So next time you visit my page please do leave url of your wonderful blogs there in comments.. About this one, i really liked the pictures. Snow covered mountains are my weakness, though i live about 12 hours or more drive away from them but I really like to go to Manali,, which is so beautiful. So North Cascades National Park I feel is most beautiful of them there. Voting up, awesome, interesting and useful

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2013:

Hi beingwell,

I also love being in natural settings and taking photos is always fun. Glad to know that you liked this hub about the national parks in Washington. Doing some hiking is certainly one of the best ways to appreciate them. Thanks for the share.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 31, 2013:

Great hubs, peggy! I've always liked nature... for picture-taking that is. I can do a bit of trekking; just light hikes. Amazing photos!! Shared and pinned.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2013:

Hi Sheila,

We are definitely of a similar mind in liking nature and wildlife. Hope that someday your travels will take you up to Washington where you can spend some time in their fabulous national parks. I always enjoy sharing other hubber's experiences when writing about beautiful locations. Thanks for your votes and the share. :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 25, 2013:

I would love to see all these beautiful sights someday. Hopefully, one day, we can make a trip up here. I love places that are filled with nature and wildlife. I'm sure I would just love these places. You have done an excellent job here and I love the way you have shared others hubs as well! Voting this up and more! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 23, 2013:

Hi DDE,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed this look at the fabulous national parks located in the State of Washington. It is fun to see different parts of the world by reading other people's hubs. Appreciate your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 23, 2013:

Such beautiful sights and so well described, you have shared an enlightening experience.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 22, 2013:

Hi Alastar,

Nice that you have a nephew that lives in Washington State. Would make for a less expensive vacation if he would offer you some free lodging. Wish I had relatives up there! Such a beautiful state! Hope that you do get to explore those national parks up that way. Appreciate your comment and the share.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 22, 2013:

All these places in Washington state have long been wonders I've wanted to experience in the flesh...and in spirit for that matter Have a nephew in Washington St so maybe he'll invite me for a visit soon. As usual you've supplied the next best thing with your excellent hub on Washington's awesome parks. Shared with pleasure my friend.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 12, 2013:

Hi ktrapp,

Yes...we were glad once we got out of the fog and safely back down from Hurricane Ridge. Not fun driving in thick fog on a mountain! The view from the top will have to wait for another trip and hopefully better weather. Thanks for your comment regarding the 3 national parks in the State of Washington. Hope you get there someday to see them and even more of this beautiful State in our country.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 11, 2013:

Your description of these three national parks really makes me want to visit the state of Washington; I have never been there before. It's a shame that you didn't get to complete your journey to Hurricane Ridge. The views must be magnificent for your friend to recommend it. Luckily you managed your way down safely through the fog.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

Too bad that you never got to visit Washington while your brother-in-law lived there, especially if he could have provided free lodging for you. Thanks for the vote up regarding this hub about the national parks located in that state.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2013:

Hello mbyL,

I can't help but notice that you are from Switzerland. Your country is so very beautiful from the little that I have seen of it. I can see why the national parks in the State of Washington would hold allure for you. If you like natural settings, we have numerous national parks in the U.S. that could keep you touring for quite some time. Thanks for your comment and especially the share. :))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2013:

Hi Brett,

It is a pleasure finding interesting articles other hubbers have written and to be able to include them in this hub regarding the 3 national parks in the state of Washington. It just adds to the overall effect if people wish to learn more. Nice to be able to support one another in our writing efforts! Thanks for your votes and the shares. :))