Most of you know Washington State because of its industrial, economic, and educational progress and development. But do you know there are some of the most interesting national parks in Washington State?
Yes, you heard it right. Along with its national parks, it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can see snow-capped and volcanic mountains, lush green rainforests, beautiful landscapes, attractive islands, and diverse national parks. But before everything, let’s get a feel about this state.
1. An Introduction to Washington State
Washington is one of the most populated states in the U.S. after California. It is the second most populated state in the entire Western region of the U.S. It’s a well-developed state with bravo infrastructure. But this well-developed place has some stagnant scenic beauties which you can’t take your eyes off.
Seattle is a city in Washington as a major center of attraction for tourists. Not visiting Seattle while exploring Washington will be your loss. The city has a lot more to offer.
Food can be a major reason for exploring different places. In Washington, the most popular food is its fresh coastal seafood. In addition, there are some fabulous coffee shops that you can find inside the national parks in Washington State. So, don’t miss out on this one, or you’ll regret it later.
2. National Parks in Washington State You Should Visit
2.1. North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park, established on October 2, 1968, is one of the best national parks in Washington State. This park features a huge wilderness of mountains, glaciers, and ancient forests. North Cascades also offers other exciting activities besides exploring.
North Cascades National Park is not very far from Seattle. If you want to create lasting memories or enjoy your holiday peacefully, you might consider visiting this location.
You shouldn’t miss ‘Diablo Lake’ because it is a place that offers spectacular views. The North Cascades’ Diablo Lake, located in the Pacific Northwest, is a mesmerizing lake known for its turquoise-colored water.
The fun doesn’t stop here because it has much more to offer. After just a few hours of traveling and reaching here, you’ll be lost in the beauty of North Cascades National Park. You’ll fall in love with the location because of the Puget sound of waterfalls, the untamed nature of conifer-covered mountains, lakes, the Pacific Crest Trail, and a wide range of wildlife species. Also, you’ll be delighted to visit Washington Pass.
North Cascades is regarded as one of the most beautiful of Washington’s national parks, especially by mountaineers and adventurers. Along with entertaining activities, it has some incredible historical places that you must visit. For a more exciting experience, take a scenic drive along the North Cascades Highway, from which you can enjoy some beautiful views of the Washington Pass.
2.1.1. Fun Things to do in North Cascades National Park
Kayaking is one of the fun water sports that you can do at Diablo Lake. Don’t miss the chance to accomplish this in North Cascades National Park. You may choose boat camping if you’re traveling with companions. However, you must obtain a backcountry permit from the Wilderness Information Center to participate in this incredible trip.
Camping is an activity that involves spending the night in a few open spaces surrounded by nature. The campgrounds at Colonial Creek, Goodell creek, and Early Winters are just a few of the top spots in North Cascades National Park to consider for camping, but the ‘Baker Lake Campground’ is especially lovely in the summer.
Backpacking is similar to hiking, yet different. While backpacking, you can spend the night away from home while carrying your belongings on your back. North Cascades National Park offers so many backpacking spots. Still, you should try some of the most popular ones: Ruby Mountain, Thunder Creek, Mt. Baker Backcountry, Forbidden Peak trail, and Ptarmigan Traverse.
According to alltrails.com, the Maple Pass Loop is a difficult route. Maple Pass Loop in North Cascades is the best choice because hiking is like taking a lengthy walk, which is good for your health. You can see the Alpine lakes and the cascading range of mountains when trekking. When planning a hike in the North Cascades National Park, beginners should consider Ross Lake and Lake Chelan.
The North Cascades’ blue lake makes for some very intriguing fishing opportunities. You also get to see the granite-encircled view of the lovely mountains. Have you ever witnessed the meeting of the mountain and the sky? You can see these kinds of views while fishing.
2.2. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is one of the oldest Washington national parks and was established on June 24, 1938. The park is nearly a million acres, including the snow-covered Olympic mountains, lush rain forests, the Olympic Peninsula, and a wild coastline.
In addition to a huge wilderness, this park protects history and culture. You can enjoy some of the best moments of your life here, making it a terrific place to come with family and friends.
The Olympic National Park offers multiple experiences in one go. It is one of the national parks where you can have fun with outdoor activities and get a chance to learn about their cultures. The only aim of the Olympic national park was to preserve the disappearing primeval forests because nowadays, most of the woods are departing.
Visit Olympic National Park to take in the magnificent scenery of the area, surrounded by mountains and nature. If you adore the outdoors, you will undoubtedly love this location.
There is not just one reason to visit Olympic National Park because this place has a lot more to offer and is also considered one of the top three national parks in Washington State.
2.2.1. The Top 6 Places to Visit in the Olympic National Park
Selecting any particular spot is difficult because all the places inside the Olympic National Park are worth visiting. But still, the top 6 sites are mentioned below:
i) Ruby Beach
One location you shouldn’t miss while seeing Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach. The north cascade-based beach is known for having big patches of crimson sand when it occasionally accumulates. It is also renowned for its rock islands, commonly known as sea stacks. Photographers love this place because they can get a chance to capture some stunning coastline scenery.
ii) Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is a public beach in the Olympic National Park and is famous for hiking through the hole in the wall. During the hiking trails of the famous rock archway, you can see stunning views of the sea stacks, tide pools, and shorelines. The view of the geological formation of the Rialto beach is worthwhile after reaching its peak.
iii) The Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is counted among the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. UNESCO awarded it for being renowned as a world heritage site and biosphere reserve. Here, you may enjoy hiking paths, beautiful forest walks, photography, and quiet time in the great outdoors. The Olympic National Park is home to a magnificent rainforest, thus, a gift from nature.
iv) Enchanted Valley
Enchanted Valley is one of the greatest backpacking destinations in the Olympic National Park. Since 1930, it has been a popular tourist site and is the oldest chalet. The Enchanted Valley’s hiking trek is challenging; it takes about 4 days to finish. Yes, hiking will be time-and energy-consuming, but the rewards are great, so if you enjoy the backcountry, you shouldn’t miss this location in Olympic National Park.
v) Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is a mountainous location that offers many exciting adventure activities. Numerous sites in the Olympic National Park are good for hiking, but Hurricane Ridge also has skiing and snowboarding. You’ll adore visiting Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park if you have a spirit of an adventurer.
vi) Lake Crescent
Located 17–18 miles west of Port Angeles, Lake Crescent is a large, deep lake. Along with Beardslee trout, it is renowned for its sickle shape. You may go kayaking, sailing, boating, camping, and swimming. There are also several wheelchair-accessible campsites along Lake Crescent. This lake near Port Angeles is worth visiting. The lake’s water is bluish, and it makes amazing sounds. Therefore, don’t miss this location if you’re in Port Angeles.
2.3. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the southeastern region of Washington, established on March 2, 1899. It is one of the huge national parks in Seattle and offers a lot of adventure and exploration around the park boundaries. It’s a great place to explore; not visiting Mount Rainier National Park will be your loss.
At about 14,400 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier’s snow-capped peak attracts mountain climbers’ attention. It is known for having the highest active volcano peaks. Mount Rainier National Park features include Alpine lakes, a glacial system, and wildflower meadows. Along with all this, there are also some stunning landscapes and natural settings you have never seen before.
Did you know that the fifth national park in the United States is Mount Rainier National Park? How long it has been a popular tourist destination is obvious.
Are you interested in learning more about this location? If ‘yes,’ you should go to Mount Rainier National Park because it is one of the national parks in Washington State that offers an amazing time. You may discover more about the place’s fascinating past right here.
2.3.1. What is the Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park?
According to travel.usnews.com, July to August is the best time to visit Mount Rainier National Park because of the weather conditions. The dry and warm weather makes the windflowers transform the park’s subalpine meadows and is responsible for optimal hiking conditions. For better results in the exploration and adventures, try visiting Mount Rainier National Park between the mentioned months.
2.3.2. Things to do in Mount Rainier National Park
i) Skyline Trail
The Skyline Trail, adjacent to Panorama Point, is one of the top hiking and trekking trails in Mount Rainier National Park. There are numerous gorgeous natural landscapes, making it a really lovely location. The Skyline trek requires four to five hours, but it is well worth the effort.
ii) Myrtle Falls
Myrtle Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions outside the main paradise visitor center. It offers some stunning viewpoints off which you can’t take your eyes. If you want to see more astonishing sights at the Myrtle Falls of Mount Rainier, you should go hiking as the route is not difficult. And you will also encounter many tourists like you.
iii) The Sunrise
The Sunrise is a beautiful place to spend time with your loved ones. It has a nice visitor center where you can take a rest if you get tired while hiking. Car hiking is something remarkable that you can do to get a fantastic view of the Mount Rainier cascade range. You can consider ascending the Mount Fremont fire lookout trail in this area around sunrise by first taking the Sourdough Ridge Trail.
2.4. San Juan Island National Historical Park
San Juan Island is one of the best national parks in Washington State and is also known as the American and English camps. It was created in 1966 with the idea of peace so that nations and individuals can solve their problems peacefully without violence. Don’t you think it’s a great idea?
It is mainly known for having its resident pods of orcas, a fish species. On the island, you can mostly see orca whales or orca Orcinus and listen to their live songs, known as ‘Orca songs.’ You can see other species too, like Pacific salmon.
To watch whales during migration season, you should check out the Lime Klin State Park, located on the island’s Canadian border. This island offers some splendid views, saltwater shores, and quiet woodlands. If you get tired while exploring, you can take a rest at its visitor center.
The Oregon National Historic Trail is one of the 19 national historic trails in the entire USA and is only a few miles away from San Juan Island. You may have hiked in many national parks before, but the Oregon National Historic Trail will give you a different experience.
If you enjoy the outdoors and wildlife, you’ll enjoy this national park in the Pacific Northwest since it is a true natural wonder. The Whale Museum, the lavender farm in Pelindaba, and Eagle Cove Beach are a few locations you must see while you’re here. The National Park Service oversees the entire park.
3. State Parks in Washington State for You to Visit
3.1. Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls State Park in Eastern Washington is an ideal place for having fun and spending an extremely exciting vacation. It has a nice set of campsites and some astonishing views of Southeastern Washington. You can see three distinct views of waterfalls
It is popularly known for having live blissful waterfalls. From a distance, the sight of the waterfalls is nothing less than heaven. Although this state park lacks the variety of national parks, it does feature fantastic hiking opportunities. Therefore, it is worthwhile to travel to Palouse Falls State Park.
The best time to visit here is between April and July because of the decent climate. The weather is not that hot, and the falls are at their heaviest flows, so you’ll like the place, as weather also plays a very important role in such areas.
3.2. Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park is one of the amazing state parks in the Northwest part of Washington State that offers many gorgeous tourist spots. It’s the most visited state park in Washington. Like national parks, it provides many spectacular activities outside the park’s limits.
This state park offers magnificent vistas of the surrounding landscape, old-growth forests, and various species. You can do a ton of incredible stuff in Deception Pass State Park, and summer is the best time to visit here.
3.2.1. Exciting Things to do in Deception Pass State Park
i) Hiking Trails
The Pacific Northwest Trail is the top hiking route in Deception Pass State Park. The 1200 miles of the trail make it a fantastic option. Hiking through this state park will reward you with marvelous sights of beaches, birds, mountains, agriculture, lakes, and forts. Every vista of Deception Pass State Park will make you happy, just like the national parks in Washington State.
Swimming in Deception State Park’s ‘Cranberry Lake’ will lighten and refresh your attitude because the lake contains the cleanest water. The chilled water in the lake makes it a perfect dip during summer. While swimming, you can also listen to the chilly Puget Sound water. Cranberry Lake has a special swimming area on the lake’s western shore.
Camping in Deception State Park is a great option as there are many camping areas in the park, and they are always available. But the only campsite open in the winter is ‘Quarry Pond Campground.’ The park offers a distinctive camping experience, particularly in the winter.
The 180-foot-long Deception Pass bridge, surrounded by lush greenery, is amazing to walk on. In 1982, the state park’s bridge was designated a historic location on a national level.
3.3. Battle Ground Lake State Park
Do you enjoy being around nature? The Battle Ground Lake state park is the ideal location for you to visit. It is encircled by evergreen trees and is built around a lake formed in a volcano crater. Its history of development is interesting. While the park is full of natural beauty, it is not a gift from the natural world.
The campgrounds of Battle Ground State Park are well known. However, there’s no need to worry because the 280 acres of stunning terrain provide additional amenities besides camping. You can have a special time with your loved ones in this family-friendly setting.
3.3.1. The Lake’s Evolution
Battle Ground lake in Washington was formed as a Maar volcano. Magma, a very hot rock, is found below the earth’s surface. When magma rock encounters water, it blasts through the years-old lava flow forming the Maar volcano. This is how Battle Ground Lake got formed.
3.3.2. Things to do in Battle Ground Lake State Park
i) Mountain Biking
Mountain biking occurs in and around natural settings, including lakes, rocky outcrops, and terrain. Playing with a partner makes the sport more adventurous and interesting. Some routes you might take include bell mountain trail, cold creek, sturgeon rock, and round lake.
Camping is the main reason tourists visit here, as it has more than 50 campsites, including standard, look-partial, and primitive campsites. You can choose any of them because all of them are unmissable.
Battle Ground Lake State Park offers a good time for picnicking with your loved ones. Almost 70 unsheltered picnic tables are available at this state park, but you cannot make a reservation because they operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Since diving is an underwater sport that requires equipment and adequate direction while performing, the state park includes a specific space for it and a training facility for beginners. You will have a great time scuba diving in freshwater at this state park. The diving area is excellent for practicing, and the water is safe too.
v) Abundant Wildlife
Battle Ground Lake State Park is a center of abundant wildlife. Even after more than a century, travelers continue to come here to watch the fish. You can see many bird species, including migratory birds, woodpeckers, owls, herons, snow geese, and bald eagles.
It’s a good idea to take a break from work to plan an exciting and daring excursion to the national parks in Washington State. Because each national park in Washington State has a unique focus, they are all worthwhile visits. All the top national parks in Washington State are mentioned in this article, but my favorites are the first three, which are all in the same city, Seattle.
Washington’s state and national parks are worth visiting, and you’ll have an amazing experience exploring them. Please don’t underestimate the state parks because they also offer much more. If you still have any doubts about them, pay a visit to them and get all your doubts cleared. Book your tickets to the national parks in Washington State as soon as possible and enjoy yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- There are three national parks in Washington, plus a number of national historic sites and other federally managed areas. Washington’s most iconic park, Mount Rainier, is family-friendly and easily accessible from Seattle.
- Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee is America’s #1 state park. Besides Fall Creek Falls, the park is home to 26,000 acres of cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams and hardwood forests. For beautiful views, you can hike to one of many overlooks throughout the park.
- Deception Pass State Park is Washington’s most popular state park, with more than two million visitors a year. It also offers numerous outlets to explore the surrounding Puget Sound area
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