Olympic National Park

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United States Of America >> Seattle >> Attractions >> Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

History

Standing sentinel against the fierce storms which blow in across the Pacific, the 2,428 mt tall Mt Olympus is one of the most beautiful peaks in the USA. Unlike its Greek namesake, this Mt Olympus is not the abode of powerful gods and goddesses. For very little, divine or otherwise, could hope to survive in the windswept, icy waste of that frozen summit. But Mt Olympus is, nevertheless, an important peak- and very popular among the hundreds of avid mountaineers and rock-climbers who attempt to conquer it, or just view it from the surrounding region, that of Olympic National Park. Olympic National Park is situated in the north-western region of the state of Washington, roughly in the centre of what is known as the Olympic Peninsula. The park stretches inland from the ragged coastline of Washington State, covering a vast expanse of icebound mountain ranges, damp green rainforests and grasslands. Within this area are many discoveries to be made- just let serendipity take over. Waterfalls, rippling brooks, glaciers (266 of them!), alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers, hot springs, quiet beaches- really not much missing here. Olympic National Park's diversity of terrain results in a corresponding diversity of animal life. Along the beaches you can see otters, seals and plenty of seabirds. Further inland is more wildlife- black bear, mountain lion, Roosevelt elk, marmot, fox, black-tailed deer and a large number of small mammals, reptiles and birds. The park has two visitor centres- the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Centre and the Olympic Park Visitor Centre- besides a Ranger Station (Hoodsport). Information and assistance are readily available at all three places. In addition, interpretative programmes, nature study walks and park-specific discussions are arranged by the park authorities.

Best time to visit

Olympic National Park remains open throughout the year, but summer is quite definitely the best time to visit. Winters, besides being freezing- quite literally- are low season, and you might find some roads and facilities closed. Time your trip for between April and October, but take along your woollens anyway- high altitude areas are cold throughout the year.

Trivia

Hike, cycle, fish, climb, canoe, kayak, go white-water rafting along the Hoh, Queets, Sol Duc or Quinault Rivers- just get a taste of wild America at its best.

Timing

All visitors to Olympic National Park need an entry permit, costing US$ 5 per person. Permits valid for a week may be collected at the park entrances at Hurricane Ridge, Elwha, Sol Duc, Hoh, Staircase, and Heart o' the Hills. Annual passes are also issued by the park, for US$ 15. Extra charges are levied for vehicles, tours, fishing licenses and use of facilities within the park. American citizens are eligible for lifetime passes, which allow entry to all the national parks in the country. These passes are free for those with permanent disabilities, and cost a nominal amount- between US$ 10 and 50- for everybody else.


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