5 Washington National and State Parks to Visit this Summer

Washington State offers an incredible array of natural beauty, and among its most treasured assets are its national and state parks. These protected areas showcase the diverse landscapes and ecosystems found only in the Pacific Northwest, attracting millions of visitors each year. This summer and beyond, check out these five awe-inspiring Washington parks.

Mount Rainer National Park

Pierce County

Dominated by the majestic Mount Rainier, an active volcano and the highest peak in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainer National Park is a paradise for hikers and mountaineers. The Wonderland Trail, for example, is a popular trek boasting a 93-mile loop around the mountain, taking visitors through diverse landscapes, including alpine meadows, overgrown forests and glaciers. The park also features subalpine wildflower meadows, beautiful waterfalls and picture-worthy viewpoints.
Hours: Open all year, 24 hours a day.
Fees: Standard entrance pass is $15.
For more information: nps.gov.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Castle Rock

While not a traditional national park, Mount St. Helens holds a unique place in Washington State’s landscape. The monument was established to preserve the aftermath of the catastrophic 1980 eruption that dramatically altered the surrounding terrain. Visitors can witness the strength of nature as life gradually returns to the once-devastated landscape, and they can also learn about the powerful forces of volcanic activity at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fees: $5 per vehicle and $15 to climb.
For more information: mshslc.org.


North Cascades National Park


Often referred to as the “American Alps,” the North Cascades National Park is characterized by its rugged, mountainous terrain and abundant glaciers. The park is just three hours north of Seattle and is a part of the larger North Cascades National Park Complex, which also includes the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Popular activities here include hiking, boating and fishing, offering visitors a chance to explore the vast wilderness and experience the serenity of the surrounding landscapes. 
Hours: Open all year, 24 hours a day.
Fees: Free.
For more information: nps.gov.

Deception Pass State Park

Oak Harbor

Deception Pass State Park, a captivating destination in the Pacific Northwest, enchants visitors with its wild beauty. Whether exploring scenic trails, camping under the stars or delving into the region’s rich heritage, the park offers an unforgettable experience for everyone. For those looking to indulge themselves in a hike, one of the most popular ventures is Deception Pass Loop Trail, which takes visitors across the bridges and provides stunning views of the surrounding water, cliffs and forested areas. This Washington park also serves as a haven for nature photographers, boasting diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife, including bald eagles, seabirds, marine animals, deer, seals and other mammals.
Hours: Open all year, 24 hours a day.
Fees: Requires a $5 Discover Pass.
For more information: parks.wa.go.


Olympic National Park

Port Angeles

Situated on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park encompasses more than 922,000 acres. Olympic National Park is renowned for its unique features, including temperate rainforests, mountains, pristine lakes and a rugged coastline. The iconic Hurricane Ridge offers stunning vistas of the Olympic Mountains, while the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the wettest places in the United States, showcases lush moss-covered trees. The Washington parks is also home to several rivers, such as the Elwha and Quinault, which are essential habitats for various fish and wildlife species.
Hours: Open all year, 24 hours a day.
Fees: $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle or $15 for individuals entering on foot or bicycle. Entrance fees are good for seven consecutive days. 
For more information: nps.gov.

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