Tag: national parks

Portland Weekend Getaways: Olympic National Park

Portland Weekend Getaways: Olympic National Park

Entrance sign to the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park
Entrance sign to the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park

The Pacific Northwest of the United States is a wonderland of snow-capped mountains, lush rainforests and foggy coastlines, and the far northwest corner exemplifies all of those qualities. The Olympic Peninsula, the “top-left” corner of Washington state and the lower 48 states, is a relatively small (about 3600 square miles) area of land has more diverse landscapes than perhaps any other similarly sized piece of land anywhere in the world. The interior of the peninsula is dominated by the Olympic Mountains and protected by Olympic National Park, which also contains some non-contiguous areas along the Pacific Coast. Created in 1938, Olympic National Park is also designated by UNESCO as both a International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. You could spend weeks trekking the backcountry, exploring almost a million acres of virtually untouched wilderness. If you don’t have that much time, here are a few highlights you won’t want to miss when you visit.

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Portland Weekend Getaways: Mt. Rainier National Park

Portland Weekend Getaways: Mt. Rainier National Park

I love Oregon and tend to be biased toward our many natural treasures. But an advantage to living in Portland is having easy access to not only everything Oregon has to offer, but also the abundance of natural wonders claimed by our neighbor to the north, Washington. The crown jewel is massive Mt. Rainier, one of the earliest national parks and the 2nd tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Topping out at 14,411 feet and capped by 26 major glaciers, the mountain is visible for hundreds of miles around on a clear day. However, you don’t really appreciate Mt. Rainier until you see it up close.

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