This article appeared on Travelers Today in June 2013. (A direct link in under Links to Articles.)
Olympic National Park, located in the northwest corner of Washington State, includes a 73-mile strip of the Pacific coastline. It’s connected to the inland area by a stretch of the Queets River that includes Mount Olympus, with temperate rainforests on the west, and dense forests on the east.
The park consists of 922,651 acres and contains more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, as well as 60 named glaciers and vast spaces for hiking and camping for those inclined.
The park is also the home to many species that are only native to the Pacific Northwest coast, and as a result, scientists have declared it a biological reserve, which they use to study the unique species that call the area home.
In addition to the beautiful natural sites, the park also includes over 650 archaeological sites.
An ecological project is also located within the park. Two dams have been removed in order to restore the Pacific salmon and steelhead trout population to the Elwha River. It’s the second-largest ecosystem-restoration project in the National Park System, according to CNN. The dam removal project was completed last spring and work on the Glines Canyon Dam is expected to reach completion this summer.
A good way to see the park is to drive the edge of the peninsula, which can be done by taking U.S. Highway 101, which goes around the Olympic Peninsula, and has access to all park destinations. However, it’s a good idea to get out of the car and walk around to be able to fully enjoy the sites the area has to offer.
The main visitor center for the park is located in Port Angeles, Washington, at 3002 Mount Angeles Road. The phone number is 360-565-3130.
In 2012, the park had over 2.8 million visitors.
President Franklin Roosevelt established the park in 1938. Prior to that, President Theodore Roosevelt created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909. Then, in 1981, it was designated as a World Heritage Site.