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Olympic National Park (30)

The Olympic National Park is located in Washington state on the Peninsula. It is over 1,400 miles and offers mountains, beaches and a temperate rainforest. It was originally established as a national park by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1938. Olympic National Park gained international recognition in 1981 as a World Heritage Site. Thousands of visitors flock to this national park each year to hike, camp or drive through one of nature's most beautiful sights.

It is best to plan ahead when visiting Olympic National Park. The park is generally divided up into three sections by ecosystems; forest, coastal and sub-alpine. While Highway 101 circles the park and has side roads that enter the park, most of Olympic National Park is not accessible by car.

There are five visitors centers located around the park. Each has different hours and services. The main visitor center is located on 3002 Mount Angeles Road. It is open daily and hours will vary according to the season. There they offer exhibits, a discovery room for kids, nature trails and films. Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open during the summer. Here visitors can view exhibits and films on Olympic's mountains. Guided walks are offered in the summer and in the winter they have guided snowshoes hikes. If you are planning to camp, a visit to the Wildness Information Center is a must. Open daily and located at 3002 Mount Angeles Road, they can advise campers on current trail conditions, weather and safety tips. Here you can also buy permits and receive maps. Forks Recreation Information Center is located on 551 S Forks Avenue is closed during the winter but offers information on the coastal area of the park. Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is located in the rain forest and is open daily during the summer and on weekends during other seasons. Here visitors can learn about Olympic's natural rain forests. They offer guided tours of the temperate rain forest area and have wilderness use permits available.

The National Park has activities year round. Fishing is a popular sport during the summer months. With hundred of lakes, over 3,000 miles of rivers and 73 miles of coast along the Pacific; both freshwater and saltwater fishing is available. The park offers brochures outlining fishing regulations and can provide visitors with permits. Salmon is abundant here as they make they way from the ocean into the rivers. This park also has endangered fishes and unique fishes such as the Mud Minnow.

Winter does not stop activities at this National Park. Here you will be able to view some of nature's most astounding views as snow blankets the mountain and ridges. There are numerous trails that are available by snowshoe, some are guided. Designated areas throughout the park offer snow skiing and snowboarding. The temperate rainforest becomes more lush and green and the coastal area are snow free with low tides.

The Olympic National Park offers something for everyone year round. Come and visit for a day or linger for a week. It will be a trip you will never forget.

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