The Majesty of the 3 National Parks in the State of Washington

Mountain High


Each of the three National Parks in the State of Washington have mountain peaks and glaciers. There are other similarities to be found in them, and yet...just like every other National Park in the United States...there are also things unique to each park.


Come along on a journey of exploration to Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks and find out a little bit about what makes each location special.


If you are planning a vacation trip to the northwest part of our country, you might wish to spend some time reading about these national parks in order to better plan your trip.


One of Washington's Majestic National Parks

Wild flowers and Sahale Peak. Taken while hiking up the Sahale Arm in the North Cascades, Washington, US.
Wild flowers and Sahale Peak. Taken while hiking up the Sahale Arm in the North Cascades, Washington, US. | Source

Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier reflected in Reflection lake.
Mt. Rainier reflected in Reflection lake. | Source
Subalpine meadows at Sunrise
Subalpine meadows at Sunrise | Source
Mowich Lake in Mount Rainier National Park
Mowich Lake in Mount Rainier National Park | Source
Sarvent Glacier
Sarvent Glacier | Source
Purple Monkeyflower seen in bloom around Mount Rainier.
Purple Monkeyflower seen in bloom around Mount Rainier. | Source
Rainier Pleated Gentian
Rainier Pleated Gentian | Source
Hoary Marmot
Hoary Marmot | Source

Mount Rainier National Park



This majestic snow covered mountain top dominating the landscape in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington and seen from further places away as well...is an active volcano. Its towering height of over 14,000 feet sets Mount Rainier apart from its neighboring peaks and is a spectacle of beauty when it is in slumbering mode.



In actuality, even when slumbering...it is like a person who tosses and turns and snores...making for people around this site awake and watchful. Volcanologists and seismologists continually monitor Mount Rainier in order to warn nearby residents of an impending disaster if it were to be predicted so as to avoid unnecessary loss of life.



Having its origins from the earth's fiery interior, molten lava would have extruded through cracks onto the earth's surface some million years ago or so and layer upon layer of melted rock and debris left it standing about 1,000 feet even higher than viewed as it is today. A major eruption blew off the top of the volcano leaving the current shape of the concave summit about 2,500 years ago geologists speculate.



Even today minor earthquakes are recorded and the rivers of water under the glaciers and forming the icy and rock strewn glaciers are a constant reminder that this restless mountain is one of which to be respectful. Steam vents spew forth sulfuric gases. Most of the glaciers continually advance and/or recede depending upon weather conditions creating deep crevasses and other hazards. One thing is certain. Mount Rainier is not a static place but ever changing.



People have been drawn to this lofty site of Mount Rainier to challenge their wit and skills in mountain climbing. Unfortunately a few lose their lives each year...but it never stops others from trying.



For those intrepid people who dare hiking among the glaciers, there are some spectacular ice caves that have been formed from warm air currents and apparently Paradise Ice Caves is one such site that has regaled people with its beauty and color near the edge of the receding Paradise Glacier...just one of numerous glaciers flowing down the sides of Mount Rainier.


Spring, Summer and Fall brings about a burst of life from seasonal flowers, trees and shrubs and many animals that hibernate during the winter are out and about feasting and storing up food for the long slumber ahead as Winter once again arrives.


Of course one does not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy this National Park in the State of Washington. There are many other activities.




To read about some of these activities and more information about Mount Rainier National Park, please read the articles written by other Hubpage authors below.




Inside a crevasse on Mt. Rainier's Nisqually Glacier

Mt Rainier Music Video - Mount Rainier National Park DVD

North Cascades National Park

Mt. Despair in the North Cascades National Park
Mt. Despair in the North Cascades National Park | Source
Cascade Pass
Cascade Pass | Source
McAllister Glacier
McAllister Glacier | Source
 Subalpine Fir (center) among Tsuga mertensiana, Lower Thornton Lake, 4486 feet, 1367 m (behind)
Subalpine Fir (center) among Tsuga mertensiana, Lower Thornton Lake, 4486 feet, 1367 m (behind) | Source
 Sooty Grouse
Sooty Grouse | Source

North Cascades National Park


Diversity is surely a good word to describe this immense National Park within the northern reaches of the State of Washington. The North Cascades National Park borders Canada to the north.


Found in the bio-diverse eight life zones are countless forms of plant and animal life. Naturalists would naturally be drawn to this primitive landscape that includes glacier sculpted mountains, valleys and lakes. There are hundreds of mountain peaks and hundreds of glaciers. In fact...in the lower 48 States of the U.S. more numbers of glaciers can be found in this one park system than anywhere else.


Ross Lake in the Ross Lake Recreation Area to the northeast and Lake Chelan in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area in the southeast portions of the National Park are two of the largest lakes which provide aquatic recreational activities.


Scenic Highway 20 bisects the North Cascades National Park from east to west going through the Ross Lake Recreation Area.


There was once mining that took place here. Prospectors once labored for the hopes of finding gold, silver, and copper. Horseshoe Basin leaves evidence behind of those efforts from years long ago and hikers often start their journey from one point which was once a service road to the mines.


From deep and dark forests with trees like the Douglas Fir which can soar to heights of 300 feet to the tiniest of alpine flowers at upper elevations, photographers of plant life will have much to study and capture with their cameras.


Also, from the tiniest of insects to a variety of birds and mammals that range from cute little chipmunks to the mountain goats, bears and secretive mountain lions.....there are hundreds of species of which to admire.


The immensity of this park could keep visitors entertained for years in the various seasons and it would be difficult to see it all.




North Cascades National Park Hike

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park | Source
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park | Source
Hurricane Ridge Trail in Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge Trail in Olympic National Park | Source
Vista from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Mountains, Washington
Vista from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Mountains, Washington | Source
Coarse woody debris in mountain stream
Coarse woody debris in mountain stream | Source
 Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Coast Deer male
Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Coast Deer male | Source

Olympic National Park


One year towards the end of our vacation which started in Seattle and which took us to Vancouver, and Vancouver Island, we crossed by ferry back to Port Angeles to visit a friend for a day and night before returning to Seattle to catch our plane ride back to Houston, Texas.


She had lived in Port Angeles for many years and had a deep love for the natural beauty which surrounded her. She told my mother and me many things about the Olympic National Park and advised us to drive up to Hurricane Ridge to see spectacular views from the top.


Unfortunately after driving for just a short time, the fog and clouds made visibility a major problem, and with some careful effort I was able to turn around and head back down the mountain. We did enjoy a wonderful meal at Lake Crescent so enjoyed that part of the park for a brief time.


Thus our exploration of this Pacific coast National Park which has scenery along the shore such as the sea stacks rising up out of the water like so many alert sentry lookouts standing at attention seaward of the tide pools and sandy beaches will have to wait for another time.


In addition to the coastline views, there is actually a rainforest within the park that often gets 140 inches of rainfall a year. I would love to see the forested areas, mosses and ferns, wildflowers on the forest floor and mushrooms and fungi among other things commonly found within such a unique biosphere.


Mount Olympus is the park's highest mountain peak and it is tall enough at just shy of 8,000 feet to have several glaciers gracing its slopes. There are rivers and waterfalls within the boundaries of this park and a variety of plant and animal life.




See what other HubPage writers have written about their experiences with this National Park.


Queets Rainforest - Olympic National Park - Washington State

Olympic National Park Pt. 1

Which of these National Parks have you visited?

  • Mount Rainier
  • North Cascades
  • Olympic National Park
  • Two of them.
  • All 3 of them.
  • None of them yet, but they are on my bucket list.
See results without voting

Olympic National Park Pt. 2

Please Rate this Article. THANKS!

5 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of The 3 National Parks in the State of Washington

Location of the 3 National Parks in the State of Washington

show route and directions
A markerMount Rainier National Park -
Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238 Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304, USA
[get directions]

B markerNorth Cascades National Park -
North Cascades National Park, 7280 Ranger Station Rd, Marblemount, WA 98267, USA
[get directions]

C markerOlympic National Park -
Olympic National Park, Amanda Park, WA, USA
[get directions]

© 2013 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 92 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Holle,

I hope you do make a trip out west someday. There is SO MUCH beauty in that location of our country. In reality every one of our states has its own distinctive areas of beauty. The majesty of the mountains, numerous state and national parks and Pacific coastline just make the west really special.


habee profile image

habee 6 months ago from Georgia

If I ever make it out West, I'd love to see Mt. Rainier. Beautiful hub, and it provides lots of great info.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Rochelle,

You certainly picked a glorious time of year for your visit to Mount Rainier and lucked out with that abundant flower show. Some years are better than others. Nice!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

We visited Mt. Rainier many years ago when it happened to be a particularly excellent season of wildflowers. Hillsides were covered with patches of lupines, or lilies, or mixed swaths of multi colors and various sorts. Never had seen so many wildflowers in my life. With the background of the majestic mountain, it was astounding and glorious.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Shyron,

I just love the northwest part of our country. Such astounding beauty there! Thanks for your comment, votes and the pin.


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