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Olympic National Park - Washington

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If you love the color green, Olympic National Park. With plenty of rain throughout the year, the park is in a constant state of insanely beautiful green. It contains 922,651 acres including glacier-capped mountains, 60 miles of wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old growth and temperate rain forest. There are over 1,100 species of native plants, 300 species of birds and 70 species of mammals. My personal favorites are the waterfalls, which fall from cliff faces into pools of crystal clear water.

Olympic Trivia

1. Ninety five percent of the park is designated wilderness, offering visitors a chance to experience the park's amazing diversity in its natural and pristine state.

2. The isolation and diverse habitats of the Olympic Peninsula have led to the development of a variety of endemic species -- at least 15 kinds of animals and 8 kinds of plants are found at Olympic and no where else on earth.

3. Olympic protects 3,500 miles of streams, rivers and creeks, which provide home to 29 species of native freshwater fish. These waterways are also host to 54 unique populations of Pacific salmon and steelhead, which use both fresh and saltwater during their life cycle. Sorry, but you have to leave the fly fishing rods at home.

Olympic Attractions

1. On clear days, Hurricane Ridge boasts stunning views of both the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On foggy days, the close-up views of subalpine firs, wildflowers or snow are just as beautiful.

2. Entering the temperate rain forest at the Hoh, Quinault or Queets valleys is like entering a world of green. Over 12 feet of rain fall in these valleys each year, creating a forest where trees reach over 200 feet in height and are covered with carpets of ferns, mosses and other epiphytes.

3. When the tide recedes, tide pools offer glimpses of a world apart. Giant green anemones wave their tentacles alongside orange and purple sea stars, while limpets graze on tiny algae. Be sure to check tide charts before you venture out - tide pools are covered by sea water half of the time!

4. With more than 600 miles of trail, there's endless opportunity for discovery at Olympic. A number of universally accessible trails are available, providing close-up views of beach, forest and meadow for visitors of all ages, whether on foot, in wheelchairs or riding in strollers.

Sorry, but I still can't get over how green this park is. If you get a chance to visit Olympic National Park, don't miss it.

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