The Three National Parks in Washington (at a Glance)

Wow! It’s already been 3 months since my move to Seattle. Those months were filled with discovering the city and the wilderness around it. The one thing I love about Seattle is that it’s just a stones throw away to the mountains and nature. It’s also easy to fit in a day/weekend trip to one of the three National Parks in Washington. When I moved here I made a goal to visit all three before the year ended. I’m happy to announce that the goal was completed last month!

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Located about an hour and a half southeast of Seattle is Mount Rainier National Park. The park is home to (of course) Mount Rainier, the tallest glacier-capped mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range. I visited the park on a day trip with a few friends back in June. It was the early in the season so we only drove down Stevens Canyon Road. There were many attractions along the road including Reflection Lakes, Louise Lake, and various waterfalls. Mount Rainier always was visible and prominent in the park, so it was difficult not to stop and capture it with the beauty around it.

When it came down to sunset and dusk, we stopped by a wooden bridge over Nisqually River and watched the mountain turn shades of pink and purple. 

2. North Cascades National Park

My sisters were in town for a weekend in July and I wanted to take them out to hike and get a taste of the PNW. I took them to North Cascades National Park, which is about 2.5 hours northeast of Seattle. Due to our time constraints we settled for a short hike. The ranger at the visitor center recommended us to do Thunder Knob Trail, which leads to a unique view of Diablo Lake.

After the hike we explored a dock near the trailhead and then drove up to the lookouts to Diablo and Ross Lake.

3. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is my favorite so far out of the three. I went for a weekend camping trip that was organized by Moment Lens. I’m glad I spent a few days there since the park is the furthest away from Seattle (about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the route taken). Our campground was near the access road to Hurricane Ridge so we drove up for sunrise and sunset. 

It wasn’t really a sunset per say, but the entire ridge was covered in quick moving fog. Still very awesome.

In retrospect, June was a great time to move to the PNW since I could enjoy the wonderful summer weather. I can’t wait for the seasons to turn so I can experience the PNW in the foggy/rainy season. My visits to these three National Parks were brief, so I hope so come back very soon.