Created on: January 27, 2013 Last Updated: January 28, 2013
Washington state is home to three national parks: North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park, which is on Seattle's doorstep. The other two national parks are much more remote, and are not always accessible by car.
This national park is the northernmost of Washington's national parks. It consists of three separate park units, unified within the Stephen Mather Wilderness. There are no entrance fees, but there is a charge to camp at some campgrounds.
The park is open all year, although some roads, campgrounds and visitor facilities close in winter. High elevation trails above 2,000 feet, including the Pacific Crest Trail, will usually have some snow cover between October and July.
At all times of the year, hikers should be prepared for precipitation and sudden changes of weather. The western slopes of the Cascades are usually much wetter than the eastern slopes. The driest time of year is normally high summer from July to September.
Between April and November, North Cascades National Park can be reached from State Route 20 (the North Cascades Highway). State Route 20 beyond Washington Pass is closed in winter, and other parts of State Route 20 may also be closed because of weather. The Ross Lake National Recreational Area is also accessible from the north by the Silver-Skragit gravel road, which descends from Hope, British Columbia.
The Lake Chelan National Recreational Area and Stehekin Valley cannot be reached by car. It is accessible by passenger ferry, or by airplane from Chelan.
This national park is the westernmost of Washington's national parks. The Hoh and the Quileute native peoples both have reserves within the park. Olympic National Park has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.
Park fees for single visits are charged by the car, or by the individual on smaller vehicles or other modes of transportation. Additional fees apply for camping or backcountry permits.
The park is open all year, although some roads, campgrounds, and visitor facilities close in winter. High-elevation trails above 2,000 feet will usually have some snow cover between October and July. Trail sections that run along the beach are often completely covered during high tide.
At all times of the year, hikers should be prepared for precipitation and sudden changes of weather. The western mountain slopes are much wetter than the eastern slopes. For example, the temperate
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