As well as spectacular sights and recreational opportunities the Pacific Northwest is also home to a variety of wildlife: bears and moose are both common, while along the rugged coastline, eagles and whales are frequent sights.
In addition to enjoying its expansive plains, mountains and coastal scenery, you shouldn't miss seeing the results of the volcanic power at Mount St. Helens.
Pacific Northwest highlights
Olympic National Park
Situated in northwest Washington, where the forest meets the Pacific coast, Olympic National Park combines snow-capped peaks and lush rainforest. At its centre is Mount Olympus, one of more than 260 glacier-riven peaks in the park. The park offers a number of outdoor activities including hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, climbing and beachcombing, or for something more relaxing take a dip at the Sol Duc hot springs, a series of geothermal mineral pools. We can also arrange a guided tour of the national park with a ranger.
Mount St. Helens
One of the Northwest's most impressive attractions is Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. A huge eruption took place here in 1980, and a guided tour gives a fascinating insight into the impact of the event. An expert naturalist will lead you through areas of interest within the blast zone, including views into the smoking volcano.
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Crater Lake National Park
Despite Oregon's beauty, Crater Lake National Park is the state's only national park. Rolling mountains, volcanic peaks and evergreen forests surround this enormous lake, a sacred place for the Klamath Native Americans for thousands of years. The lake's intense blue colour and the surrounding scenery make this a breath-taking place to visit.
Mount Rainier National Park
This part of the Cascade Mountains lies in the west of Washington state, about 30 miles northeast of Mount St. Helens. Mount Rainer National Park's abundant wildlife includes deer, Roosevelt elk, bears and mountain goats, and there are more than 100 bird species to be found. One of the most scenic drives runs from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise, winding through river valleys, lowland forests and glaciated peaks, with a variety of walking trails to be found along the way.
North Cascades National Park
Jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers fill North Cascades National Park – more than half of all the glaciers in the contiguous USA. The area is a haven for wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, beavers, mountain goats, cougars and wolves. One of the best ways to explore is by driving the Cascade Loop, which encompasses the park's magnificent mountain scenery.