Washington State finds 17 National Park site that traverse the state, including National Parks, historical sites, recreational areas and more. Three of the units in Washington are among the 63 of the major national parks that are administered by the department.
The Following are the major National Parks of Washington.
Mount Rainier National Park
One of my favorite national parks, Mount Rainier is the park that protects the 14,410 ft. stratovolcano that is the park’s namesake. Established in 1899 as the fourth US National Park, the boundaries protect over 230,000 acres of nature.
North Cascades National Park
Established in 1968, North Cascades National Park is large and surprisingly one of the least visited major national parks. I knew very little about the park before visiting but was quickly surprised how beautiful it is. It has several great view points and is a bit odd with it’s mixed use with hydropower. The mix of glacial lakes, beautiful flora and fauna, and lack of crowds make it a perfect place to get away from it all.
Olympic National Park
Established in 1938, Olympic is a massive 922,000 acre National Park on the Olympic peninsula in Washington. Much of the park is actually only accessible by foot and getting between places can take hours. The Park consists of temperate rainforests, alpine mountains, subalpine forest, and rugged coastlines. You can even visit the western-most point of the continental US within it’s borders.
Created in 1966, the park consists of several hundred acres protecting the areas around the American and British Camps. The camps were formed during the strange events that came to be known as the War of the Pig. Have you heard of the war? Click in to learn about the history and how to explore this fascinating park.
Ebey’s Landing is a rural National Park Reserve on Whitby Island in Puget Sound. The park protects some of the earliest western settlements in the area. The park was founded in 1978 and tries to keep many of the houses and farms as they were from their foundation. The beautiful views and lovely hikes are a highlight of visits here.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
Established in 1946, this park consists of over 100,000 acres and consists of the 130 mile long Franklin D. Roosevelt lake and the Grand Coulee Dam. The park has opportunities for a variety of watersports, hiking, and camping along the river. the Dam also gives a great view point of the lake and surrounding area.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site
In 1847, Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa and 11 others were slain by Native Americans of the Cayuse tribe. The Whitmans’ had come to spread the gospel and help travelers along the Oregon Trail and the locals become more and more distrustful of the foreigners constantly coming west through their lands. Five Cayuse’s who were likely not even guilty of the crime were hanged for the murders, capping off a tragic event for all sides of this event.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Designated in 1961, this unit protects the historic fur trading post of Fort Vancouver as well as the residence of John McLoughlin (in Oregon – designated in 2003). The majority of the site is in Washington with the small shared unit in Oregon.
Klondike Gold Rush (Seattle Unit)
The Klondike Gold Rush brings to mind visions of hordes searching for gold among the cold, harsh climate of the Klondike. The national park is divided into two units, the museum and visitor center in Seattle and the larger unit with museum and trails in Skagway Alaska. The Seattle museum is fascinating following the history of folks arriving in Seattle and making their way north for fortune.
Manhattan Project National Historical Park
The Manhattan Project National Historic Park follows the story of the bomb across 3 sites across various Manhattan Project sites in the US. While the number of Manhattan project sites is larger than just these 3, these are the ones that contain publicly accessible museums and sites for the general public. This park is in Hanford Washington. The two other units of this park are in Tennessee (Oak Ridge) and New Mexico (Los Alamos)
Minidoka, the Japanese Internment Camp is a part of one of the saddest chapters of American History. The Camp preserves the remains of Minidoka camp and the Bainbridge Island Memorial. The majority of the park is in Idaho, with Bainbridge Island Memorial the area that’s in Washington State.
Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Part of the North Cascades National Park complex, Ross Lake is a national recreation area with a resort and access to various water activities. It’s managed with North Cascades although on the NP maps it is shown separate (and has it’s own National Park Cancellation Stamp).
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
Also managed as part of the North Cascades National Park complex, Lake Chelan consists of nearly 62,000 acres protecting the lake and nearby area. The lake can be accessed both within the North Cascades National Park as well as from several towns that surround the lake to the south such as the town of Chelan, Washington.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
One of the most famous duo’s in US history, the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park documents the incredible journey of the Corps of Discovery to Oregon. The park does span Oregon and Washington with the main area to visit of Fort Clatsop in Astoria Oregon. The park was established in 1958 and protects the Fort and several other sites between the two states.
National Trails are trails that often span across states for various geological or historical nature. Two of these trails traverse the state of Washington. They are also national park units (with cancellation stamps) but are so diverse and connect across various parks and other sites that its not necessarily just one spot to visit.
Ice Age Floods National Geological Trail
The Ice Age Floods trail covers 16,000 square miles and spans the 4 states (Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon). The trail connects various different national and state park lands and brings visitors through areas that were carved by glaciers and flooding during the last ice age.
Oregon National Historic Trail
Certainly one of the most famous of America’s historic trails. The Oregon trail follows more than 2000 miles and cross states from it’s start in Independence Missouri through it’s terminus in Astoria Oregon. There are an incredible amount of places to visit along the trail including several other National Park units.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail runs about 4,900 miles from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Astoria Oregon. Across the trail you can visit quite a few National Park and State Park sites that comprised the journey of the Corps of Discovery. It follows the historical trail of the Corps as well as the preparatory sections between Pennsylvania and Illinois
Check out Nearby States National Park Sites