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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

Topic: olympic national park

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July 7, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Olympic park’s Madison Falls Trail closed for improvements

The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail in Olympic National Park’s Elwha Valley has closed to public entry for three weeks beginning Monday.  Park trail crews and volunteers will make significant improvements to the trail, including construction of a new rock retaining wall, installation of new railings and trail surface, and replanting of the work area. This…

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Olympic National Park, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: elwha valley, Madison Falls, olympic national park

June 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Photo contest: Share your pictures from Washington’s national parks

We’re writing about Washington’s national parks, with stories on Mount Rainier published recently (and Olympic and North Cascades park stories coming up). Now we’re looking for Seattle Times  readers’  best images from Washington’s national parks. Submit your  spectacular scenics, wildlife shots or simply family fun. We’ll judge the best and award a $250 REI gift…

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Comments | More in Contest | Topics: mount rainier, national parks, North Cascades National Park

May 21, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Memorial Day openings for Olympic National Park campgrounds, more

Several feet of snow remain on the ground beginning at elevations above 3,000 feet, but Olympic National Park is adding a number of “open” signs to campgrounds and other facilities starting this Memorial Day weekend. The Staircase and Elwha campgrounds, both open year-round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water), add drinking water and flush…

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Comments | More in Mount Rainier National Park, national parks, Northwest, Olympic National Park | Topics: campground openings, Lake Crescent Lodge, Memorial Day

March 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Olympic moves to No. 5 among most-visited national parks

Washington state’s Olympic National Park is No. 5 on a newly issued list of 2013′s most-visited national parks in the United States. The park moved up two notches on the list from the prior year. New statistics from the National Park Service show Olympic park visitors numbered 3,085,340 last year, up from 2,824,908 in 2012. The…

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| Topics: most-visited national parks, mount rainier national park, olympic national park

February 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Free entry to national parks, forests, refuges this weekend

Celebrate this Presidents Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, Feb. 15-17, with a free visit to a national park, national forest or wildlife refuge. All three days are included as fee-free days for 2014 for parks, museums, trails and other facilities operated by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. In Washington, that includes Mount…

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Comments | More in Fees, national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: fee-free days, mount rainier, national forests

October 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Washington’s national parks happy to reopen (with sparkling fall colors)

This photo of Mount Rainier was posted Thursday on the national park's Twtiter feed with the note, "What a beautiful morning to welcome us back to Mount Rainier!" (photo courtesy of @MountRainierNPS)

This photo of Mount Rainier was posted Thursday on the national park’s Twitter feed with the note, “What a beautiful morning to welcome us back to Mount Rainier!” (photo courtesy of @MountRainierNPS)

“When I put the flag up today it felt so good,” said Ranger Maureen McLean at Mount Rainier National Park, as Rainier and Washington’s other national parks reopened Thursday.

They were among hundreds of parks,  monuments and historic sites across the nation reopening after the 16-day government shutdown.

Park gates and some visitor centers are open, but it might be a couple days before all is again running smoothly. At Rainier:

  • Gates were open Thursday morning, with the normal $15 per vehicle admission fee. Paradise and Stevens Canyon roads are
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Comments | Topics: mount rainier national park, national parks, olympic national park

October 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Olympic park lodge reopens, but you can’t walk on beach

Kalaloch Lodge, an oceanfront getaway at Olympic National Park, has reopened after getting special permission from the National Park Service. But there’s a problem. Guests aren’t allowed to walk on the lovely, wild beach right in front of the 64-room lodge because the beach lies within the national park – and the park still is closed. Like lodges…

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Comments | More in government shutdown, national parks | Topics: Kalaloch Lodge, olympic national park

October 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Recreation, economic blues as federal lands stay closed

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park's Elwha  Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown.

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park’s Elwha Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown. (AP/Keith Thorpe)

Washington’s national-park  gems — Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades — remain closed, thanks to the federal shutdown. Locals can, with some effort and confusion, figure out other places to go for scenic drives, hikes and other recreation.

But for out-of-state and foreign visitors, the national-park closures are ruining long-planned trips and have local businesses near the parks worried about lingering economic impacts.

“People come from China, Germany, everywhere to see Mount Rainier,” said

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Comments | More in federal shutdown, national parks, Northwest, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: federal lands shutown, mount rainier national park, Mount St. Helens

October 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Recreation, economic blows for state as national parks close

You can't go to Mount Rainier National Park, thanks to the government shutdown which has closed national parks in Washington and throughout the country. (Elaine Thompson/AP photo)

You can’t go to Mount Rainier National Park, thanks to the government shutdown which has closed national parks in Washington state  and throughout the country. (Elaine Thompson/AP photo)

With national parks now closed because of the government shutdown, some of Washington state’s most popular scenic drives and outdoor recreation areas are off-limits to the public. And for communities around the parks it’s an economic body-blow with hotels, restaurants, shops and tour companies losing business.

“Our fall shoulder season is huge – usually,” said Mary Brelsford of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau.  And in Mount Rainier National Park alone, there

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Comments | Topics: government shutdown, mount rainier national park, olympic national park

August 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Washington’s national parks in top 20 in new ranking

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America's 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

In a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks, Washington’s three national parks all fall in the top 20.

Olympic National Park is ranked No. 8, North Cascades National Park is ranked No. 14, and Mount Rainier National Park comes in at No. 18.

To come up with the ranking, The Active Times website, oriented to the outdoors and adventure, used three criteria: biodiversity, range of visitor activities and the opinions of an expert panel.

The panel of experts included 17 writers, landscape photographers and travel professionals who write about and study national parks and spend much more time there than the average person. Among those who helped out were Kurt Repanshek, editor of National Parks Traveler, Michael Joseph Oswald, author of “Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 58 National Parks, and nature photographer QT Luoung, who’s captured every park on his large format camera and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Recently departed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also weighed in.

Here’s the top 20 in the ranking:

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: best national parks, mount rainier national park, national parks

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