Best 5 National Parks in Pacific Northwest

When it comes to scenic national parks, the Pacific Northwest region has certainly no shortage of beautiful national parks. Choosing five of the best national parks in the Pacific Northwest is “no picnic” since we have so many favorites. For instance, the North Cascades NP, the Lassen Volcanic NP and Point Reyes National Seashore (in northern California)...they are simply stunning!

However, after much long and careful consideration, the team here at Mytravelguideposts has concluded that the following should be include on the list of best 5 national parks in Pacific Northwest. They’re as follows:

1. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

National parks in the Pacific Northwest don’t come more spectacular than the beautiful Crater Lake NP in the state of Oregon. Crater Lake is easily one of the most breathtaking places you can visit on the west coast of USA because of the remarkable scenery. The “deep blue” color of the lake is mesmerizing and the hike to the top of the watchtower (along Watchmen Peak Trail) offers really memorable views of Crater Lake!
Best 5 National Parks in Pacific Northwest

Saying this, hiking isn’t the only way to enjoy a trip to Crater Lake. You can take a nice scenic drive along the “Rim Drive”, which boasts dozens of pull-outs that offer even more spectacular views of Crater Lake.

You’ll also be able to enjoy sightseeing tours of the park onboard a “San Francisco trolley" look-a-like as well as joining boat tours to the volcanic island of Wizard Island, which offers superb opportunities for arduous hiking.

2. Mount Rainier NP, Washington

A close second, it’s Mount Rainier NP. This national park is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful national parks in Washington State and it's up there with the best national parks in the country (Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP, Grand Canyon NP, etc).

Mount Rainier NP is a true paradise for mountaineers and hikers and some of the most glorious hiking trails in the nation can be found there...Wonderland Trail, Rampart Ridge and Paradise Trail are probably the most popular hiking trails in the park, though there are dozens more places you can hike in Mt Rainier such as Comet Falls, Mowich Lake, Tipsoo Lake and Grove of the Patriarchs (home to ancient giant trees over 1,000 years old).

Besides hiking, camping and mountaineering, you’ll be able to enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Crystal Mountain ski resort.

3. Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park may seem a bit of trek to get to, yet it's still one of the best 5 national parks in Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure of a lifetime Denali NP surely won’t disappoint you!

For starters, Denali NP is home to Mount McKinley (the tallest peak in the US), which is a superb destination to do some serious hiking and mountaineering. Wildlife viewing at Denali is also the best in the country and you can expect to see great wildlife such as grizzly bears, Dall sheep and moose.

Other fun things you can do in Denali NP besides whitewater rafting, kayaking and biking at the Denali Outdoor Center include:

- join a narrated sightseeing tour
- stay in a traditional Alaskan homestead lodge
- ride a sled dog
- go on an ATV adventure
- see Wonder Lake up-close
- enjoy a dinner show at the Alaskan Cabin Nite
- join a shuttle bus tour to explore the scenic Park Road

4. Glacier National Park, Montana

Perched on the northwestern section of the state of Montana you’ll find Glacier National Park, which is most famously known for the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This scenic route is no doubt, one of the main reasons people visit Glacier NP in the first place because there’s simply no other road quite like it in the United States.

The “Going-to-the-Sun Road” is a little over 50 miles long and because it crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass you get to enjoy magnificent views of the Purple Mountains. The "Going-to-the-Sun Road" offers, unarguably, one of the best driving experiences in the Pacific Northwest and along the way you’ll be able to stop at different points to enjoy the majestic views of mountains, waterfalls, and lush forests.

Besides scenic drives, Glacier NP offers ample opportunities for biking in Logan Pass, hiking along Avalanche Lake, boat fishing in Lake McDonald and boat cruising along Swiftcurrent Lake.

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Sitting high on the Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic National Park is another national park that Washington State can proudly boast about. There’s something special about the Olympic NP and you’ll know what it is the minute you drive up to the Hurricane Ridge visitor’s center.

The drive to Hurricane Ridge from Port Angeles feels like driving up to the top of the world! From the top, you get to experience the most captivating views of snow-capped peaks and pristine forests ever!

Sure enough, hiking through the Hoh Rain and Quinault Rain forests is a top attraction in the park, though it’s the views of the Pacific Ocean and the scenic beaches of Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach the reason the Olympic NP is such a revered place. Both Rialto and Ruby beaches offer nice opportunities for taking photos, beach walks, beachcombing, picnicking, sunset watching, bird spotting and beach camping.

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