America: land of the free, home of the brave, and site of some of the greatest national parks in the world. Featuring 58 national parks, all of which are well worth visiting, the United States provides nature lovers with plenty to see and do. But with so many parks to choose from, even the most avid outdoor enthusiasts probably won’t have the time to see them all. So here are five that you must visit.
Olympic National Park – Washington
Olympic National Park is like a highlight reel of all the great things nature has to offer. The park features three distinct ecosystems: Coast, Forest, and Mountains. That’s right; within nearly one million acres of park land, visitors can explore numerous Pacific Coast beaches, countless acres of lowland and temperate rain forests, and the glacier-capped peaks and mountains surrounding Mount Olympus. If it sounds overwhelming, that’s because it is. There is so much to do and see that a single weekend trip might not suffice. Experienced hikers and mountaineers have plenty of intense, snowy peaks to summit, while more casual visitors can use roads
similar vistas, Hurricane Ridge being the most popular.
The west side of the park is populated by temperate rain forests (such as Hoh Rain Forest), which gain over 12 feet of rain per year, while the east side is filled with lush valleys of forests, rivers and lakes. As if that wasn’t enough, 73 miles of Pacific coastline comprise beaches of all types, rocky cliffs, and rugged wilderness.
On that note, 95 percent of the park is designated as wilderness, making Olympic National Park one of the finest examples of West Coast nature.