The 17 National Parks in Washington State: How & Why to See Each One!

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Last Updated on: 19th April 2023, 10:59 pm

I’m obsessed with visiting US national parks, so when I got the chance to visit some of the national parks in Washington state last month – I jumped at the chance!

This list is for anyone looking for a complete list of Washington national parks and National Parks Service sites.

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - Stephanie Craig in front of the Olympic National Park Sign

Below, I list all of the national parks in Washington, describe what makes each park worth visiting and include tips from my own Washington NPS travels.

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The 17 National Parks in Washington State How & Why to See Each One!

Washington State Vacation at a Glance

Do you still need to finalize transportation, tours, or accommodations? Here are my recs to ensure a smooth Washington State vacation.

Popular Washington Tours + Tickets

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Seattle Space Needle Ticket

Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle

Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market

Seattle Underground Walking Tour

Highly Rated Washington State Hotels

Seattle: Seattle Gaslight Inn

Tacoma: Silver Cloud Hotel Tacoma at Point Ruston Waterfront

Olympic Peninsula: Resort at Port Ludlow (I stayed here!)

Find more Washington hotels, vacation rentals, and hostels on

Odds and Ends

For independent travel, rent a car via Discover Cars

Grab a guidebook to Washington State (I use this!)

Book an affordable family vacation photographer in Seattle. (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

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Washington National Parks Tours

Planning a visit to Washington’s national parks? There are so many great things to see and do at the parks – you won’t run out of ideas! These are the three most popular Washington national parks tours and day trips to help you get started planning your trip!

Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle

Olympic National Park Small-Group Tour from Seattle

Seattle, Olympic & Mount Rainier National Park 4-Day Tour

How Many Washington National Parks are there?

Most people only mention the “Big 3” when they talk about the national parks in Washington State.

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I this does a disservice to the National Park Service sites in Washington State that are classified as something else, including historic sites, national recreation areas, and historical trails – all of which are special places to visit!

So to get down to the nitty-gritty, here is a count of the Official Units of the National Park System in Washington State by type:

3 National Parks

5 National Historical Parks

3 National Historic Sites

2 National Historic Trails

1 Affiliated Area

1 National Geologic Trail

1 National Historical Reserve

1 National Recreation Area

And all of them – yes each of these seventeen Washington parks – has something special to offer!

My Experiences Visiting National Parks in Washington

My goal is to visit all 63 US National Parks and as many NPS sites as I can, and I’ve currently been to 21 national parks and 60 National Parks Service units.

So while I haven’t gotten to my goals yet – I am always excited when I get to spend a day visiting national parks – and the NPS sites in Washington state were no exception!

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - Stephanie Craig on the Marymere Falls Trail

I have visited five of the seventeen NPS units in Washington:

Olympic National Park

Ice Age Floods National Geographic Trail

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Minidoka National Historic Site

Oregon National Historic Trail

I saw two others from afar – Mount Rainer National Park and San Juan Island National Historical Park – but we didn’t have time to visit them on our trip.

Since I still need to see Mount Rainer NP and North Cascades NP, I can’t wait to go back!

The Complete List of National Parks in Washington State – and Official NPS Units

Here we go!

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Enjoy a walk on the beach while taking in the stunning views of the landscape at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Located on Whidbey Island across from Port Townsend, this reserve was created in 1978 and it’s the first historic reserve in the United States.

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Today, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve protects the historical record of Puget Sound while offering amazing opportunities for outdoor activities.

Washington - National Parks - Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Visitors will enjoy a lot of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, and picnicking.

Beyond recreation, this is a place for learning about the rich history of this area, including both the stories of the Native American tribes that call the Salish Sea home for millennia as well as the European Americans and other settlers who moved to the area in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Ebey’s National Reserve is also home to three Washington state parks: Fort Casey, Fort Ebey, and Ebey’s Landing.

This is great for would-be campers, as camping isn’t allowed on the properties owned by the NPS but camping is allowed at Fort Ebey State Park and Fort Casey State Park – though make your reservations early!

Popular hiking trails here include the Bluff Loop Trail and the Pratt Loop Trail.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Located across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, Washington, this Fort Vancouver National Historic Site marks the terminus of the Oregon Trail.

Fort Vancouver played a big role in the development of the Oregon territory and the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, the first school, hospital, trading center, and sawmill in the Oregon territory were established here in the fort.

While you are here, explore the trading fort to see the blacksmith area, palisade wall, jail, kitchen, and other historic areas.

Washington - National Parks - Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

You can also enjoy the outdoors at Fort Vancouver by picnicking, bicycling, and walking the Spruce Mill Trail.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site offers Lantern Tours from October to March every year so if your trip here falls during that time, you get to explore the fort with a Park Ranger by lantern!

Check the schedule for Park Ranger-led history presentation and saber classes in the summer.

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Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail is a network that connects sites created by the Missoula Flood which took place 14,000 years ago.

This biggest documented flood left behind lakes, ridges, canyons, and valleys.

Washington - LaCrosse - Palouse Falls State Park - Palouse Falls - Stephanie Craig

Aside from Washington, this geologic trail has sites in neighboring Montanna, Oregon, and Idaho – making it a great trail to follow as part of a larger northwest US road trip!

It features several interpretative centers which visitors can explore across the regions.

One of the favorite stops on this trail is Palouse Falls State Park which is Washington state’s official state waterfall.

Washington - LaCrosse - Palouse Falls State Park - Palouse Falls - Palouse River Canyon

This was one of my highlights in Washington State – the waterfall is stunning and is one of the last remaining waterfalls created by the Ice Age floods.

The surrounding area is a great place to learn about how the Ice Age floods affected the landscape around you.

Washington state stops on the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail:

Beacon Rock

Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside State Park

Cape Disappointment State

Columbia Hills Historical State Park

Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark

Ephrata Eratic Fan

Ginkgo Petrified Forest National Natural Landmark

Grand Coulee National Natural Landmark

Great Gravel Bar of Moses Coulee National Natural Landmark

Ice Age Playground at Spokane’s Riverfront Park

Lyons Ferry State Park

Palouse Falls State Park

Reach Museum

Scooteney Reservoir

Steamboat Rock State Park

Sun Lakes – Dry Falls State Park

Tualatin Ice Age Walking Trail

Wallula Gap National Natural Landmark

Yakima Sportsman State Park

Read next: 17 Things to Do in Palouse Falls State Park and How to Visit Palouse Falls

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Seattle Unit)

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s.

It started when Skookum Jim and his family found gold near the Klondike River in 1896, sparking a frantic gold rush in the region.

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Many gold-seekers boarded ships to reach this area and many people and animals died in the process.

The Seattle United of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates where many started this journey, leaving from Seattle for Alaska.

Here you can learn about the history of Goldrush through artifacts, photographs, journals, and informative displays.

Some of the ways to explore this park include exploring the interpretive exhibits in the Visitors Center, hopping on a scale to calculate your actual worth in gold, and going on a self-guided walking tour of Seattle.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

Located in northeastern Washington, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area boasts five mountains, a 130-mile-long lake, and 18 campgrounds.

Lake Roosevelt also offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming.

Washington - National Parks - Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

You can explore the trails and engage in watersports and activities like water skiing, snorkeling, kayaking, motorized boating, and fishing.

Other points of interest in Lake Roosevelt are the Visitor Center, Fort Spokane Museum, and St. Paul’s Mission where you can learn the rich history of the area.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail is part of the national trail system that covers about 4,600 miles and connects the eleven US states where the Merriwether Lewis & William Clark expedition surveyed or prepared to survey the western US, starting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ending in Washington and Oregon.

Visitors here always enjoy hiking, driving, and biking along the rugged path of the historic trail.

Washington - National Parks - Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Some popular sites you can explore on the Washington portion of the trail here include the Cape Disappointment Historic District and Chinook Point.

Cape Disappointment offers an opportunity to explore the cultural history of the area and features scenic lighthouses and hiking trails that lead to the spot where you can go whale watching.

There are 29 places the NPS lists as points of interest on the Lewis & Clark Trail in Washington:

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Baker Bay

Beacon Rock

Cape Disappointment State Park

Captain William Clark Regional Park

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Celilo Falls Portage

Chief Timothy Park

Chinook Point

Clark’s Tree & North Head Discovery Trail

Cliff Point & Hungry Harbor

Columbia Hills Historical State Park

Dismal Nitch

Fort Columbia Historical State Park

Land Bridge

Lewis & Clark Heritage Trail

Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge

Lewis & Clark Trail Cycle Route

Middle Village & Station Camp

Reflection Plaza

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Sacajawea Historical State Park

Sacajawea Mural

Sacajawea State Park

Sandy River Delta

Snake River Confluence

Steamboat Landing

Walla Walla River Confluence

Yakama Nation Museum & Cultural Center

Yellow Bluff

Lewis & Clark National Historical Park

Lewis & Clark National Historical Park commemorates the story of America’s most famous explorers, Meriweather Lewis and William Clark.

The park is split between Washington state and Oregon, with most of the best things to do on the Oregon side. Plan to do things in both Washington and Oregon during your visit to get the most out of your time.

Things you can do here include exploring the visitors center filled with displays and park films,  hiking the over fourteen miles of trails, enjoying a self-guided tour, and looking out for wildlife.

Washington - National Parks - Lewis & Clark National Historical Park

Rangers also sometimes offer demonstrations of historic arts like candle-making.

While you are here, check out the historic canoe landing, enjoy a Ranger-guided canoe or kayak tour, and experience the Fort Clatsop.

You can also attend special events, including summer camps for kids in July, the run series for walkers, and the lecture series that run from October to May.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park commemorates the Manhattan project and is currently being run by the National Park Service and Department of Energy.

During World War II, the US carried out a secret program known as the ‘Manhattan Project’ which led to the development of the atomic bomb.

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Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Manhattan Project National Historical Park has three sites, one in Washington, another in New Mexico, and in one in Tennessee.

The Hanford site is where all of the plutonium was made for the US nuclear arsenal during World War II.

Although most of the area in this park isn’t accessible to the public, visitors can tour some of the open areas by bus.

You can learn a lot about the history of the site in Washington at the Reach Museum in Richland.

Washington - Richland - Reach Museum - Power of the Pellet

There are films and displays about the Manhattan Project, as well as the clean-up process afterward.

The Reach Museum is where I learned about the Hanford site – and even took home an atomic marble as a souvenir! – but unfortunately, I was able to tour the site itself.

Four-hour site tours are available through the Department of Energy.

You can sign up for a B Reactor tour here and a Pre-War Historic Sites tour here.

Minidoka National Historic Site

Learn from history at the Minidoka National Historic Site which commemorates the horrors faced by the over 120,000 Japanese Americans that were imprisoned in concentration camps in 1942.

The site has two locations, one in Minidoka, Idaho, and one on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Washington State - Kitsap Peninsula - Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

My original plan was to visit the site in Idaho in October during our big National Parks road trip. Unfortunately, running into early bad weather at Yellowstone forced delays and we weren’t able to make it to Minidoka.

So I was thrilled when I realized I’d be able to visit the site on Bainbridge Island.

Officially known as the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, the site commemorates the beginning of the Japanese American Exclusion at the site where the first removals took place.

Washington State - Kitsap Peninsula - Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial - View of Bainbridge Island Marina

Japanese American residents from Bainbridge Island were taken on March 30th, 1942 to a camp in Manzanar California before being sent to the concentration camp in Minidoka.

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The memorial is located at the site of the Eagledale Ferry Dock, which is where the Bainbridge Islanders were marched to the ferry, taking with them only what they could carry.

After the war, half of those who were imprisoned returned to the island. Tours to certain groups can be requested through the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community.

I was fortunate to be on a BIJAC tour of the site and listened to a firsthand account of what it was like to be removed and imprisoned as a small child as well as what work and artisanry went into the creation of the memorial.

Washington State - Kitsap Peninsula - Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

If you are unable to be on a tour, due to scheduling or other circumstances, the memorial has great interpretive signs as well as being a peaceful place for reflection.

Mount Rainer National Park

The NPS refers to Mount Rainer National Park as an Icon on the Horizon, which is all I got to see of the park during my time in Washington.

Hey, at least I got to be there while the mountain was out!

But MRNP is at the tip-top of my list of reasons to come back to Washington state soon.

This active volcano with glaciated peaks is one of the most famous views in Washington state – when it’s not shrouded in clouds.

USA - Washington State - Mount Rainier National Park

With the rugged peaks, the gushing waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and endless scenic views, Mount Rainer is undoubtedly one of the most iconic national parks in Washington.

One of the most popular activities here is hiking as the park boasts 350 square miles with about 350 miles of hiking trails.

There are about 6 hiking regions and visitors especially love to try the Skyline Trail at the Paradise Area as it’s known for its amazing landscape views. Other trail regions include the Naches Peak Loop and Wonderland Trail, a trail for backpackers and multi-day hikers that circumnavigates the mountain.

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To learn more about Mount Rainer, make a stop at the Sunrise Visitors Center and check out the interpretive displays about wildlife at Mount Rainier.

You can book your stay at Rainier’s historic Paradise Inn if you can book early!

Nez Perce National Historical Park

History lovers will enjoy learning about the story of the people of Niimiipuu (Nez Perce) here at Nez Perce National Historical Park.

This historical park is spread across four states (Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Montanna) and includes thirty-eight individual sites.

The park has a visitor center in Lapwai, Idaho where tourists can get more information and see the amazing park film.

Nez Perce National Historical Park

There’s a small museum at the Visitor’s Center that showcases some Nez Perce tribal items, historical sites to explore, and hands-on displays about the ancestral home of the Nez Perce.

To visit Nez Perce National Historical Park in Washington, head to Joseph Canyon in Eastern Washington.

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is tucked away near the Canadian border, less than 3 hours from Seattle, and is home to beautiful wilderness and wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines.

Washington - National Parks - North Cascades National Park

Some popular activities here include taking a scenic drive through the park, admiring the towering alpine peaks of the Cascade Range, Skagit River, hiking in the backcountry, and soaking in the blue waters of Diablo Lake.

Don’t skip Diablo Lake Overlook on Highway 20!

Popular hikes in North Cascade NP include Maple Pass Loop, Blue Lake, Rainy Lake, and Thunder Knob.

You can also visit the Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the north unit for boating, fishing, and kayaking activities.

This is the most accessible part of the North Cascades NP complex, and should not be missed!

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the village of Stehekin are also must-sees while in the area.

If you are up for challenging hikes, explore the mountain county, and don’t forget to take in the views of the lakes, panoramas, and lush forests while you’re at it. 

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Washington - National Parks - North Cascades National Park

There are also different camping options if you are looking for a fun and adventurous overnight experience, though book your campsites early!

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park boasts glacier-capped mountain peaks, wind-battered beaches, and temperate rainforests with lush vegetation.

This park is located in the westernmost part of Washington on the Olympic Peninsula and is now an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.

Read next: How to plan a trip to Olympic National Park

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - Hurricane Ridge - Stephanie Craig

Exploring Olympic National Park should be a multi-day affair.

I recommend following the Bogachiel River from its Pacific outlet to the HoH rainforest, driving up to Hurricane Ridge for eye-level views of the Olympic Mountains, and enjoying an easy hike through old-growth forests to Marymere Falls.

If you have more time on your hands, visit the Sol Duc Falls, head out to Kalaloch, Rialto, and Ruby Beach, and stop by Staircase to hike, camp, and take a view of the tall Douglas firs.

You won’t run out of day hikes in ONP as it encompasses nearly a million acres, but if you want to experience even more of the area, pair your trip to Olympic National Park with a stop in Olympic National Forest, which is overseen by the USDA Forest Service.

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - Stephanie Craig on the Marymere Falls Trail
O is for Olympic National Park

My favorite things to do in Olympic National Park were seeing the mountains from Hurricane Ridge and driving Hurricane Ridge Road (though Mount Olympus was hiding during our visit), hiking to Marymere Falls, and visiting the stunning Lake Crescent.

Pro Tip: I almost lost my National Parks Pass during my time in Olympic National Park – which would have been terrible since you can’t get it replaced.

Luckily someone in my group found it!

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - America the Beautiful Annual Pass
O is for Olympic National Park…where I almost lost my parks pass!

Here’s my guide to using an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass – and how we saved $430 in one year by using it!

Good to Know: If you don’t want to camp, you can stay in nearby Port Angeles. We stayed at the Red Lion Hotel, ate dinner at the famed Bella Italia, and got to experience the Olympic Discovery Trail in town.

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Book your stay at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles!

Oregon National Historic Trail

The Oregon National Historic Trail is one of the nineteen historic trails in the US.

It marks the over-two-thousand-mile route early American settlers passed through when heading West.

This trail features sites in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state.

Over 300,000 travelers used the trail between 1840-1860.

The journey became a popular computer game in the 1990s called Oregon Trail.

From hiking to biking and horseback riding, there are numerous ways to explore these historic trails on your trip here.

Visitors also enjoy stopping by the museums along the trail and exploring the trails state by state.

Washington - National Parks - Fort Vancouver - Oregon Trail

Because the only stop on the trail in Washington is Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, you can visit two Washington state national parks in one visit!

If you want to cross over to Oregon, you can visit one of the many Oregon Trail sites in Oregon.

San Juan Island National Historical Park

San Juan Island National Historical Park is located on San Juan Island in the Salish Sea and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Washington.

While there are many islands that make up the San Juan Islands, the historical park is all located on the main island of San Juan.

San Juan is home to a wide diversity of fauna like deer, different species of birds,and mink.

Washington - National Parks - San Juan Island National Historical Park

Its waters also harbor orca whales, porpoises, and seals which interest a lot of tourists. Popular activities in San Juan include fishing, kayaking, crabbing, and paddling.

And if you love history, you can explore and learn about the spot that almost launched a war between Britain and the US in 1859, called the Pig War because it (almost) resulted from the death of a pig.

This is a great park for those looking for a national park getaway from Seattle that combines nature with a visit to one of the most interesting historical sites in Washington.

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Whitman Mission National Historic Site

Whitman Mission National Historic Site is the site of the former Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu.

Here you can tour the museum, the historic grounds, and learn more about Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

The park was named after this duo who were among some missionaries that came to preach Christianity amongst the Native American tribes in Oregon.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site provides information and interpretation of the events that led to the violent death of the Whitmans.

There is a monument honoring the Whitmans and a grave where victims of the horrific events were buried.

While you are here, explore the museum at the Visitor Center featuring some personal belongings of the Whitmans and some Native American artifacts.

You can also watch the 25-minute park film, go on a self-guided tour, and attend one of the Ranger on the Hill events.

Wing Luke Museum Affiliated Area

The Wing Luke Museum is more than a museum, it’s an immersive experience in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District designed to help visitors understand the Asian American experience in the Pacific Northwest.

Book a guided neighborhood tour or food tour to explore the historic hotel and follow in the footsteps of Asian Americans that called this place home.

Washington - National Parks - Chinatown in Seattle

This site also features contemporary galleries that showcase informative exhibitions and stories including that of Bruce Lee.

Washington State National Parks FAQ

Here are the questions people ask the most often about the national parks in Washington.

How many national parks are in Washington state?

There are 3 national parks in Washington state – but there are 17 units of the National Park Service in Washington.

Don’t only visit “official” national parks, since most NPS are fabulous in their own right!

What are the best national parks in Washington State?

The most popular of Washington’s national parks is Olympic National Park, which ranked #9 out of all US national parks for attendance in 2019.

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However, it’s the park’s diversity of ecosystems and landscapes that make it truly spectacular.

From family-friendly driftwood beaches to the Hall of Mosses to glassy Lake Crescent, you really can’t go wrong here!

What is the prettiest national park in Washington?

This is tough, as many of them are just gorgeous!

The alpine lakes at Mount Ranier, the Cascade Mountains in North Cascades, and the Olympic Mountain at Olympic National Park are all views worth traveling for.

What is the most visited national park in Washington?

The top five most visited national parks in Washington state last year are:

Olympic National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

Fort Vancouver National Historical Park

San Juan National Historical Park

Notice that North Cascades National Park didn’t make the top five! Don’t skip the other NPS units when you travel to national parks!

What are the best national parks close to Seattle?

There are several national park units in Seattle:

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

The Wing Luke Museum

Other national parks near Seattle (and Tacoma):

Olympic National Park

Minidoka National Historic Site – Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

San Juan Island National Historical Park

Mount Rainier National Park

What are the best national parks in Eastern Washington?

The most visited of the Eastern Washington parks is Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

What are the national monuments in Washington State?

There are three national monuments in Washington. While some national monuments in the US are units of the NPS, none of the sites in Washington are.

Here are the three Washington national monuments along with the service or bureau that oversees them:

Hanford Reach National Monument (US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (US Forest Service)

San Juan Islands National Monument (Bureau of Land Management)

How Many National Forests are in Washington State?

Not all federal public lands are national parks or national monuments – some are national forests!

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There are eight national forests in Washington:

Colville National Forest

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Idaho Panhandle National Forest

Kaniksu National Forest

Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest

Okanogan–Wenatchee National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Umatilla National Forest

What are the most famous national landmarks in Washington State?

Here are some of the most famous natural landmarks in Washington:

Mount Rainier

Palouse Falls

The Ape Caves

The Hoh Rainforest

The Columbia River Gorge

Mount Saint Helens

Dry Falls

What to Wear to National Parks in Washington

Along with a good Washington State or Olympic National Park guidebook, make sure to bring the following:

A Packable Down Jacket – everyone in our family has one. They’re light and easy to keep in your backpack or car, but they’re warm enough to make a huge difference if the weather turns cold.

I have this women’s version. I loved having it at ONP even in late April. My husband has this men’s version. Our son just outgrew this child’s version.

Washington - Olympic Peninsula - Olympic National Park - Stephanie Craig on the Marymere Falls Trail
I always take this packable down jacket with me on my national parks trips!

A Lightweight but Durable Backpack – My Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Daypack was a steal for the price. It’s survived 17 national parks as well as trips to Mexico and El Salvador!

It won’t last forever, but it has more than proved its worth so far.

See the Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Daypack on Amazon

El Salvador - Juayua - Stephanie Backpack
This backpack has survived seventeen national parks and trips to Mexico and El Salvador with no sign of stopping anytime soon!

A Pair of Binoculars for parks where I’m going to be looking for wildlife. I use these binoculars, and my husband has a separate pair.

A Portable Charging Bank in case my phone dies. Having a portable charger for your phone is crucial.

This is a safety issue as my offline maps may be the only way to navigate in the park where there’s no cell phone data available, as well as the convenience of being able to use my cell phone camera.

I relied on this heavily during my time in Olympic National Park, as cell phone coverage on the Olympic Peninsula was spotty in places and nonexistent in swaths of ONP.

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A Basic First Aid Kit to handle minor issues while you are out. Don’t let a hot spot on your foot turn into a blister, or leave a small cut open to the elements.

I keep a small first aid kit in my backpack at all times when we are on the road.

Other items to consider: a pocket knife and a water bottle with a filter.

Neighboring National Parks

National Parks in Idaho

National Parks in Montana

National Parks in Oregon

Before You Visit Washington – Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to get travel insurance!

The company Safety Wing is the travel insurance company I always look to first, and I happily recommend them!

I always make sure to get travel insurance whenever I’m going to be over one hundred miles from home, in large cities where tourists can be the target of pickpockets, and anytime I’ll be doing outdoor adventure or beach activities.

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It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

Pin this Guide to Washington State’s National Parks for Your Washington Travels!

The 17 National Parks in Washington State How & Why to See Each One!

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