Nestled in the northern foothills of the Olympic Mountains, Lake Crescent is known for its brilliant blue and exceptionally clear waters. While most lakes grow algae, Lake Crescent lacks nitrogen, which makes its waters crystal clear. Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. Fittingly named for their resemblance to bright yellow bananas, banana slugs serve as composters for the park.
They are an important factor in the ecosystem since they consume organic debris and vegetation and disperse seeds.
Things to Do in Olympic National Park, WA - Olympic National Park Attractions
While predominantly yellow, they also range in color from green to brown and can grow up to 10 inches long. Banana Slug in Olympic National Park. Photo by Sara Griffith www. In , two major dams were removed as part of the Elwha River Restoration and thousands of fish returned to the area in an unprecedented river revival. The foot-high Glines Canyons dam and foot-high Elwha dam stood for over a century. Although both dams fueled regional growth, they blocked salmon migration and disrupted the flow of sediment and debris.
Elhwa River in Olympic National Park.
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Photo by Isabella Chang www. Enjoy the stunning night sky while visiting Hurricane Ridge or coastal beaches. At night, visitors can view a beautiful starry sky free from light pollution. What might look like a faint cloud could actually be the Milky Way and light from millions of distant stars. On clear nights, visitors can enjoy the thrilling sight of faraway constellations, nebulae and planets with the naked eye. Additionally, there are various ranger-led programs to Hurricane Ridge during the summer.
Dress warmly as night-time temperatures drop to degrees Fahrenheit at high elevations. Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. You can adopt a fish in Olympic National Park. The Adopt-A-Fish radio-tracking project began in to track the movement of fish in the Elwha River and better understand salmon restoration after the dam removals. The program teaches students radio telemetry techniques -- methods of tracking and fish migration patterns.
Each fish has to be caught, photographed and radio tagged. Once released, the fish are monitored through stations along the river, by researchers hiking with handheld antennas or from a small airplane with attached antenna. Sockeye Salmon in Olympic National Park.
Blue Glacier, the largest glacier in the Olympic Mountains, is over 2. Blue Glacier is so large that it is equal to over 20 trillion ice cubes.
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Blue Glacier and others helped sculpt the wild, beautiful landscape, carving out ridges and basins that attract millions to Olympic every year. Visitors can view the massive Blue Glacier from Hurricane Ridge and various hiking trails throughout the park. Summit of Mount Olympus. Olympic is home to a cute and unique marmot. This area has traditionally been favored by the Makah from Neah Bay.
Olympic National Park Tours
The third 3-mile leg is enabled by a boardwalk which has enhanced the loop's visitor numbers. There are thick groves of trees adjacent to the sand, which results in chunks of timber from fallen trees on the beach. The mostly unaltered Hoh River, toward the south end of the park, discharges large amounts of naturally eroded timber and other drift, which moves north, enriching the beaches.
The removal of driftwood — logs, dead-heads, tops and root-wads from streams and beaches was a major domestication measure across North America. Even today driftwood deposits form a commanding presence, biologically as well as visually, giving a taste of the original condition of the beach viewable to some extent in early photos.
THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Olympic National Park - (with Photos) - TripAdvisor
Drift-material often comes from a considerable distance; the Columbia River formerly contributed huge amounts to the Northwest Pacific coasts. The smaller coastal portion of the park is separated from the larger, inland portion. President Franklin D. Roosevelt originally had supported connecting them with a continuous strip of park land. The park is known for its unique turbidites. It has very exposed turbidities with white calcite veins. Turbidites are rocks or sediments that travel into the ocean as suspended particles in the flow of water, causing a sedimentary layering effect on the ocean floor.
Over time the sediments and rock compact and the process repeats as a constant cycle. Within the center of Olympic National Park rise the Olympic Mountains whose sides and ridgelines are topped with massive, ancient glaciers. The mountains themselves are products of accretionary wedge uplifting related to the Juan De Fuca Plate subduction zone. Mount Olympus receives a large amount of snow , and consequently has the greatest glaciation of any non-volcanic peak in the contiguous United States outside of the North Cascades. It has several glaciers, the largest of which is Hoh Glacier at 3.
Looking to the east, the range becomes much drier due to the rain shadow of the western mountains. Here, there are numerous high peaks and craggy ridges. As opposed to tropical rainforests and most other temperate rainforest regions, the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are dominated by coniferous trees, including Sitka Spruce , Western Hemlock , Coast Douglas-fir and Western redcedar.
Mosses coat the bark of these trees and even drip down from their branches in green, moist tendrils. Valleys on the eastern side of the park also have notable old-growth forest , but the climate is notably drier. Sitka Spruce is absent, trees on average are somewhat smaller, and undergrowth is generally less dense and different in character. Because the park sits on an isolated peninsula , with a high mountain range dividing it from the land to the south, it developed many endemic plant and animal species like the Olympic Marmot , Piper's bellflower and Flett's violet.
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The southwestern coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is also the northernmost non-glaciated region on the Pacific coast of North America, with the result that — aided by the distance from peaks to the coast at the Last Glacial Maximum being about twice what it is today — it served as a refuge from which plants colonized glaciated regions to the north. The park also provides habitat for many species like the Roosevelt elk that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast.
As a result, scientists have declared it a biological reserve and study its unique species to better understand how plants and animals evolve. The park is home to sizable populations of black bears and black-tailed deer. The park also has a noteworthy cougar population, numbering about The NPS has activated management plans to control the goats. The summit of Mount Olympus from the Blue Glacier. Subalpine fir in a meadow on Hurricane Ridge. Bigleaf maples , Hoh Rainforest.
Prior to the influx of European settlers, Olympic's human population consisted of Native Americans , whose use of the peninsula was thought to have consisted mainly of fishing and hunting. However, recent reviews of the record, coupled with systematic archaeological surveys of the mountains Olympic and other Northwest ranges are pointing to much more extensive tribal use of especially the subalpine meadows than seemed formerly to be the case.
Most if not all Pacific Northwest indigenous cultures were adversely affected by European diseases often decimated and other factors, well before ethnographers, business operations and settlers arrived in the region, so what they saw and recorded was a much-reduced native culture-base. Large numbers of cultural sites are now identified in the Olympic mountains, and important artifacts have been found. When settlers began to appear, extractive industry in the Pacific Northwest was on the rise, particularly in regards to the harvesting of timber , which began heavily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Public dissent against logging began to take hold in the s, when people got their first glimpses of the clear-cut hillsides. This period saw an explosion of people's interest in the outdoors; with the growing use of the automobile , people took to touring previously remote places like the Olympic Peninsula. The formal record of a proposal for a new national park on the Olympic Peninsula begins with the expeditions of well-known figures Lieutenant Joseph O'Neil and Judge James Wickersham , during the s.
These notables met in the Olympic wilderness while exploring, and subsequently combined their political efforts to have the area placed within some protected status. Public desire for preservation of some of the area grew until President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating a national park in Even after ONP was declared a park, though, illegal logging continued in the park, and political battles continue to this day over the incredibly valuable timber contained within its boundaries.
Logging continues on the Olympic Peninsula, but not within the park. Animals that inhabit this national park are chipmunks , squirrels , skunks , six species of bats , weasels , coyotes , muskrats , fishers , river otters , beavers , red foxes , mountain goats , martens , bobcats , black bears , Canadian lynxes , moles , snowshoe hares , shrews , and cougars.
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Whales , dolphins , sea lions , seals , and sea otters swim near this park offshore. Birds that fly in this park including raptors are Winter wrens , and Canada jays , Hammond's flycatchers , Wilson's warblers , Blue Grouses , Pine siskins , ravens , spotted owls , Red-breasted nuthatches , Golden-crowned kinglets , Chestnut-backed chickadees , Swainson's thrushes , Red crossbills , Hermit thrushes , Olive-sided flycatchers , bald eagles , Western tanagers , Northern pygmy owls , Townsend's warblers , Townsend's solitaires , Vaux's swifts , band-tailed pigeons , and evening grosbeaks.
There are several roads in the park, but none penetrate far into the interior. The park features a network of hiking trails , although the size and remoteness means that it will usually take more than a weekend to get to the high country in the interior. The sights of the rain forest, with plants run riot and dozens of hues of green, are well worth the possibility of rain sometime during the trip, although months of July, August and September frequently have long dry spells.
An unusual feature of ONP is the opportunity for backpacking along the beach. The length of the coastline in the park is sufficient for multi-day trips, with the entire day spent walking along the beach. Although idyllic compared to toiling up a mountainside Seven Lakes Basin is a notable example , one must be aware of the tide; at the narrowest parts of the beaches, high tide washes up to the cliffs behind, blocking passage.
There are also several promontories that must be struggled over, using a combination of muddy steep trail and fixed ropes. During winter, the viewpoint known as Hurricane Ridge offers numerous winter sports activities. The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club operates Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area , a not for profit alpine ski area which offers ski lessons, rentals, and inexpensive lift tickets. The small alpine area is serviced by two rope tows and one poma lift. A large amount of backcountry terrain is accessible for skiers, snowboarders, and other backcountry travelers when the Hurricane Ridge Road is open.