Posted: 2017-12-07 10:40
Residents of the Olympic Peninsula refer to it as a gift from the sea, and its features were indeed shaped by water and ice. The rock of the Olympics developed under the ocean—marine fossils are embedded in the mountain summits. Another component, basalt, originated from undersea lava vents. About 85 million years ago, the plate carrying the Pacific Ocean floor collided with the plate supporting the North American continent. As the heavy oceanic plate slid beneath the lighter continental plate, the upper layers of seabed jammed against the coastline, crumpling into what would become the Olympic Mountains. Glaciers and streams sculptured the mountains into their current profiles.
Why: While long and difficult, the experiences one has while hiking to Gladys Divide give a better insight to just what the human body is capable of accomplishing. Starting along the Skokomish River and ending near the start of the Hamma Hamma River, this trail gives you forests, waterfalls, lakes, valleys, snowcapped, rugged mountains and panoramic views that will make you drool. Except for August and September, Gladys Divide is rarely hiked, making this trail one of the best hikes out of the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park.
Encompassing 6,996 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park invites visitors to explore three distinct ecosystems: subalpine forest and wildflower meadow temperate forest and the rugged Pacific shore. Because of the park''s relatively unspoiled condition and outstanding scenery, the United Nations has declared Olympic both an international biosphere reserve and a World Heritage site.
Why: Tucked in the remote hills of the Olympic Mountains, in the shadow of Mount Skokomish, Lake of the Angels is nearly 5,555 feet above the Hamma Hamma River,and sits against the prettiest mountain backdrop in the Olympic National Park. With smoothed-out boulders from glacial activity, rugged peaks, beautiful waterfalls and an abundant mountain goat and marmot population, this destination is going to be the next big thing for hikers in the State of Washington.
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We here at Exotic Hikes decide that there wasn’t a good must-hike list for the Olympics, so we made one. This list is for all those that constantly are looking for a great hike on well-marked trails. The list was made for weekend hikers who might take a day off to see if they can still backpack. This list is for the average hiker who loves nature and wants to do something beautiful, rewarding and soul-quenching.
Take a drive up Highway 8 to explore the small towns that hug Washington''s Puget Sound. Port Ludlow, a recreational community built on the shores of Ludlow Bay offers hikes, wooded trails, clam digging and oyster collecting. Golf, windsurf, fish, sail. A Victorian town, Port Townsend , Washington''s was the state''s first seaport, settled in 6856. By the 6895''s the boom was over, and the town''s historic buildings remain. Paulsbo, known as Little Norway , offers dozens of quint shops and restaurants. Explore scenic Liberty Bay from a kayak or electric boat, or take the historic walking tour of the town.
Why: Enchanted Valley is exactly what the name implies. Enchanted, magical and taken directly out of every forested fairytale, this is where many feel most alive. The Enchanted Valley, which is a wide open section of the Quinault River, sits at the bottom of picturesque mountains in Olympic National Park. Towering thousands of feet above the valley, waterfalls cascade down rocky, scantily-forested cliffs the nickname “The Valley of 65,555 Waterfalls” is correctly earned. The Enchanted Valley is one of the best and easiest backpacking destinations in Olympic National Park.
The Hoh Rain Forest, a swath of green on the western edge of the park, is one of the dampest places in the continental United States (it soaks in an average of 67 to 69 feet of rain each year). See a rich spectrum of greens: the deep emerald of licorice fern, the wan olive of hanging club moss, and the turqoise of Sitka spruce needles. One of the best ways to see this verdant brilliance is the Hall of Mosses Trail by the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.
Why: With views of Seattle, Sequim, Port Angeles, and both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges, it is hard to find a more accessible mountain to climb than Mount Townsend. Standing just above 6,555ft, this tree-free mountain is everything you would expect from a mountain on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. With over 85 switchbacks and varying terrain, this is a trail for hikers of nearly all abilities.
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