Sol Duc Waterfall, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA.
Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side.
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909. It was designated a national park by President Franklin Roosevelt on June 29, 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.
The coastal portion of the park is a rugged, sandy beach along with a strip of adjacent forest. It is 60 miles (97 km) long but just a few miles wide, with native communities at the mouths of two rivers. The Hoh River has the Hoh people and at the town of La Push at the mouth of the Quileute River live the Quileute.
Within the center of Olympic National Park rise the Olympic Mountains whose sides and ridgelines are topped with massive, ancient glaciers.
The western side of the park is mantled by temperate rainforests, including the Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest, which receive annual precipitation of about 150 inches (380 cm), making this perhaps the wettest area in the continental United States (the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii gets more rain).
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.
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