Description - The vast and roadless Olympic National Park combined with Olympic National Forest, totals more than 2 million acres of protected nature. Ecological and geological extremes coexist in close proximity. Whether you're equipped to scale the sharpest peak, or simply seek the peace of a groomed path to a waterfall in the forest, you must explore it for yourself. Deer and bear are plentiful and the Roosevelt elk population is the largest anywhere. Bald eagles ride the skies and salmon fight their way upstream from the Pacific. You can trace their journey from the ocean, along a river through the rain forest, all the way to the foot of the blue glaciers of Mount Olympus.
Along the shore, monumental sea stacks stand oblivious to the power of the Pacific. Jade-green sea urchins, orange starfish and myriad other species take refuge in delicate tide pools. These are the last wilderness beaches in the lower 48 states. In the rain forest, ferns grow to prehistoric size and moss hangs like drapery from the branches of ancient trees. Here in the worlds only coniferous rain forests, you'll find the worlds largest specimens of western cedar and Sitka spruce. In the alpine areas, rugged mountains wear wildflowers and rise in a blink from near sea level to six and seven thousand feet.
- When you take the ferry from downtown Seattle, you cross Elliott Bay and land in picturesque
Kitsap County. As a day outing or as a stopover on your way west, the Kitsap Peninsula is home to many distinctive shops and galleries, fine restaurants and cozy inns with spectacular
views; the Olympic Mountains to the west and Mount Rainier and the city skyline to the east. On
Hood Canal, a fjord between the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, the summer sun warms the
channel waters for swimming and blackberries grow fat on bluffs and roadsides.
Recreation - Activities on the peninsulas are as diverse as the spectacular landscape. In the same day, its
possible to go snowboarding in the morning and scuba diving in the afternoon. Traverse a glacier; soak your body in a hot spring; then visit a local winery, art gallery or unique artisan's shop. Go whitewater rafting through the Elwah River Valley; then go llama trekking into the
high-country. Or, stroll for miles on a natural beach, stopping to examine life teeming in the tide
pools. You can fish from the shore or try your skills on the deep seas. Climb Mount Olympus or
walk a gentle trail in the surreal green of a rain forest. Wherever you explore, watch for the black
bear and noble Roosevelt elk.
Climate - Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
Visitors can reach the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas by several different routes: take a car ferry from Seattle, Edmonds, Whidbey Island, or Victoria, B.C., or drive around through Tacoma or Olympia. The scenic Olympic Loop (Highway 101) circumnavigates Olympic National Park and
provides access to the entire peninsula region.