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National Parks in Washington Back to Top
Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve
Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve provides a vivid historical record of Pacific Northwest history, including the first exploration of Puget Sound by Captain George Vancouver in 1792; early settlement by Colonel Isaac Ebey, an important figure in Washington Territory; growth and settlement resulting from the Oregon Trail and the Westward migration; the Donation Land Laws (1850-1855); and the continued growth and settlement of the town of Coupeville. There are two state parks within Ebey's Landing NHR as well as the historic waterfront town of Coupeville, one of the oldest towns in Washington State.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Vancouver, WA
When American immigrants arrived in the Oregon Country during the 1830s and 1840s, Fort Vancouver provided them with essential supplies to begin their new settlements. In 1996, the 366-acre Vancouver National Historic Reserve was established to protect adjacent, historically significant historical areas. It includes Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, as well as Vancouver Barracks, Officers' Row, Pearson Field, The Water Resources Education Center, and portions of the Columbia River waterfront.
Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle Unit National Historical Park
Seattle, WA
In 1897 news of a gold strike in the Canadian Yukon reached Seattle, triggering a stampede North to the Klondike Gold Fields. From 1897 to 1898, tens of thousands of people from across the United States and around the world descended upon Seattle's commercial district. While in Seattle, the hopeful miners purchased millions of dollars of food, clothing, equipment, pack animals, and steamship tickets. The final outcome of this great stampede helped shape the Seattle we know today, bolstering the city's reputation as the Queen City of the Pacific Northwest.
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
Here the beautiful Stehekin Valley, with a portion of fjordlike Lake Chelan, adjoins North Cascades National Park. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (62,000 acres, 24,800 hectares) rests in a glacially carved trough in the Cascades Range. Lake Chelan is one of the nation's deepest, reaching a depth of 1,500 feet (450 meters). It offers boating, fishing, and lakeshore camping. The average width is less than two miles (3.2 kilometers), but Lake Chelan extends 50 miles (83 kilometers) into the Cascade Mountains. The lake's northernmost four miles (6.4 kilometers) are in the National Recreation Area, including the remote community of Stehekin and the Stehekin River Valley. This is a remote part of North Cascades National Park Service Complex.
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
The Upper Columbia River is rich in cultural and natural significance. For more than 9000 years, people have gathered along the banks of the river to fish and trade with each other. Missionaries and explorers for the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Trading Company mapped the area and developed relationships with the tribes, which lived here. In 1941, damming of the Columbia River as part of the Columbia River Basin project created a 130-mile long lake. Named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the lake is now the largest recreation feature in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, canoeing and visiting historic Fort Spokane and St. Paul's Mission are highlights of visiting Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark began a voyage of discovery with 45 men, a keelboat, two pirogues,and a dog. They departed from Camp Wood located in what was to become Illinois. They traveled over a three-year period through lands that later became 11 states. Most of the trail follows the Missouri & Columbia Rivers. Much has changed in 200 years but trail portions remain intact. At 3700 miles, Lewis & Clark NHT is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic & National Historic Trails. It begins at Hartford, IL & passes through portions of MO, KS, IA, NE, SD, ND, MT, ID, OR, & WA. Many people follow the trail by auto; others find adventure in the sections that encourage boating, biking, or hiking. You can still see the White Cliffs in Montana as Lewis & Clark did. You may stand where they stood looking over the rolling plains at Spirit Mound in South Dakota. You might meet the descendants of the people who hosted Lewis & Clark all along the trail. It remains for your discovery.
Mount Rainier National Park
Established in 1899 Mount Rainier National Park comprises 235,625 acres, with 97% designated Wilderness. The Park includes Mount Rainier (14,410'), an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice, and outstanding examples of old growth forests and subalpine meadows. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1997 as a showcase for the "NPS Rustic" style architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. Whether hiking on its flanks, climbing its summit, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on its slopes, camping along its glacier-fed rivers, photographing wildflower displays in subalpine meadows, or just admiring the view, nearly two million people come to enjoy the grandeur and beauty of Mount Rainier each year.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
The 38 sites of Nez Perce National Historical Park are scattered across the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana and have been designated to commemorate the stories and history of the Nimiipuu and their interaction with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, soldiers, settlers, gold miners, and farmers who moved through or into the area.
North Cascades National Park
Long before North Cascades National Park Service Complex was established in 1968, this area was a home. It was the home to many Native American tribes and a trade gateway between the Plateau tribes to the east and the Coast Salish tribes to the west. Native Americans have been in these mountains for over 8,000 years. More recent settlers came in the nineteenth century to establish homesteads in places like the Stehekin Valley, or to mine elusive minerals – like gold, or to trap furbearing animals such as the beaver, otter, and marten. Now it is preserved as a national park for future generations to enjoy. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three park units which are all managed as one and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Each area offers different experiences and contains wilderness.
Olympic National Park
Glacier capped mountains, wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old-growth forests, including temperate rain forests -- at Olympic National Park, you can find all three. About 95% of the park is designated wilderness, which further protects these diverse and spectacular ecosystems. Olympic is also known for its biological diversity. Isolated for eons by glacial ice, and later the waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Peninsula has developed its own distinct array of plants and animals. Eight kinds of plants and 15 kinds of animals are found on the peninsula but no where else on Earth.
Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Ross Lake National Recreation Area is the most assessible part of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Ross Lake National Recreation Area (118,000 acres, 47,200 hectares) is the corridor for scenic Washington State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway, and includes three reservoirs: 12,000-acre (4,800-hectare) Ross Lake, 910-acre (364-hectare) Diablo Lake, and 210-acre (84-hectare) Gorge Lake -- water gateways to more remote areas. Ringed by mountains, it offers many outdoor recreation opportunities along the upper reaches of the Skagit River, between the north and south units of North Cascades National Park.
San Juan Island National Historical Park
San Juan Island, WA
Orca whales and bald eagles abound here, as do more than 200 species of birds navigating the Pacific flyway. But the park was created in 1966 based upon an idea: that individuals and nations can solve their problems peacefully without resorting to violence. For it was here in 1859 that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over a pig shot by an American farmer. Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that. Pressures had been building between the two nations over possession of the San Juan Island group since 1846 when the Treaty of Oregon left ownership unclear. Thus came the "Pig War" crisis, at the height of which more than 500 U.S. Army soldiers and three British warships were nose to nose on the island's southern shore, not 10 miles from Victoria, BC. Fortunately, officials on both sides quickly restored calm and the nations agreed to a joint military occupation of the island until the boundary could be decided. The American soldiers and British Royal Marines remained for 12 years until Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, as arbitrator, awarded the islands to the United States. Today the park is an excellent place to hike, picnic, play on the beach, experience wildlife and enjoy a wealth of programming, including the summer living history events.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Walla Walla, WA
This site commemorates the courage of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the role the Whitmans played in establishing the Oregon Trail, and the challenges encountered when two different cultures meet. In 1836, before the wagon trains, a small intrepid group of Presbyterian missionaries traveled with the annual fur trapper’s caravan into “Oregon Country.” Missionaries Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding became the first white women to travel across the continent. Differences in culture led to growing tensions between the Cayuse people and the Whitmans. Their mission became an important stop along the Oregon Trail, but passing immigrants added to the tension. A measles outbreak in 1847 killed half the local Cayuse. Some of the Cayuse blamed these deaths on Dr. Whitman. Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were killed; sixty people were taken hostage. The deaths of the Whitmans sent a shock wave across the country and prompted Congress to make Oregon a U.S. territory. Whitman Mission is located in SE Washington, 7 miles west of Walla Walla.


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