Geology
Rocks and minerals can be found in your own backyard. Explore the world around you and learn about the history of the formation of the Earth by studying geology. We've gathered resources to make it fun and interesting.
Things to See & Do in Washington
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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