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8 under-the-radar gems of the National Park Service

By: Matt Hickman on April 2, 2010, 6:38 p.m.
Olympic National Park, Washington

Photo: realkuhl/Flickr

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Olympic National Park, Washington

Washington has a trio of knockout national parks: The North Cascades, Mount Rainer and Olympic National Park. The last is perhaps the most lovely … and the loneliest. Situated on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, visitors to this mysterious, isolated 922,000-acre wonderland can explore miles of rugged coastline that are ideal for beach backpacking, a dense temperate rain forest, and, in the middle of it all, the snow-capped Olympic mountain range. Those easily spooked by extreme, primeval seclusion may want to opt to visit other parks. For those craving dramatic landscapes and even more dramatic quiet, the Olympics are the real deal.