Next Week is National Park Week
Catch some spring snow at Hurricane Ridge, with your free pass into Olympic National Park next week. Photo by nutmeg.
In recognition of National Park Week, all national parks across the country are waiving entrance fees from Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29. That's nine days of free entry to Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park. Access to North Cascades National Park is always free.
Since it is spring and snow is still feet deep in the mountains, what can you do with your two free weekends?
Go snowshoeing at Paradise. The official winter season at Mount Rainier National Park is over, but Paradise is open for business with miles of open country to snowshoe and cross-country ski. It's true what they say: the mountains look better covered with snow. Try Reflection and Louise Lakes or the Mazama Ridge for fantastic perspectives on Mount Rainier and the Tatoosh Range.
Whether you are going to Paradise or Hurricane Ridge, check conditions before heading out. The roads may require chains for your vehicle and are closed during inclement weather. Also, check in at the visitor center before your trek to assess avalanche conditions, which are often high this time of year.
If hiking without snow is more your speed, venture to the west side of the Olympics and walk among the towering giants of the Hoh Rainforest. This time of year you can almost see the trees and moss growing. And when the sun cuts through the trees it is simply magical.
Whether you get out to a national park or stay closer to home, definitely take a hike in the next couple of weeks. You'll find life stirring again after a long winter's slumber. Flowers poking out of the ground, buds on the trees, grasses greening up and a cacophony of birdsong. To see where others have been hiking, visit WTA's Freshest Trip Reports.