Fall in Olympic National Park is full of beauty and wonder unlike anywhere else in the world. The moment snow dusts the towering, craggy peaks of the Olympic Mountains, the rainforest river valleys below become alive. When the snow hits the mountains, rain in the lower elevations triggers something in the plants and animals. Almost overnight, the forest floor erupts in mush- rooms, the leaves on the huge maples in the Hoh and Quinault start to turn color, slowly falling on the elk majestically bugling away the morning and evening hours. Salmon, returning to their spawning grounds after years at sea swim upstream, jump over logjams and rocky cascades to the arriving to fulfill their life mission in the famous waters of the Hoh, Quinault, Sol Duc and Elwha Rivers.
Just like that, fires in the Pacific Northwest have closed part of a National Park. Announced Tuesday, September 5th of 2017, the eastern side of Mount Rainier, including the Tipsoo Lake, White River and Sunrise areas are closed to the public. While the closure comes after the Labor Day holiday, the fires are impacting the visibility, mood and spirit of all residents of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This announcement is only for Mount Rainier and the surrounding region. Please be smart and safe and support the firefighters working the region.
In news that should come as no surprise, thanks to the ridiculous streak of high temperatures and next to no rainfall, Olympic National Park and Forest officials have issued a ban on campfires in the backcountry, including the coastal sections of the park. According to a press release from Olympic National Park, campfires will be allowed ONLY in developed campgrounds and picnic areas only until further notice. The ban and restrictions will last until further notice, which could stretch through September. Those looking to cook food in the wilderness backcountry of the park and forest are only able to use stoves wilderness backcountry, which need to be operated away from any and all flammable vegetation and forest litter. Extreme caution with any open flame is required.
VIA ONP: The Olympic Hot Springs Road in the Elwha Valley re-opened today above the Glines Canyon Overlook to the Boulder Creek Trailhead. Olympic National Park road and trail crews completed the demolition and removal of the Crystal Creek bridge on Boulder Creek Trail and installed an alternate route and foot log at that location to restore access for hikers. Stock access on Boulder Creek Trail will be restored later this fall after additional rock work is completed.
The Outdoor Industry is flexing some serious economic muscle around the country. In a study released at the end of July of 2017, the economic impact of outdoor enthusiasts is more than most realize, generating billions of dollars in taxable revenue and creating millions of jobs around the country. America’s Outdoor Recreation Industry is the 4th highest consumer spending industry in the nation, thanks to millions of people who get outdoors each year. Washington State is one of the regions leading the way in the Outdoor Industry and the impact of hikers, climbers, bikers and campers is flabbergastingly huge.
On the Olympic Peninsula, mountain goats have been known to cause a lot of drama. Introduced to Olympic on January 1st, 1925 the United States Forest Service released four mountain goats near Mount Storm King above Lake Crescent. The goats, from the Selkirk Mountains in Canada, were placed on Mount Storm King as an experiment to see how adaptable they would be to the rugged mountains of the Olympics. The goat’s ability to adapt, as well as reproduce, saw their numbers increase rapidly, making mountain goat sightings a frequent event on numerous peaks on the Olympic Peninsula. Now, the Park wants to know your thoughts on the goats and their future.
Visitors to America’s First National Park have a new trail to take in the splendor and beauty of one of the world’s most-iconic Hot Springs. Located at the Midway Geyser Basin next to the Firehole River, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring has been captivating visitors to the park since it was first viewed. Now, thanks to a joint effort between Yellowstone National Park, Montana Conservation Corps and Yellowstone’s Youth Conservation Corps anew viewpoint platform and path lead to a breathtaking view of this gorgeous region.
Just like in late July 2016, the waters of the Hood Canal are turning a brilliant blue, causing many residents and visitors to wonder what had happened to the usually dark waters of Washington State’s most famous fjord. The answer is actually a pretty simple one- the water color changed due to a phytoplankton bloom. Thanks to satellite imagery, we are able to see just how impressive the bloom is, as it was visible from space. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, the bloom turned the waters a milky blue color, due to microscopic plankton called Coccolithophores that are plated with white calcium carbonate. The plates can impart a milky, turquoise hue to the water that is often visible from space.
Now that summer is in full swing, hiking season is going strong. Each weekend, trails around the region are packed with enthusiastic nature lovers, hoping for an incredible adventure around the region. As the snow is melting out from all but a few spots of our favorite high alpine trails, the entire Pacific Northwest’s wonderland of trails is accessible and ready for you! We return to our old favorite trails, long ignored from a winter’s worth of snow while new hikers are discovering their own favorite places far from the confines of simple trails. Even those of us who have been hiking year-round are reaching further and further into the interior of the beauty of Cascadia, reconnecting with nature one step at a time. While 99.9% of us will hike out and back with no issues, we find the start of summer hiking season to be a great time to remind everyone to stay safe and to be smart.
Fantastic news from Olympic National Park! Access to Rialto Beach in the LaPush region of Olympic is scheduled to reopen, just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend! Closed since mid-May, the road leading to one of America’s most visited wilderness beach regions can once again be visited by beach lovers, after finally being repaired for storm damage. It has been nearly two months and we are excited to head on out to Hole in the Wall!
One of the best family-friendly and scenic trails in Olympic National Park is going to reopen this weekend!
For months, visitors to Olympic National Park’s Lake Crescent have had to endure a closure on the eastern part of the Spruce Railroad Trail (SRRT) from the Lyre River Trailhead. Because of the closure, the million visitors to the park this year have had miss the stunning sights found at the stunning tourist draw of Devil’s Punchbowl. Due to much needed construction, the trail was only open in sections. Luckily, we have endured the needed repairs and it was just announced that this phase of improvements, including the McFee Tunnel, will be open to the public, starting Sunday, July 16th!
Few hikes perfectly encapsulate the spirit and feel of a region like Gladys Divide does for the Staircase region of Olympic National Park. Full of stunning views, breathtaking lakes, wilderness adventure and relative solitude in the midst of unrivaled natural beauty, the long trek to Gladys Divide is one of those trails you’ll yearn to hike, year after year.
Watch it after the jump.
America’s most iconic National Park road is reopening, helping provide lifelong adventures into the heights of Glacier National Park. Soon, once the plows finish clearing snow, Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road will be open to vehicles, once again inspiring and possibly terrifying modern day adventurers with inspiring views. Any day now, the Going to the Sun Road will be open. Will you be driving it this year?
Just five weeks ago, we headed south to tackle one of our craziest adventures yet. As winter finally was ending in the Pacific Northwest, Doug and I took off for a week long expedition to the deserts of the American Southwest. We drove many miles, visited new and wondrous places and went to run the epic Grand Canyon from South Rim to North Rim and back, all in a day, all in one go. Among rocks millions of years old, carved by the everlasting patience of the mighty Colorado River, we discovered desire beauty, refueled our sense of exploration and tested our minds, bodies and souls in ways we could never have imagined. We left as rainforest runners, we came back as canyon cowboys. On June 19th, 2017, come see, here and experience this amazing trip with The Outdoor Society.
Memorial Day weekend at Lake Cushman started with potential. Underneath the shadow of rocky peaks full of mountain goats, and near a peaceful river full of camping destination and hiking trails, hundreds of excited locals and tourists headed out in the long overdue sunny weather. Fueled by alcohol and testosterone, Lake Cushman’s Party Rock erupted in violence, where fights broke out, a vehicle ran over someone and a man was hit in the head with a hammer. Elsewhere, one man was killed and another injured in what some are saying was a racially motivated crime. Finally, crowds overwhelmed National Park staff.
The Hoh River Valley is a blessed place. Inspiring, soothing and bonding us back in touch with Mother Nature, the experiences found in this rainforest region of the Olympic Peninsula are unrivaled. For many, the great outdoors don’t get any better than the wilderness beauty found along the blue river and green mosses of the Hoh. Now, thanks to local conservation efforts, the Hoh rainforest just got a little bigger.