Once January rolls around, we here at the Outdoor Society like to compile a list of the most-visited National Parks around the country. For the author of this post, this day is a holiday, giving me reason to spend hours pouring over stats that few people care about. Every year, aside from a few jumps and dives, not much changes. However, these lists can help you know which parks are popular and which ones are seeing a drop in visitation, giving you more of a chance to find silence and solitude on the trails you love.
December 5th, 2019, is a good day. On this day, 126,500 acres, 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, got a little closer to becoming more protected and wild. The river valleys, located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, received some good news out of D.C. The Wild Olympics Bill was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee!
As cold air returns to the region, bringing with it a fall snow event in the higher elevations, some good news was announced by Olympic National Park. On Friday, September 27th, the road to Graves Creek in the Quinault region of the park reopened to vehicles. The press release reads as follows:
Goodbye, Mount Ellinor Mountain Goats. You will be missed.
There are now a lot less mountain goats wandering the rocky summits of the Olympic Mountains. For the second straight year, the Mountain Goat Removal process has been hailed a success by the agencies carrying it out. A total of 22 mountain goats were removed from Olympic National Forest in August. Sixteen mountain goats were removed from the Mount Ellinor and Mount Washington area and six from The Brothers Wilderness. During the month of August, 79 were taken from within Olympic National Park boundaries.
Heading the Quinault Rainforest in September of 2019? Be prepared for closures and restrictions to reach the Graves Creek region. Starting on September 3rd and lasting into early October, Olympic National Park will be working to fix spots on the road damaged from previous washouts. The image above is from a washout in 2016 that was temporarily fixed. The entire 2019 repair project and closure to vehicles is anticipated to last around four weeks, with the road scheduled to reopen to all access in early October.
Mount Rainier received some serious love in July of 2019. Dazzling us with beauty from all around the Pacific Northwest, our iconic mountain has been this year’s hot location for summer vacations and weekend getaways. Maybe it is the wildflowers, or the bubbling springs, pristine alpine lakes, and incredible ridge lines. Or maybe it is because the smoke from fires around the west didn’t fill the air this year. Whatever the reason, Mount Rainier just had the 3rd highest July visitation total since official records were shared publicly in 1979.
This morning, Olympia’s Parks & Arts and Recreation department opened a brand new trail in the NE neighborhood of the capitol city, connecting East Bay Drive by Howard Road to the Reeves Middle School grounds. What has been a secret, neighborhood boot path for many years is now an official city trail, thanks to the support of a generous grant by REI and the incredibly trail work of the Washington Trail Association.
On June 13th, 2019, Olympic National Park opened the entirety of Obstruction Point Road! This amazingly scenic and stunning eight mile dirt road from Hurricane Ridge to Obstruction Point allows vehicles to travel along the remote ridge from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Area. The final five miles opened quietly on the morning of the 13th, greeting visitors of Washington State’s favorite National Park with windswept ridges and amazing views. In typical Olympic National Park fashion, the news was not announced via a Press Release like every other National Park in the United States typically does.
Deer Park, one of the prettiest ridges in Olympic National Park, has reopened for hiking, driving and camping!
Deer Park, located 14.5 miles east of Hurricane Ridge, is known for stunning views and incredible hiking, as well as being one of the best accessible destinations to star gaze. Deer Park rests in the Olympic Rainshadow, allowing for a windswept ridge that often has some of the best weather in Western Washington. With 14 campsites facing away from the lights of Sequim, Victoria and the other towns of the Salish Sea, Deer Park makes for the ideal destination for those looking for epic views and stunning experiences a mile above the sea.