One of the most lush and beautiful areas in the entire country is on the Olympic Peninsula. The virgin forests of the Quinault and Hoh Rain Forest have some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.
Olympic Rain Forest
The temperate rain forests are found on the coast, at the lowest elevations, or on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula, like the Hoh Rain Forest. An abundance of animal and plant life thrives on the moderate temperatures and abundant rain in the area. In the summer, fog is everywhere, further adding to the humid conditions that support the diverse ecosystems of the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula.
Western Washington State is even more interesting due to these natural features. Trees like the Sitka spruce dominate the rainforest, but the Hoh Rain forest is also home to the western red cedar as well. Animals like the Roosevelt elk, the river otter and the black bear also live on the peninsula and in the Olympic Mountains. In fact, western Washington has so much variety; you can go from backcountry skiing to a riverside hot spring within hours. If you like hiking, the Olympic Mountains is just the beginning. There are lovely seaside cliffs around Neah Bay, and untamed beaches on the Washington Coast. You can spend a week exploring the Washington State Parks of the peninsula and still not see it all. West of the Olympic Mountains, the weather is much drier and so there are no rainforests. As a result the trees are different; you are more likely see the western pine trees and vine maples.
Quinault Rain Forest
The Olympic Mountains also stop the moisture from the ocean from going east, which adds to the large amount of rainfall this areas sees, and creating wet areas like the temperate rain forests like the Quinault and the Hoh rain forest. The soil in these Washington State Parks is helped by the minerals from old volcanic ash. Moss, ferns, mushrooms and other water loving plants also thrive in this moist environment. You can see the cycle of life from beginning to end. For example, you might come across a fallen log that is slowly decaying. This dead log is where seedlings thrive from the nutrients of the fallen log while feeding from the moisture of the rainforest floor. If you see a bunch of young trees with roots hugging a larger log, you know that this is the result of a carefully balanced eco-system. Filled with Washington State Parks, the most pristine wilderness areas on the Olympic Peninsula are protected for your use and enjoyment.
Washington State Forest
Thankfully, places like these are protected, and fill large areas of the Olympic Peninsula, so this is one of the Washington State Parks you should try not to miss on your Washington State vacation.