Category: pacific northwest

Walking down the winding staircase from the Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the sandy beach below, you can stroll across the sandy beach as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Waves and wind pound the surrounding bluffs at this western-most point of land in Oregon. Daytime views provide an unparalleled opportunity to watch California gray whales and other marine mammals swimming just offshore and the lighthouse itself is a fascinating glimpse into our history. Just another wonderful day on public lands. Photo by Lisa McNee, Bureau of Land Management.

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is a place to let your spirit and feet run wild. From the hub of Rainier’s snow-capped peak, miles of trails spread out across the backcountry, offering endless adventures and stunning views. Like walking through rooms in nature’s mansion, you can stroll through an alpine meadow past a shimmering blue lake before hiking over a mountain pass into a deep evergreen forest. Every turn is a surprise and every moment is a treasure. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.

Walk alongside wild roses in bloom and watch summer unfold at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. Explore the freshwater marshes, grasslands, coastal dunes, old growth forests and beaches – and get to know one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States, Willapa Bay. Wet fields and soggy forests provide incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.   Visitors may spot residents such as Roosevelt elk, long-tailed weasels, black bears, shorebirds, and spawning salmon. Walk the Art Trail boardwalk with friends and take in the sounds and sights of summer. Photo by Andy Zahn (

The peaceful beauty of a winter sunset at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon gives few hints of the landscape’s violent past. For approximately 400,000 years, volcanic eruptions built up a 12,000 foot mountain now called Mt. Mazama. 7,700 years ago, the volcano erupted in a cataclysmic explosion. Fatally weakened, the top of the mountain collapsed and created the hole – the caldera – that we now see today filled with pristine blue water. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.

From tidepooling to witnessing Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, there is something for every visitor at Yaquina Head. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since the light was first lit on August 20, 1873. In the tide pools, visitors can see marine life such as anemones, urchins, mussels,  barnacles and seastars. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).

Olympic National Park’s 73-mile long wilderness coast is a rare treasure. This Washington park is home to rocky headlands, sandy beaches and tidepools teeming with life. Offshore sea stacks topped by nesting seabirds and wind-sheared trees add to the already picturesque landscape of Ruby Beach. Sunset photo by Brooke McLean (

Glimpsed from Seattle, Washington, or viewed from up close, Mount Rainier at sunset is an incredible sight. Trails throughout Mount Rainier National Park offer amazing chances to take pictures of the mountain, walk through colorful wildflower meadows, hang out next to still alpine lakes and encounter fascinating wildlife. One visit might not be enough. Photo courtesy of Albert Yang.

Happy 80th Birthday to Olympic National Park! Named after the Olympic Mountains it encompasses, Olympic National Park in Washington was established on June 29, 1938 to preserve the area’s unique wildlife and landscapes. With snow-capped mountains, lush forests and picturesque beaches, few parks posses such a variety of sights and experiences. Photo by Kristopher Schoenleber (

What are you doing for National Get Outdoors Day? If you’re a fan of public lands, you could frolic in the sand at a national seashore, take a peaceful hike in a wilderness area, go bird watching in a wildlife refuge or enjoy breathtaking views at our incredible national parks. These deer at Olympic National Park in Washington seem to have the right idea. Photo by Jason Horstman (

Grab your hiking boots and get ready for spring at North Cascades National Park in Washington. You’ll feel the burn getting up to Easy Peak, but a view of Whatcom Peak and Mt. Challenger in the distance, it’s like standing on top of the world. Say hi to the mountain goats! Photo by National Park Service.