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Reader Participation Day: Visit Wyoming's National Parks, or Those in Washington State?


Would you want to visit Wyoming's national parks before those in Washington state? Camping at Easy Pass in North Cascades photo by NPS, Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River by Kurt Repanshek.

It was quite a battle last week when we asked whether you would rather visit Utah's national parks or those in California.

Well, here's another head-scratcher: Would you first head to Wyoming and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, or Washington State with Olympic, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier national parks?

Some might say this is a no-brainer, that you have to see the world's first national park -- Yellowstone. But ... the parks in Washington state are no slouches. Heck, I consider Olympic National Park to be three parks in one: You've got the beaches and Pacific Ocean, the temperate rainforests, and the high country, complete with glaciers. And Mount Rainier and North Cascades offer some incredibly beautiful, and rugged, landscapes.


Washington state because I really want to see Olympic.

I live in Wyoming and just came back from Yellowstone. For family vacation next month we are taking in North Cascades (drive through) and Olympic. I'll let you know when I get back :-)

Washington. I've been to the Wyoming parks but not to Washington's.

That's really a toughie, since Olympic is one wonderful giant park, North Cascades beckons, though I've not had a chance to explore beyond driving through it, and of course, Rainier is infinitely interesting. BUT, Yellowstone, especially when combined with Grand Teton and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is always and forever at the top of my list. Where else can you get that variety of grandeur, scenery, waterways and waterfalls, wildlife like no other, geologic splendor, and geo-thermal features in such abundance and variety??

I've been to all these parks, though the Washington ones were in May so our experience with Mt. Rainier and NOCA was limited. But that said, I think I'd agree with the comments by V.C. Wald.

Speaking of, VP Biden just was at Yellowstone.

Both! I visited Yellowstone and Tetons when I was 16 (many, many years ago) but it was just a quick drive-thru trip. We did both in 8 hours. It drove me insane that we weren't allowed to get out of the car and hike or look at anything, so since then I've been wanting to go back and actually experience the parks.

Washington's parks are also on my list. I've never been to any parks there, but I've seen pictures and have heard so many wonderful stories that I just have to go! I think next year I'm going to convince my fiance to skip the Vegas vacation and take me to some parks!

What a choice Kurt has given us! All of the parks mentioned comprise the best of the best the national park system has to offer. The scenery of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are indeed iconic to all Americans. In the national parks of the State of Washington, you won't encounter moose or Grizz, nor will you encounter geysers and herds of American bison.

However, the national parks of the State of Washington offer close-up views of real glaciers, a giant, debatably dormant, strato volcano towering above 4000 meters, beaches, sea stacks, tidal pools, rain forests, huge Douglas fir, panoramic views of the Straits of San Juan de Fucca, and Native American history representing the tribes of the Pacific Northwest.

I've not had the chance to go backpacking in the North Cascades, but a relatively easy half-day hike to Cascade Pass is among the best short hikes I've taken, anywhere.

Suffice it to say, however, that the Tetons and Yellowstone get much more international visitation, while visits to the parks of the State of Washington are dominated by residents of that State, followed by residents of Oregon and California.

We live in Seattle, and the magnificent parks mentioned in Washington State are ones we visit all of the time. All three are weekenders from here, and we're quite proud of them. We've enjoyed Yellowstone more than once, and will return there again. We're trying to fill out our passports, so Glacier up in Montana is on next year's list, with Little Big Horn also possible on a drive-across the country trip.

By the way - as far as international visitors. We overnighted at a B&B at the base of Rainier for my birthday a few weeks ago and had dinner at the Paraise Lodge. Driving up the mountain and back was crazy crowded, and we were surprised at every turnout or overlook to see hundreds of visitors speaking Hindi or Punjabi, in particular. The widely varied multilingual conversations in and around Paradise made me think that all of the Washington State license plates I saw were probably rentals.

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