Declared a national monument in 1909 and a national park in 1938, the 1406-sq-mile Olympic National Park shelters a unique rainforest, copious glaciated mountain peaks and a 57-mile strip of Pacific coastal wilderness that was added to the park in 1953. One of North America's great wilderness areas, most of it remains relatively untouched by human habitation, with 1000-year-old cedar trees juxtaposed with pristine alpine meadows, clear glacial lakes and a largely roadless interior.
Opportunities for independent exploration in this huge backcountry region abound, be they for hiking, fishing, kayaking or skiing. The park's distinct and highly biodiverse ecosystem is rich in plant and animal life, much of it – such as the majestic Roosevelt elk – indigenous to the region. Boasting numerous large, car-accessible campgrounds and around 100 backcountry camp sites, the park offers easy and rewarding overnight excursions.