Facebook is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you get political rants, meme shares, and whining. On the other, interesting articles and pictures. And one of the newer features: on this day. I sometimes glance through this to see where I may have been a few years back. Today, I was reminded that a mere nine years ago, in June of 2008, I was exploring the national parks of the Pacific Northwest.

This is not a complete list of all the parks one has to choose from in what is – in my mind – the most beautiful part of the country. But these are those I visited on that wonderful driving trip of 2008.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen is not one of the most popular parks, being kind of forgotten in California when compared to Sequoia or Yosemite, but that’s a shame. Created around Lassen Peak, the park features green forests on one side, and a barren area strewn with volcanic boulders on the other – the site of the most recent eruption. Steam vents and sulfur pools dot the landscape. There is not really any place to stay in the park, so it’s best done as a day trip or drive through.

Crater Lake National Park

Don’t miss this spot. Crater Lake in Oregon is unique in the world, a lake in a dead volcano caldera, complete with its own island. In the late spring, snow still covers the landscape and, while the rim road may not be fully open, you can enjoy the stunning view of the world’s deepest lake from the lodge.

Olympic National Park

The Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington is dominated by Olympic National Park. Home to impressive mountain ranges from the eastern entrance, rugged coasts on the northwest, and a rainforest on the southwest, it is incredibly diverse. Take time to explore all of the facets, though Hurricane Ridge is only open in summer and depending on weather. My favorite part is the astounding variety of green mosses in the rainforest portion, pictured above with a much younger me.

Redwoods National Park

The final national park on our 2008 journey was Redwoods, situated along the coast of Northern California. Home to the tallest trees in the world, it may not be as famous as its cousin Sequoia in the Sierras, but is just as impressive. You haven’t lived until you’ve hugged one of these giants!

If you love natural beauty, each of these is a worth destination.  If you want to know more about the itinerary of this driving trip – complete with non-national park attractions – please let me know.

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