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3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Sykesville, Maryland
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3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Hi, I know this is a highly subjective question but please bear with me! I have three days on the back side of a (July) Alaska cruise to see the greater Seattle natural wonders. I looking for some short answers to sway me to or from Olympic, Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens. I have been to many NP's from Acaidia to the Rockies to the Southwest so I'm looking for something unique to the Northwest. But not fog!! Mt. St. Helens appeals to me because of its infamy. Any takers for this question? Thank you in advance. PS. I'll be alone and somewhat broke from my cruise so I can go for rustic cabin lodging (with a real bed if you please)!

Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

When in July? Rainier is my favorite of the 3 (and this, like you said, is highly subjective) but it is an alpine park, and probably won't be fully accessible until mid-July at least. If you aren't hiking this doesn't matter so much (all roads should be open by early July) but if you are, you'll want trails that are mostly free of snow. There are many low elevation sights at Olympic so if you're coming in early July, Olympic might be a better bet.

With 3 days you could see both Rainier and St Helens. It won't be an exhaustive visit, but they are close enough that you could spend a day and a half at each.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

St. Helens is unique, but the once beautiful mountain is now an example of the power of nature, devastation and the renewal of life. If you want the stunning beauty of one of America's most beautiful peaks that is also easy to visit pick Rainier. Olympic offers one of the most unique Parks of all with tempreate rainforests, wild ocean beaches and alpine peaks. It is also the more difficult Park to visit of the three. With three days you could easily visit Rainier and St. Helens. Olympic is a trip by itself. Few rustic cabins for rent can be found in any of these areas. Your pick. Each is very different. Olympic is my personal favorite for many reasons, but Rainier is one of the best Parks in the System!

Edited: 05 April 2012, 18:39
Sykesville, Maryland
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3. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Thanks for the feedback! I'm thinking that I'm going to concentrate on the peninsula this time and dedicate another trip to the Cascades area. Walking to the Northeastern most point in the US has a nice ring to it so I'm thinking about this itinerary: Get transportation from cruise terminal back to airport. Rent a car from the airport. Drive to Port Angeles. Spend night. One day devoted to Neah Bay area and the ocean. The next day devoted to Hurricane ridge and any other short hikes I can fit in. Spend night. Get up early, drive back to SeaTac for an 11AM flight. Any comments on this? Question should I take the Edmunds-Kingston ferry or should I drive "around the bottom" of the sound. Google says drive around.

Renton, WA
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4. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

I don't understand why you have to go to the airport to rent a car. Plenty of car rental places in the city, and the rates are much cheaper than at the airport.

Poulsbo, Washington
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5. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

If you are hitting the Northeast section of the Park you do Not want to drive around. Either the Edmonds or DT ferry will do. Keep a couple of things in mind. Renting a car from the airport is more expensive than DT. check rates. Going to Neah Bay is a bit of a drive. The view at the NE corner is impressive, but you can not really walk around there. Shi Shi Beach south of Neah Bay is where you want to hit afterwards. This will all be a long day though. The one thing you are going to miss big time though is one of our magnificent temperate rainforests, which is a real shame. You could consider the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach instead of Neah Bay. Or driving South and around and visiting the Quinault Rainforest and Ruby Beach. Our rainforests are a big part of what makes the Olympics unique.

Port Townsend...
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6. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

It IS the NorthWEST corner, isn't it? Or have I just not had enough coffee yet? Maybe I need a vacation.

Sykesville, Maryland
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7. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Thanks for the tips and the gentle geographic reminder! I won't be in Maine! I thought the airport would be cheaper, I'd be happy to rent in the city, I'll start looking into it now.

Poulsbo, Washington
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8. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Thanks Chuck I had way too much coffee when I wrote that! N3 it is the NW Corner of the Penninsula!

Edited: 06 April 2012, 17:07
Oregon
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9. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

Hmm, have not been following this. Surprised you gave up on Mt Rainier and Mt St H. Seems like ideal way to spend three days. I think both are spectacular mountain places.

As for Olympic view from Hurricane Ridge is one of the best in country, though Rainier from Tipsoo Lake can match it. Hoh Rain Forest requires some walking to enjoy. quite different from Rainier and Mt St H and a bit less to me. I have lived my life in NW and seen much of it, but have not yet been to NW corner. Since I have not been there maybe i should not say, but hard to believe it would be better than Hoh RF or the 3 Mtn places

Edited: 06 April 2012, 17:37
10. Re: 3 days at Olympic, Mt. Rainier or near Mt. St. Helens?

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