Tips and Tricks on Visiting 15 National Parks, Straight From Park Employees

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — Hawaii

Created by more than 70 million years of volcanic activity, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has more than 155 miles of hiking trails, including the popular Kilauea Iki Trail, a 4-mile hike that starts in a rainforest near the volcano’s summit area and takes you on a 500-foot descent to see the Mars-like terrain of the Kilauea Iki Crater.

As for views, nothing “compares to the jaw-dropping beauty of watching the sun rise over the Kilauea Caldera from the Jaggar Museum overlook, with the erupting lava lake glowing a mile and a half away, and the immense size of the caldera is revealed as the stars succumb to daylight,” Jessica Ferracane, a public affairs specialist at the park, said.

While this vantage point is the busiest location in the park come sunset, get there at 5 a.m., Ferracane said, and you’ll feel as though you have the entire volcano to yourself. You’ll want hiking boots, pants, and light rain gear when visiting the park since the crater’s summit can get chilly, according to Ferracane.

olympic-national-park

Olympic National Park — Washington

Washington’s Olympic National Park is more like three parks in one. The space is home to forests, 70 miles of coastline, and glacier-capped mountains.

Because the park has few roads that cross straight through, acting public information officer Penny Wagner said travelers should prepare for how long it takes to travel from one point in the park to another.

Among the 500 trails within Olympic National Park, the 3.2-mile-long Hurricane Hill Trail will bring you past views of Mt. Olympus, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and of Vancouver Island.

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