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Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington State

3.9
#98 of 136 in Nature in Washington State
Forest National Park
Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a National Forest located in southern Washington, USA, managed by the United States Forest Service. With an area of 1.32 million acres (5300 km2), it extends 116 km along the western slopes of Cascade Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River. The forest straddles the crest of the South Cascades of Washington State, spread out over broad, old growth forests, high mountain meadows, several glaciers, and numerous volcanic peaks. The forest's highest point is at 12,276 ft. at the top of Mount Adams, the second tallest volcano in the state after Rainier. It includes the 110000acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, established by Congress in 1982.HistoryGifford Pinchot National Forest is one of the older national forests in the United States. Included as part of the Mount Rainier Forest Reserve in 1897, the area was set aside as the Columbia National Forest in 1908. It was renamed the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in honor of Gifford Pinchot, on June 15, 1949. In 1985 the non-profit Gifford Pinchot Task Force formed to protect the area. People for over 6,000 years have made an impact in the ecology of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Native Americans hunted in high meadows below receding glaciers. The natives then began to manage the forest to meet their own needs. One method they used was to burn specific areas to help in the huckleberry production. About 338 spots more than 6,000 culturally modified trees were identified, of which 3,000 are protected now. Archaeological investigations on the forest continually find new information to this day about the past lifestyles of the Native Americans.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our world travel planner, Mount Rainier National Park Edition.
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Where to stay in Mount Rainier National Park

You could visit Mount Rainier National Park on a day trip from Seattle, but you'll probably want to stay in or closer to the park to maximize your time there. The park provides three developed campgrounds and one primitive one with nearly 500 individual sites between them. For extra creature comforts, book a room at either the National Park Inn or the larger Paradise Inn. Many park visitors lay their heads in the villages west of the park along National Park Highway. Places such as Jasper, Mineral Lake, and Alder Lake offer a mix of lodges, inns, and bed and breakfasts, almost all of which deliver full views of towering Mount Rainier. You might also find reasonable summer deals on hotels at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort just north of the park, though this is a less convenient option.
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  • This National Forest Area is relatively little visited and it is possible to find some solitude amongst the beautiful terrain which is a mixture of forest, lakes and mountain foothills. There are clea...  more »
  • Very disappointing. Drove in the National Forest for 2.5 hours can't really say we saw too much other than very tall trees. Virtually no others vehicles were in the forest. So glad we were out of ther...  more »
  • Whether it be hiking, camping, riding motorcycles or sitting in the pools at Lower Lewis Falls, this has become one of my favorite places in Washington. A must visit if you like the outdoors.  more »