If you're considering taking a break within the great outdoors then you probably couldn't get closer to perfection than a region of the USA that is flanked to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Rocky Mountains.
Pacific Northwest tours take place in quintessential wilderness country and hold the American states of Washington and Oregon as well as the Canadian Province of British Columbia within their far-reaching natural borders. Cities, such as
, Portland and
, are all fondly-regarded for their blend of laid back Sunday morning style and superb surrounding scenery and if you're hoping to combine culture, trekking and same darn fine coffee then you won't go far wrong.
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Olympic National Park Situated on the western front of Washington State this was one of the last areas of America to be discovered by explorers and as such the Olympic National Park has been deemed as both a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as an International Biosphere Reserve. As the park has such a rich variety of landscapes (coastal, alpine, rainforest and dry forest) you'll find a fabulous array of trails that lead from one incredible view to the next with waterfalls, wildlife, mountain foothills and thermal springs, all presenting a tantalising taste of the Pacific Northwest.
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Mount Rainier National Park As far as snow-capped volcanic backdrops go, Mount Rainier (at just over 14,000 feet) certainly takes some beating and if you find yourself in Washington State then please be sure to pay Mount Rainier National Park a visit. As it's an active volcano, Mount Rainier has a certain air of anticipation surrounding it, and its fertile landscapes, stunning glaciers and plenty of fast-flowing rivers, all make for some excellent company far away from home. On the wildlife front, expect to be accompanied by black-tailed deer, mountain goats and the occasional black bear.
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Glacier National Park Covering just over 2,500sq miles and criss-crossed with over 700 miles of well-posted trails, Glacier NP presents a great introduction to the landscapes and the lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. Despite its name, there are only around 25 glaciers within the national park, compared with around 150 in the 19th century, and they are retreating, so now is the time to visit before they disappear altogether. The glacial landscape has carved deep U-shaped valleys and created brilliantly coloured lakes over the centuries, and all of the wildlife seen within the park is indigenous. The official symbol of the park is the mountain goat, with its distinctive pointy horns and furry beard, but you're also likely to spot bears, moose and bighorn sheep.
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Yellowstone National Park & Grand Tetons, Wyoming Further inland from the Pacific coast you'll find the world's first ever national park and probably one of the most famous and not just because of a certain picnic basket stealing bear. Waterfalls, geysers, mountains and wildlife make Yellowstone National Park an absolute must visit even if you're only in the Pacific Northwest for a short period of time. Of course, if you do have more time, then just 10 miles south of Yellowstone lies the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and let's face it the chance to compare both of these stunning protected areas within the same trip is bound to leave you feeling slightly spoiled for choice.
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Seattle As the Pacific Northwest's largest city, Seattle certainly has a lot to live up to and thanks to the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and an array of art galleries, heritage museums and centres for performing arts, you'll discover that it more than holds its own against some stunning surrounding scenery. Often thought of as a gateway to explore Alaska and Olympic National Park as well as being the home of coffee and grunge music, 'goodnight, Seattle, we love you' is not just the motto of Frasier Crane it's pretty much what everyone thinks and with good reason.
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Tours that visit Northwest USA
15 days | USA West | Camping
Diverse natural wonders are found throughout this tour, ranging from the thermal geysers of Yellowstone, the moonlike formations at Craters of the Moon National Park and the massive glacial carved walls of the Yosemite Valley.
Highlights: Mt Rainier | Yellowstone | Idaho | YosemiteView tour
9 days | USA West | Hotels
The West is still very much wild in Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks, and a photographers dream. Thrashing geysers, bubbling mud pools and towering peaks await alongside a wide array of wildlife on this western lodging tour.
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