If you’re visiting Washington State, you will need to go to Olympic National Park. First, the nationwide park is barely two hours out of Seattle. Second, there are a lot of wonderful issues to do in Olympic National Park, and third, it’s one of the crucial stunning nationwide parks in the United States.
Olympic National Park covers almost one million acres. The park is an expanse of snow-capped mountains, glacier meadows, seashores, and climbing trails galore. When planning an Olympic National Park itinerary, you’re spoiled for selection with all of the actions. For these wanting to escape metropolis life and keep in a cabin, tent, or campervan for some time, the nationwide park is an ideal journey.
Things to do in Olympic National Park
This information will cowl all one of the best issues to do in Olympic National Park. You could possibly be soaking in sizzling springs, cross-country snowboarding, and even recognizing mountain goats and mountain lions on scenic climbing trails. We’ll depart you with loads of inspiration.
But first, let’s check out some vital particulars. These are some fast FAQs with important info earlier than you go to Olympic National Park.
If You are Staying in Seattle and need to discover Olympic National Park, then this full-day tour provides an ideal overview of one of the best areas in the park!
How to get to Olympic National Park
The hottest approach to get to Olympic National Park is by automotive or ferry. Which it’s best to select relies upon totally on the place you need to go, so it’s value checking the locations you need to go to on an Olympic National Park map beforehand.
Driving is the simplest approach to get to the southern space of the nationwide park from Seattle. While if you would like to get to the north, catching the ferry from Seattle throughout Puget Sound is greatest. The Olympic National Park ferries take automobiles and foot passengers – so that you don’t have to depart your automotive behind in case you catch the ferry first.
Booking a shuttle to Olympic National Park may be a good suggestion if you would like to simply see a particular space. There is a bus line operating from Seattle to Olympic National Park too, so you’ll be able to all the time use public buses to attain the park if you would like extra freedom however can’t drive.
Getting round Olympic National Park is best with a automotive. While there are buses and shuttle companies, these don’t cowl all of the locations, points of interest, and issues to do in Olympic National Park. With a automotive, you’ll have the option to attain in every single place that you really want to go to. Check one of the best costs on Rental Cars right here.
Of course, it’s possible you’ll want to e book an organized tour of Olympic National Park. You gained’t have to fear about getting round or an excessive amount of driving. You sacrifice a little bit of freedom, however this can be a good choice in case you don’t need to hire a automotive.
Best time to go to
Usually, the recommendation for visiting nationwide parks is to keep away from the crowds and peak seasons. However, Olympic National Park is unbelievable in July and August.
If you’ll be able to go to simply earlier than the varsity holidays in June or in September, you’ll skip the crowds that the park attracts in the peak of summer season. But intention to go to Olympic National Park as shut to July and August as attainable.
These months have the warmest climate, and there may be much less probability that trails and points of interest can be closed due to unhealthy climate. Closures could be disappointing, particularly if you’ve traveled lengthy distances to see a selected attraction. The greatest time to go to is in the summer season season, when most issues stay open.
1. Lake Quinault
Lake Quinault is a glacially carved lake on the outskirts of Olympic National Forest. Sat in the dramatic hole of Quinault Valley, the lake is a scenic spot for watersports and a preferred place to keep in Olympic National Park.
There are two campgrounds in Quinault Valley, plus Lake Quinault Lodge, for anyone searching for luxurious lodging. Of course, you don’t have to keep in a single day. Even visiting Lake Quinault for a number of hours is likely one of the most enjoyable issues to do in Olympic National Park. On a sizzling day, there’s little higher than going for a fast swim, fish, or kayak. You can learn critiques on TripAdvisor and examine costs on Booking.com
2. La Push Beaches
La Push Beaches are three seashores unimaginatively named First Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach. The sequence of seashores are on the Pacific Northwest coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. For an unforgettable seaside day, visiting these seashores is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Olympic National Park.
First Beach is the simplest to entry and sits straight in entrance of the village of La Push. Second and Third Beach are accessed by way of trails on foot, and you may attain the trailheads by driving alongside La Push Road.
La Push Beaches are recognized for his or her wildlife sighting and gorgeous pure formations. You can spot whales and eagles on a fortunate day, and there are iconic sea stacks and tide swimming pools on all of the seashores. First Beach is especially well-known due to its point out in the Twilight saga. First Beach additionally has monumental bushes which were washed up as driftwood, so it’s a unbelievable spot for pictures.
3. Drive the Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway
The Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway stretches 61 miles throughout the Olympic Peninsula’s northern coast. You can drive the size of the byway in slightly below two hours – making it an ideal addition to a day’s itinerary in Olympic National Park.
Sandwiched between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic National Park, drivers have stunning views on both facet. The byway is superb for many who need a quick highway journey expertise, and you may cease at plenty of viewpoints alongside the way in which.
Driving the scenic byway is properly mixed with a go to to Lake Crescent, Port Angeles, Makah Indian Reservation, or La Push Beaches. There is already plenty of driving to do when visiting the park, so when you’ll be able to choose the scenic route, why not?
4. Klahhane Ridge Trail
Klahhane Ridge Trail is an final health take a look at. If you need difficult issues to do in Olympic National Park, add climbing the path from Klahhane Ridge to Mount Angeles to your to-do checklist.
Tackling Klahhane Ridge just isn’t for the fainthearted, although; you’ll want a powerful abdomen and good health ranges. The ridge is slim and requires some tough scrambling. Luckily, you might have gorgeous views over Olympic National Park to hold you motivated – simply don’t look down. You have even higher views on a transparent day from the Mount Angeles summit. Even in case you’ve visited Olympic National Park earlier than, the 360 levels vantage level can be spectacular.
Allow eight to ten hours to full the Klahhane Ridge to Mount Angeles summit hike. It is a full-day exercise in the nationwide park and requires preparation beforehand as amenities are severely restricted when you begin the path.
5. Marymere Falls, Olympic Peninsula
Does the Klahhane path sound a bit too intense? Hike to Marymere Falls as an alternative. Forget spending an entire day climbing; you’ll be able to attain the Marymere Falls in lower than an hour.
The path to Marymere Falls is likely one of the greatest quick trails in the nationwide park. It has a magical ambiance too that makes it very properly suited to households with younger kids. You’ll stroll by way of old-growth forests, previous twisted bushes and fairytale-like scenes – rising at a single-drop waterfall with a small plunge pool.
You can swim at Marymere Falls, so it’s value packing a swimsuit and towel. It is a superb selection for a brief hike with a rewarding cool-off on the finish.
6. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is a luxurious lodging choice and among the best issues to do in Olympic National Park. The National Park Service initially developed the resort, commercializing the pure sizzling springs and turning them into formal spa swimming pools. Now, you’ll be able to keep on the resort to benefit from the sizzling springs or e book to bathe in the swimming pools with no keep.
Hot spring periods are ninety minutes lengthy and have restricted availability. We advocate reserving in advance to keep away from arriving and discovering no slots accessible. It is value noting that the springs are solely open seasonally as properly. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort closes the swimming pools over winter, reopening them between spring and fall.
Sol Duc Hot Springs are a safer various to Olympic Hot Springs, which, whereas free to use, are thought-about excessive danger for harmful micro organism and are untreated for bathers. Commercialized sizzling springs have a tendency to be higher for secure and satisfying bathing.
7. Hike the Hoh River Trail
Hoh Rainforest is an unbelievably stunning temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park. It is a key marker in the nationwide park boundaries and is likely one of the Olympic National Park’s most spectacular areas to go to. The difficult Hoh River Trail is essentially the most stunning approach to expertise Hoh Rainforest.
The phrase ‘hoh’ is Native American and comes from the phrase ‘fast water. The Hoh River suits the name and is particularly impressive after heavy rainfall. The trail follows the river from the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center upstream to the Blue Glacier. The trail is 36 miles long, although you can pick smaller sections to hike if you are short on time.
Hikers usually tackle the trail over two to four days, depending on their free time and fitness level. The route takes you through dense temperate rainforest, glacial meadows, and past wildlife like elk and sometimes bears (take necessary precautions). There are multiple campgrounds en route, so you carry your camping gear, and plan stops beforehand.
Hiking along the Hoh River is one of the most rewarding things to do in Olympic National Park. If you have the time to spare, we recommend challenging yourself to this stunning multi-day hike.
8. Hike the Mount Storm King trail
The Mount Storm King trail still involves water views, just without a two to four-day commitment. Hiking up Mount Storm King barely requires a morning, let alone an entire day.
The 3.8-mile hike takes you through an old-growth forest and between numerous viewpoints. You have stunning views over Lake Crescent and the surrounding mountains from these viewpoints. Is the trail challenging? Relatively. You have to be confident enough to tackle technical parts of the path like a rope section and a scramble near the summit.
However, Mount Storm King is one of the best short trails and only takes around four hours to complete – so you should have plenty of energy to tackle difficult sections. The views make all the challenges worthwhile. Just time your hike with good weather to avoid extra difficulties like slippery or muddy conditions.
Hole-In-The-Wall is a unique rock formation located on the Pacific Northwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The most striking aspect of the formation is a large hole – large enough for visitors to walk through and snapshots of the beach scenery it frames. However, the whole formation is dotted with holes and pockmarks created during a volcanic eruption.
The ‘Wall’ is a big boulder run deeply aground in the sand. During low tide, you’ll be able to simply discover the entire boulder, taking your time to take photos and admire the formation. However, throughout excessive tide, you can’t stand up shut to the boulder, so select your visiting time correctly.
Hole-In-The-Wall takes about an hour to stroll alongside the Pacific Northwest Trail. You can be part of the path at Rialto Beach, and the seaside path has a wonderful view over the Pacific Ocean and shoreline. It’s a reasonable however stunning hike to full if you go to Olympic National Park.
10. Hall of Mosses path
The Hall of Mosses path is one other gem in Hoh Rainforest. The route is commonly described as atmospheric, and it’s clear to see why.
The Hall of Mosses has a particular feeling of pure grandeur, and the trail is lined by overgrown bushes and ferns lined in blankets and blankets of moss. The temperate rainforest has an actual elven really feel. If you ever needed to expertise residing in Tolkien’s creativeness, the Hall of Mosses appears an ideal place to begin and is like leaping straight right into a forest in Lord of the Rings.
The path is simply 0.8 miles lengthy – a handy, quick exercise to full on a go to to Hoh Rainforest. It is suited to households due to its size however truthfully needs to be visited by anybody visiting Olympic National Park. Walking the Hall of Mosses is definitely one of the crucial memorable issues to do in Olympic National Park.
11. Enchanted Valley
Enchanted Valley is a stupendous spot in Olympic National Park. The snow-capped Olympic Mountains encompass the valley, and it has the nickname the ‘valley of 10,000 waterfalls’. It very a lot has the same aesthetic to the Dolomites or Swiss mountains. It is the right place to go to to recognize the mountainous facet of the nationwide park.
Visiting the valley does require a little bit of dedication, although. It is barely accessible on foot, so visiting just isn’t one thing you’ll be able to squeeze right into a day – sadly, a automotive can not save the day when no roads can be found.
You can hike to the valley by way of Graves Creek Trail and discover the 38.5-mile Enchanted Valley Trail as a multi-day hike. You’ll want to put aside at the very least 4 days to go to, because the path has many scenic factors and pure points of interest that you just’ll need to detour to and cease at. There are designated tenting spots and some outhouses en route. You’ll want to carry all of your different provides. Enchanted Valley is an incredible multi-day expedition if you would like an actual journey.
12. Climb Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus is not any simple selecting. The peak is the tallest of the Olympic Mountains and is sort of 8000 toes tall. It is taken into account a difficult, extraordinarily technical climb and is barely accessible at sure instances of the yr. Climbers take two to 4 days to scale Mt Olympus – gradual and regular wins the race in this case.
By this level, you might have both written Mt Olympus off or are determined to give it a go. If you need to climb it, we advocate becoming a member of a guided climb. Often, you’ll have most of your gear supplied, and also you’ll have the protection web of a extremely educated, skilled information to present you the way in which.
Mt Olympus is a critical endeavor, however what higher approach to problem your self in Olympic National Park? On a transparent day, you’ll have views of the entire Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park from the summit. On some particular days, you’ll be able to even see the Canadian mountains throughout the border.
13. Hurricane Hill Trail
Looking for a viewpoint? Hurricane Hill has among the best in Olympic National Park. You have sweeping views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and offshore islands like Vancouver Island from the hill’s summit.
You stroll a 3.4 mile out and again route to attain the summit. The paved path is properly maintained and of reasonable issue. If Mount Storm King sounded a bit too technical, Hurricane Hill is a superb various. You’ll cross Hurricane Ridge and cross a number of scenic viewpoints earlier than reaching the ultimate summit.
Hiking up Hurricane Hill is likely one of the greatest hikes in Olympic National Park if you would like a simple hike with good views.
14. Go cross-country snowboarding on Hurricane Ridge
In winter, many trails in Olympic National Park shut, and plenty of points of interest turn out to be inaccessible. However, for Hurricane Ridge, winter is prime time. While the remainder of Olympic National Park is winding down, Hurricane Ridge is springing into full-blown snow sporting motion.
If you go to the Olympic Peninsula when there’s snowfall or in winter, Hurricane Ridge is one of the best place for snow sports activities. Cross nation snowboarding is the most well-liked exercise, adopted by snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowboarding in the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club. You can take your choose and simply spend an entire day on Hurricane Ridge.
You can drive up the Hurricane Ridge highway all yr spherical, though you’ll require snow tires. Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area supply carry amenities and gear leases for people who want them. Skiing is likely one of the most fun issues to do in Olympic National Park, and we advocate that you just go to Hurricane Ridge to strive it out.
15. Go whale watching from Port Angeles
There is all the time an opportunity of seeing whales from Olympic National Park seashores. But what if you would like to take issues extra into your individual fingers? Would you want to enhance your probabilities? We extremely advocate reserving a whale watching tour from Port Angeles.
Gray and humpback whales are essentially the most generally sighted. And, in case you are visiting Olympic National Park between March and November, we extremely advocate reserving a whale watching tour.
It may be whale watching, however you’re possible to see all types of marine animals on an tour as properly. Dolphins, seals, sea lions, and orcas frequent the waters off of Port Angeles. Sailing the waters round Olympic National Park is an expertise you’ll bear in mind.
16. Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is on the Pacific Northwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Rialto Beach is a shocking instance of coastal surroundings on the Olympic Peninsula and a particular place to go to.
You’ll spot driftwood bushes, sea stacks, and loads of tide swimming pools with starfish and engaging marine life. Rialto Beach can be a superb place for wildlife recognizing, and there have been studies of otter and eagle sightings – amongst many others. The coastal forest additionally provides a secluded really feel to Rialto Beach, and guests get the impression of being in an space of pure solace.
Halfway between Hole-In-The-Wall and First Beach, Rialto Beach is a perfect addition to a day on the west coast. Rialto Beach is very fashionable at sundown, so why not add it to the top of your day? Sitting on Rialto Beach with eagles overhead and the solar setting over the Pacific Ocean is a dreamy approach to finish any day of journey.
17. Makah Cultural and Research Center Museum
Makah Cultural and Research Center Museum is positioned simply exterior Olympic National Park. However, it’s undoubtedly value a detour. Besides, its exhibitions straight relate to the Olympic National Park’s historical past and native tradition.
The nationwide park has ties to eight completely different native tribes, together with the Makah. And, at Makah Cultural and Research Center, you’ll be able to study all concerning the tribe’s connection to Olympic National Park. The exhibitions are fascinating, with unique gadgets like baskets, bowls, and canoes, plus a reproduction longhouse. Some of the unique artifacts are over 500 years previous, and visiting the museum is a unbelievable approach to perceive the historical past of Olympic National Park.
The museum is in Neah Bay, close to the Makah Indian Reservation and on the finish of the Scenic Byway. The museum is a superb addition to your itinerary in case you plan to go to the Pacific Northwest coast, as it’s a simple detour from lots of the points of interest on the shoreline.
Visiting Makah Cultural and Research Center Museum is likely one of the most insightful issues to do in Olympic National Park. We extremely advocate paying a go to.
18. Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is (like Rialto Beach, Second Beach, and all the opposite seashores on the Olympic Peninsula) filled with fascinating geographical and geological points of interest. However, Ruby Beach has one of the best steadiness between a distant really feel and easy accessibility. If you need a close by car parking zone or are visiting on a wet day, Ruby Beach is nice to sprint out of your automotive to shortly sightsee.
You can wander amongst full-sized bushes which were washed ashore and rotted to driftwood, admire sea stacks, and peer into lots of tide swimming pools. Ruby Beach has black sand, which provides to the gothic, spooky ambiance. And, on an overcast day, Ruby Beach is definitely one of the crucial atmospheric locations to go to in Olympic National Park.
Ruby Beach could be very accessible. The seaside has a small car parking zone with bathroom amenities only a quick stroll away. Ruby Beach is a superb choice for a simple seaside day for households and people with restricted health or mobility.
19. Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent is one other of Olympic National Park’s glacial lakes, and visiting is a unbelievable approach to spend a day. You can fish, swim, boat, or picnic. The lake has a laidback ambiance and is the right place to indulge in a lazy afternoon of sunbathing and lakeside residing.
Mountain peaks encompass Lake Crescent, and it has greenery and forest rising proper up to its waterfront. Beauty is an understatement, and visiting Lake Crescent is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Olympic National Park.
Lake Crescent is properly mixed with a number of different issues to do in Olympic National Park, together with the Juan Scenic Byway and Mount Storm King path. There are additionally loads of climbing trails across the lake, so there isn’t a probability of you losing interest.
20. Spruce Nature Trail
Spruce Nature Trail is our closing climbing path in Hoh Rainforest. The one-and-a-half-mile stroll is a brief and candy introduction to the temperate rainforest and takes a most of half an hour to full – even with a cease or two.
The spotlight of the path is the nurse logs. Nurse logs are an interesting pure phenomenon the place new bushes start to sprout and develop from fallen bushes – creating the title ‘nurse logs’. The course of has been taking place for hundreds of years, so that you’ll see nurse logs in all phases. The course of has additionally impacted the alignment of grown bushes, and also you’ll see many bushes in straight strains thanks to how they grew out of the identical log.
If you need a whistle-stop tour of Hoh Rainforest, the Spruce Nature Trail is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Olympic National Park. It is botanically and geographically attention-grabbing. Plus, it’s a enjoyable hike for many who aren’t as eager to full longer trails or multi-day hikes in Olympic National Park.
21. Visit Salmon Cascades
Salmon leaping is a phenomenon that happens throughout the globe. However, Salmon Cascades is definitely among the best locations to see it in the United States – if not the world.
Salmon Cascades is a chosen viewing platform the place you’ll be able to watch the salmon soar their approach again upstream in September and October. The salmon are extremely decided and scale small waterfalls, boulders, and the energy of the present to make their approach again to the birthplace to lay their very own eggs yearly.
Not visiting Olympic National Park in September or October? Don’t fear; you get a second probability to look ahead to fish leaping as steelhead trout make the identical journey upstream between March and May. If your go to coincides with these months, it’s value stopping by to test it out.
22. Visit Sol Duc Falls
Who doesn’t love a superb waterfall? While Marymere Falls is a reasonably waterfall with an ideal swimming plunge pool, Sol Duc Falls is greatest if you would like a dramatic waterfall to admire.
Sol Duc Falls drops 48 toes right into a canyon and has the dimensions and energy to impress even essentially the most seasoned waterfall chaser. Another draw of Sol Duc Falls is the a number of viewpoints. You can watch the falls from a tiny footbridge crossing the canyon, upstream on the persevering with path path, and downstream as you method the waterfall. It’s good to get the possibility to observe Sol Duc Falls from completely different angles – particularly on a busy day.
Hiking to Sol Duc Falls is easy and bodily simple. The path is 1.6 miles return, so it ought to take you round an hour to full. It is greatest mixed with a visit to Salmon Cascades, the Scenic Byway, Hoh Rainforest, and Lake Crescent, all of that are close by or en route.
There are so many issues to do in Olympic National Park. Sure, close by nationwide parks like Mt. Rainer National Park could be tempting to go to. But Olympic National Park has an extra-special ambiance.
The scale, variety, and fantastic thing about Olympic National Park make it among the best locations to go to in Washington State and the United States. Have a unbelievable time.