Located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park is known for its ecosystem diversity, from old-growth rainforests, the glacier of M. Olympus, and its extensive Pacific coastline. A visit to Olympic Peninsula National Park is a must-do either as a day trip from Seattle, or as part of any Washington State road trip itinerary.
Things to See in Olympic National Park
There are many things to see and do at Olympic National Park in Washington state. Indeed, the Olympic National Park in Washington State is a unique and diverse natural area that includes a temperate rainforest, glaciers, and a stunning Pacific coastline. These three distinct ecosystems offer visitors a chance to experience some of the world’s most stunning and important natural wonders.
Olympic National Park Rainforests
The temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park is a truly magical place, with towering trees, lush undergrowth, and a near-constant mist that gives the forest an otherworldly feel. This ecosystem is dominated by towering trees such as Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and Douglas fir, which can reach heights of up to 330 feet. The forest is also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including the threatened northern spotted owl, black bears, and elk. This forest receives high amounts of rainfall each year, which helps to create the lush and thriving ecosystem that is found here.
There are two main rain forests in Olympic National Park:
Hoh Rain Forest
This is a unique and peaceful hike that takes you through the world-famous Hoh Rain Forest. This easy 2.5-mile round trip hike is perfect for those who want to experience the ancient rain forest and its towering trees. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the few temperate rainforests in the world and is home to some of the tallest trees on earth, including Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock. This trail is a great place to see wildlife, including elk, deer, and black bears, as well as an abundance of ferns, mosses, and lichens.
Quinault Rain Forest
Similar to the Hoh Rain Forest, the Quinault Rain Forest offers a different experience for those who want to experience the beauty of a temperate rain forest. The easy 2.6-mile round trip hike to the Rain Forest Nature Trail is a great place to start. This trail takes you through the heart of the Quinault Rain Forest and offers stunning views of the forest and the surrounding mountains.
Visit the Pacific Ocean’s Beaches
Olympic National Park has over 73 miles of coastline, and each beach has its own unique character. Some popular beaches include Rialto Beach, Second Beach, and Ruby Beach.
This easy 2-mile round trip hike takes you along the rugged coast of Olympic National Park to the famous Rialto Beach. This hike is perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged coastline. The Rialto Beach trail offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the unique sea stacks that dot the shoreline. The beach is also a great place to spot wildlife, including harbor seals, sea lions, and eagles.
The Olympic Mountains
Sol Duc Falls
This hike is a moderate 3.7-mile round trip that takes you through a lush forest to the stunning Sol Duc Falls. This hike is particularly beautiful in the spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. The trail takes you along the Sol Duc River and past several other smaller waterfalls before reaching the main attraction, the Sol Duc Falls. This hike is a great place to see wildlife, including black bears, elk, and deer, and is a must-visit for anyone visiting Olympic National Park.
This is a popular destination for its breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, glaciers, and wildflowers. The hike is a moderate 4.9-mile round trip, leading to the Hurricane Hill summit. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and meadows, making it a popular spot for both hikers and picnickers. This hike is best done in the summer when the weather is warm and the wildflowers are in full bloom.
This is a difficult hike that takes you to the summit of Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Olympic National Park. The hike is a strenuous 17-mile round trip and takes several days to complete. The trail takes you through a diverse range of landscapes, including rainforests, alpine meadows, and glaciers, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. This hike is only recommended for experienced hikers who are prepared for a challenging and strenuous trek.
Take a Scenic Drive
The park has several scenic drives that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. One option is the Hurricane Ridge Road, which winds through the mountains and offers views of the park’s alpine meadows.
Olympic National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, elk, mountain goats, and bald eagles. Keep an eye out for these animals as you explore the park.
The park has several lakes and rivers where you can go kayaking or canoeing. This is a great way to explore the park’s waterways and get a different perspective of the landscape.
Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness area in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, offering a range of scenic hikes to explore its diverse landscapes. Here is a closer look at some of the park’s most popular destinations:
Hiking Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness area and has over 600 miles of trails, making it a great destination for hiking and trekking/backpacking to explore its diverse landscapes. Some popular backpacking routes include the Seven Lakes Basin and the Elwha River.
Olympic National Park Glacier Hiking
The glaciers in Olympic National Park are another stunning example of the natural beauty that can be found within this park. The park is home to several glaciers, including the Blue Glacier, which is the largest glacier
How to Visit Olympic National Park
Stop by the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to learn more about the park’s history and ecosystem. It also has a gift shop and a theater that shows park-related films.
A road trip to Olympic National Park is a great way to experience the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. With its rugged coastline, temperate rainforests, and towering mountains, Olympic National Park offers a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities and scenic beauty.