Looking for the top 10 things to do in Olympic National Park? You will not be disappointed.
 
Travel to Olympic National Park to discover nature at its best in a wild, vast wilderness. Walk pristine sandy beaches and rocky shores of the Pacific coast. See breathtaking glacier-capped mountains. Experience thick, lush rainforests where some of the world’s largest and oldest trees exist. Gigantic Douglas firs, towering Sitka spruce and massive Western redcedar trees reach for the stars above. Stunning lakes display their reflective beauty and rivers wind through nature’s playground.
 
This unique protected area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is also an International Biosphere Reserve.
 

Top 10 things to do in Olympic National Park

  • Lake Crescent’s serene, reflective beauty against the Olympic mountain foothills is breathtaking. Take a short hike to the 90 ft. Marymere waterfall. Rent canoes or visit the historic 1915 Lake Crescent Lodge.
  • Hurricane Ridge offers spectacular views of the glacier-capped mountains. Located 17 miles from Port Angeles, this area is popular all year. In winter you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled and tube. There is a cafe and equipment rental shop at the end of the road. Always check for weather and winter road conditions.
  • Sol Duc Valley features the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, which is only open during the summer. There are many hiking trails here. In the fall, it is a great place to see spawning salmon jump at the Salmon Cascades Overlook. Check for road and trail conditions before going.
  • Kalalouch Beach, wide and pristine, is perfect for long beach walks. Watch the spectacular sunrise and sunset from the bluff.
  • Ruby Beach is a favourite spot. It has sea stack islands with a lovely smooth rock and sand beach. Watch out for wild waves and always check the tide schedule.
  • Hoh Rain Forest is a dense temperate rainforest with thick, lush mosses and ferns. We love moss!
  • Ozette beaches offer a chance to view seals, and during migratory months gray whales. In the 1960s, over 50,000 artifacts uncovered after a storm became one of the richest North American archeological finds. Neah Bay’s Makah Musuem displays many of these priceless pieces.
  • Rialto Beach features wild waves, off-shore sea stack islands and a sea-carved arch known as Hole-in-the-Wall. High tides come in very fast. Keep safe! Avoid the possibility of being trapped! Always check the tide schedule. Some areas are only passable at low tide.
  • Mora Beach is a great place to breath in the salty, fresh sea air. Pick a spot amongst the driftwood lining the beach and listen to the roar of the ocean.
  • Quinault Rainforest is home to some of the largest trees in the world. Drive the 31-mile-long Quinault Rainforest loop through the valley, along the river and around Quinault Lake. See  dancing streams, tumbling waterfalls and where the largest Sitka spruce stood. The drive will take about 2 hours. Download the hiking map.

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Quick Facts

  • The park opened June 29, 1938.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • It is a designated United National International Biosphere Reserve.
  • The rainforest receives 12-14 feet of rainfall each year.
  • The United States has three temperate rainforests, all located on the Olympic Peninsula.
  • In 2011, the largest dam removal in US history began on the Elwha River.
  • The west coast marine area is protected by three national refuges and the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary.
  • More than 250 bird species can be found on the peninsula.
  • Roosevelt elk, black bears, cougars and mountain goats are a few of the 70 species of mammals in the park.
  • There are up to 4,000 Roosevelt elk living in the park.
  • The park is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the world. Read about the Forest of Giants. Search the National Registry of American Forests.
  • 50,000 artifacts discovered on Ozette Beach made it one of North America’s richest archeological sites.
  • Lake Crescent water is so clear that in some places it is possible to see at least 60 feet down. This lake is the only place in the world you can find Crescenti and Beardslee trout.
  • More than 50,000 people camp in the park each year.

Before you go

  • Take time to plan your visit to avoid disappointment.
  • Make reservations for all accommodations including campsites. The popular summer season sells out fast for available spots. Many facilities are seasonal.
  • Check road closures within the park.
  • Make ferry reservations.
  • Always check the tide charts.
  • Wear good sturdy shoes or hiking boots and bring weatherproof clothing or rain gear. Plan to dress in layers.
  • Bring a camera and a pair of binoculars.
  • Make sure you are prepared to explore the wilderness.
  • Read wildlife safety tips.
IMPORTANT:
Make sure you have enough fuel to reach your planned destination. Gas stations are not plentiful. We almost ran out of gas after hiking in the Hoy Rain Forest. Prepare for this great adventure by reading the National Park Services wilderness guide. The guide will give you the top 10 essentials for exploring this remote area. Read about wildlife safety tips.

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