Here is a list of useful trip planning tools for Olympic National Park, Washington.
Olympic National Park is open all year, but many facilities are seasonal. Plan before you go to avoid disappointment or long delays. Always check for road closures and conditions in the park. There are ongoing delays and road closures on the 101 at Crescent Lake for road rehabilitation 2017-2019 project. Some of the visitor centres are closed in the winter months.
Park mileage charts
This handy chart will provide mileage and driving times around the park. Gas stations are scarce within the park, so plan wisely by watching the fuel gauge.
Wildlife safety tips
Who isn’t excited about spotting wildlife in their natural environment? Always keep a safe distance (at least half a football field) away from animals. It can be tempting to get closer or try to take a selfie with your great find, but DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.
- Animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous if they feel threatened or cornered. This is their home.
- Do not feed or leave food out for animals. Human food is harmful to them.
- View these guidelines about wildlife safety tips.
- Report encounters with bear, cougars and mountain goats.
- Avoid bats. A small percentage carry rabies. If bitten, seek help immediately.
- There are no poisonous snakes in the park.
- In warmer weather, use insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, black flies and other annoying insects.
Wilderness survival tips
Check the wilderness basics guide to make sure you are prepared with the minimum requirements, such as dressing appropriately for wilderness exploration and wearing sturdy, comfortable waterproof shoes. Also check this guide of essential wilderness safety tips to help prepare for your adventure to the park.
Don’t get stranded on a beach, island or rocky shore when tides come in and make your route impassible. Oceans are beautiful, but can become dangerous if proper planning is not done in advance. Keep safe. Always check the tide chart.
There are numerous hiking trails in Olympic National Park. Day hikes are offered in a variety of lengths and difficulty levels. There are pet restrictions on many of the trails and beaches. Do not drink water from streams. Water must be boiled or filtered. Iodine tablets do not kill the bacteria in these waters.
Where to see the largest trees
The Valley of the Rainforest Giants is found in the Quinault Rainforest. Download a map.
If you plan to take a ferry, check to see if your route needs a reservation. We didn’t and it added extra travel time to the start and end of our journey. To make life easier, be sure to make an online account with each ferry provider before you start the process.
- Black Ball Ferry Service to and from Victoria, BC to Port Angeles, Washington.
- BC Ferries run from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.
- Washington State Ferry Service runs from Seattle and from Whidbey Island to the Olympic Peninsula.
Camping in Olympic National Park
- Campsite reservations are required at Kalaloch and Sol Duc. Camping fees range from $15 – $22. Reserve.
- Wilderness camping fees are $8 per person. Find out more.
- Permits are needed and reservations are needed for quota restricted area. Download a wilderness campsite map
- Find out more about wilderness trip planning.
- More than 50,000 people camp in the park each year.
Accommodations in Olympic National Park
There are wonderful historic hotels, motels and rustic cabins. Lodging in Olympic National Park books up quickly for the busy summer months.
- Lake Crescent Lodge, built in 1915, rests on the shore of the pristine, glacier carved Lake Crescent. It has a restaurant, cabins, cottages and historic lodge rooms. You can hike to Marymere Falls or take a day trip to Hurricane Ridge.
- Kalaloch Lodge is one of our favourites and on our top 10 most romantic places to stay. It overlooks the bluff at Kalaloch Beach and is simply stunning. It is an incredible place to watch the sunrise and sunset. It is a good place to use as a base to explore the surrounding area: Ruby Beach, Hoy Rainforest and Quinlaut Lake and Rainforest It has a restaurant, lodge, cabins, campsites and gift shop.
- Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort has rustic cabins, RV spots and campsites. There are mineral hot spring pools and one fresh water pool. The pools closes twice daily for testing. Check the schedule.
- Log Cabin Resort offers log cabins, lodge rooms, RV spots and campsites by the lake. It also has a cafe and boat rentals.
Accommodations near Olympic National Park
- Lake Quinault Lodge is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is located just outside the park and offers panoramic views of the lake. It also has easy access to the Quinault Rainforest, waterfalls and some of the largest trees in the world found in the Valley of the Rainforest Giants. See all accommodation for Quinault here.
- Port Angeles sits on the Strait of Juan de Fuca with sweeping views across the waters all the way to Vancouver Island. It is a good base to use for access to Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent.
- Port Townsend is a delightful Victorian seaport filled with charm. Use it as a base to explore Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent and other areas of the Olympic Peninsula. The town offers a variety of bed & breakfasts, hotels, motels and vacation rentals. You can also catch the ferry from here to Whidbey Island.
- Neah Bay is on the rim of the Pacific Ocean and Strait of Juan de Fuca on the most northwest corner of the Peninsula and home to the Makah Tribe. Visit nearby Cape Flattery to view the lighthouse and for a chance to see migrating whales. The Makah Museum should not be missed. It features over 500 artifacts from the Ozette archaeological site.
- Forks and La Push were used as sets for the town in the popular Twilight vampires series.
- La Push is a stunning oceanfront location. It offers the Quileute Oceanside Resort & RV Park It is also home to the Quileute Nation, who have lived on the land for more than 1,000 years.
Travelling with a pet
Pets are not allowed in all park areas. Areas that do allow pets require them to be on a leash of no more than six feet in length. Check for restrictions before you go. Pets and humans can spread invasive species from one area to the next. Note: Service dogs are allowed in all areas with their owner.
National Park Fees
There are many different fee levels for national parks. A 7-day pass for a private vehicle is $25. The annual Olympic National Park Pass is $50. The annual America the Beautiful Pass is $80 and offers unlimited visits to all US national parks. Passes can be purchased online if you are a US resident or can be bought in person at the national park gate or visitors centre.
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 for exploring the wilderness.
Read wildlife safety tips.
- Check out our trip planning tools for Olympic National Park
Explore more travel destinations
View photo galleries