Olympic National Park, located in the state of Washington, is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. Covering almost one million acres, this diverse park offers visitors stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains, dense rainforests, alpine meadows, and rugged coastline. If you’re planning a visit to Olympic National Park, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Olympic National Park depends on what activities you have in mind. Summer, from June to September, is the busiest season, with warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. This is a great time for hiking, camping, and exploring the park’s beaches and lakes. However, it can also be crowded, and campsites and lodging fill up quickly, so make sure to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, spring and fall are good options. In the spring, from April to May, the park is quieter, with fewer visitors and cooler temperatures. This is also the time when the park’s wildflowers bloom, creating colorful meadows throughout the park. In the fall, from September to October, the park is less crowded, and the changing colors of the leaves create a beautiful landscape.
Winter, from November to March, can be cold and snowy, but it’s a great time for snowshoeing, skiing, and winter camping. The park’s lodges and visitor centers are closed during the winter, but some campgrounds remain open, and there are plenty of opportunities for winter sports.
Olympic National Park is located in the northwest corner of Washington state, about two hours from Seattle. The park has four main entrances: the north entrance near Port Angeles, the west entrance near Forks, the east entrance near Quinault, and the south entrance near Lake Quinault. Each entrance provides access to different areas of the park, so choose the entrance that is closest to the attractions you want to see.
If you’re flying to the area, the nearest airports are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Portland International Airport (PDX). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the park.
Where to Stay
Olympic National Park offers a variety of lodging options, including campgrounds, lodges, cabins, and backcountry camping. The park has 16 campgrounds, with over 900 campsites, but during peak season, campsites fill up quickly, so make sure to reserve your spot in advance. The park’s lodges and cabins offer a more comfortable option, with amenities such as restaurants, gift shops, and guided tours.
If you prefer a more remote experience, backcountry camping is available in designated areas throughout the park. A backcountry permit is required, and it’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles to protect the park’s wilderness.
What to See and Do
Olympic National Park has something for everyone, from scenic drives and easy hikes to challenging mountain climbs and backcountry adventures. Here are some of the park’s top attractions:
Hoh Rainforest: The Hoh Rainforest is one of the park’s most popular attractions, with towering trees, moss-covered logs, and a lush green canopy. There are several hiking trails in the area, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, and the visitor center offers ranger-led programs and exhibits.
Hurricane Ridge: Hurricane Ridge offers panoramic views of the park’s mountains, valleys, and coastline. There are several hiking trails in the area, as well as opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing in the winter.
Sol Duc Falls: The Sol Duc Falls are a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by old-growth forest.
Olympic National Park is located on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula in the Olympic Mountain Range. The park mainly sprawls over a number of different ecosystems, from the spectacular rocky peaks of the Olympic Mountains to lush old-growth rainfo...
Olympic National Park is a stunning destination located in the state of Washington, United States. The park is a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts, offering visitors the chance to hike through beautiful forests, explore rugged coa...
Olympic National Park is a breathtaking destination in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, encompassing nearly a million acres of mountains, forests, beaches, and wilderness. This stunning natural wonder is home to diverse ec...