Olympic National Park Travel Guide
|Hoh Visitor Center in Olympic National Park|
Olympic National Park is located in northwestern Washington in the north central part of the Olympic Peninsula. The park spans nearly a million acres and features snow-covered mountains, lush rain forests and the dramatic Pacific Ocean coastline.
The park offers a large variety of things to do, including boating, camping, hiking, fishing, tidepooling, backpacking, wildlife viewing, climbing and photography.
With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, Olympic National Park is a diverse environment. The park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.
The park has four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side.
The coastal portion of the park is a rugged, sandy beach along with a strip of adjacent forest. The coastline has rocky headlands, sandy beaches, thriving tidepools, erosion-formed offshore sea stacks, that provide habitats to marine and intertidal wildlife. Within the center of the park lies the Olympic Mountains whose sides and ridgelines are topped with massive, ancient glaciers.
|Ruby Beach on the Pacific Ocean, Olympic National Park|
Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park and certainly one of the most spectacular. Named for the howling storms that occur in winter, its magnificent vistas stretch far into the interior of the Olympic Mountains, revealing glacier-covered peaks and steep river valleys.
The western side of the park features temperate rainforests, including the Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest, which receive annual precipitation of about 150 inches (380 cm), one of the wettest areas in the continental United States.
The Hoh Visitor Center has exhibits that explain how moisture-laden air from the Pacific Ocean brings an average of 140 inches of annual rainfall to the Hoh Valley, in addition to condensed mist that adds another 30 inches. Three easy loop trails near the Visitor Center give an overview of the rain forest.
Lake Crescent is a deep, clear lake along Highway 101, 17 miles west of Port Angeles, idyllic Lake Crescent is 12 miles long and more than 600 feet at its deepest. People tell us that no matter how often they visit the Olympic Peninsula, they never tire of the sight of deep, turquoise blue Lake Crescent.
The Sol Duc Valley offers outstanding beauty and recreation. The Sol Duc River is a lively, twisting salmon stream with many trails and abundant wildlife. Sol Duc Falls is one of the largest and most beautiful in Olympic National Park, with trails and bridges access.
Located on the eastern end of Olympic National Forest, Mt. Walker's panoramic vistas of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker and the Cascades are an easy drive for a phenomenal view.
Olympic National Park includes miles of unspoiled rocky and sandy beaches dotted with driftwood, rocky headlands and tide pools. Take the short trail to Ruby Beach or the three-mile walks to Shi Shi Beach, Sand Point or Cape Alava. Other beaches include Rialto, and First, Second and Third Beaches, by the Quileute Indian Reservation.
The main Olympic National Park Visitor Center is located in Port Angeles. Other popular stopping points included the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, and the Wilderness Information Center.
Olympic National Park Travel Information from TripAdvisor
The Quillayute River Resort is one of our favorite hotels in the area ... we have stayed here multiple times, and always have had a great lodging experience on the river!
Quillayute River Resort in Forks
How to Get to Olympic National Park
US Highway 101 surrounds the park on three sides, and all park destinations can be reached from this highway (see map below on this page).
The main visitor center and entrance are in Port Angeles. From Seattle, take the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island, then drive north to Washington 104 to join US 101 west to Port Angeles, a drive of about 60 miles.
Area airports are located in Port Angeles, Seattle, Sequim, and Olympia.
|One of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park... the Hoh Rain Forest|
What to See and Do in Olympic National Park
Scene along the Elwah River in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park has attractions and things to do for all ages, and interests, year-round. Some of the popular attractions include the following:
- Hurricane Ridge and Visitor Center
- Hoh Rainforest
- Quinault Rainforest
- Ozette Loop Hike
- Ozette Lake
- Hood Canal
- Hoh River
- Crescent Lake
- Rain Forest Nature Trail
- Lake Crescent
- Sol Duc Falls
- Ruby Beach
- Rialto Beach
- Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive
- Quinault Rain Forest
- Olympic NP Visitor Center in Port Angeles
Scenes around Olympic National Park
|Extreme vegetation inside the rain forest at Olympic National Park|
|One of the many walkways and trails in Olympic National Park|
|Along the banks of the Hoh River in Olympic National Park|
|Low hanging clouds over Crescent Lake at Olympic National Park|
|The grounds of the Lake Quinault Lodge inside Olympic National Park|
|Lake Quinault Lodge at Olympic National Park|
|Friendly, wet visitors along the road to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park|
|Welcome to Sol Duc ... Olympic National Park|
Interactive Map of the Olympic National Park Area
Visiting National Parks During the COVID-19 Outbreak in 2021
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the national parks of the United States offer wide open spaces, and opportunities for family fun, hiking, fishing, biking, plenty of fresh air and a break from the rigors of Coronavirus Lock Downs.
The National Park Service is closely monitoring and responding to the pandemic. Some facilities and services may be limited. As operations are changing on a park-by-park basis, we recommend visitors check with individual parks for specific details about their operations, including campgrounds.
So if you are visiting Olympic or another national park, plan ahead ...
For More Information about Olympic National Park
The mailing address for the park is 600 E. Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Phone 360.565.3130.