Our National Park Series: Olympic National Park

Whether you’re in the mood for exploring mountainous terrain, the rugged Pacific coast, or temperate rainforests, Olympic National Park has something for every outdoorsperson. One of Washington state’s largest parks, Olympic boasts 1,441 square miles of relatively unspoiled landscapes, including 13 rivers surrounding the accompanying mountain range.


Sunset over Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Flickr: Javi Velazquez.


Exploring the Coast

Flickr credit, clockwise from top left: Slugman, Zeeyolq Pictures, Andy Porter.

Over 60 miles of dramatic coastline can be found in Olympic National Park, sprinkled with moss-covered rocks and colossal offshore islands (also known as “sea stacks”). The nine-mile long Ozette Loop is a popular destination for day hikes, where visitors can venture through pockets of hemlock, cedar, and Sitka spruce trees and spot ancient Native American petroglyphs. Birders can keep a keen eye out for bald eagles, rhinoceros auklets, western gulls, and more.

Hurricane Ridge

Flickr credit, clockwise from top left: PJ Peterson, Nick Mealey, Javi Velazquez.

Plenty of outdoor adventures can be had year-round at Olympic National Park, but winter is a spectacular wonderland for snow sports. Be sure to make a stop at Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic peninsula for dramatic views of snow-capped mountains. With soft landings and fresh powder throughout winter, Hurricane Ridge has been rated one of the world’s best locations for snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, and snowboarding.

Lush Rainforests

Flickr credit, clockwise from top left: Matt Matches, Rachel_thecat, Jeff Hutchison.

Precipitation in Olympic National Forest can reach up to 14 feet of rain a year, contributing to the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can access Hoh Rain Forest on the west side of the park, which includes 88 sites of year-round camping and multiple hiking trails. Check out the Hoh River trail, which winds through the Glacier Meadows and provides access to Mount Olympus and the High Divide.

Did we miss any of your favorite spots to explore in Olympic National Park? Tell us in the comments below!

  1. Melanie | December 28, 2013 | 5:27 pm

    Some of my favorite spots that you didn’t mention: Sol Duc Falls, Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, Kalaloch & Ruby Beach… the entire area is so beautiful!

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