Olympic National Park covers a huge swath of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, encompassing rugged coastline, towering mountain ranges, temperate rain forests, and wildflower-filled lowland meadows. Home to some of the biggest stretches of old-growth forest remaining in the US, this misty Pacific Northwest park is the ultimate outdoor escape.
Olympic National Park sprawls over 1,400 square miles (3,626 square kilometers) of green-soaked Washington wilderness. Hike through the park’s extensive network of trails, backpack along the coastline, or kayak through its many rivers. Adrenaline junkies can head to the Olympic Mountains for mountaineering or venture out on a mountain biking excursion from nearby Port Angeles. For a deeper understanding of the area, stroll through the park with a naturalist guide on a small-group Olympic National Park tour from Seattle. Or leave long lines and traffic behind on an Olympic Mountains Seaplane Tour from Lake Washington, on which you can cruise over Mt. Olympus, Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh Rain Forest, and the Pacific Ocean.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you plan to hike, wear shoes suitable for rough, wet terrain, and dress for the weather.
- Dogs are permitted only on specified trails, and must always be on leash.
- Campfires and wood-burning camp stoves are allowed only below 3,500 feet (1,067 meters).
- If you plan to stay overnight, make sure to store all food, garbage, and scented items in a secure bear canister.
- Many areas of the park—including over eight trails and multiple visitor centers, lookout points, and ranger stations—are accessible to wheelchair users. See the National Park Service website for more details.
How to Get There
By road, Olympic National Park is roughly 20 minutes from Port Angeles, one hour from Olympia, two hours from Tacoma and Port Townsend, and 2.5 hours from Seattle. The nearest airports are William R. Fairchild International Airport (Port Angeles) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
When to Get There
Olympic National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. June through September is the busiest season, when most roads and visitor facilities are open and the mild weather is perfect for outdoor activities. During the winter, the park’s famous Hurricane Ridge is a major draw for snow sports such as snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
Things to Do Near Port Angeles
Located just 20 minutes north of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles is a popular jumping-off point for wilderness activities. Don’t miss Lake Crescent, a deep glacial lake nestled in the northern foothills of the Olympic Mountains. Nearby, the famous Marymere Falls thunders 90 feet (27 meters) down a mossy, fern-laden ravine. Port Angeles is also the starting point of the Olympic Discovery Trail, a hiking-and-biking pathway that extends 140 miles (225 kilometers) west to La Push on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.