Olympic National Park
Come and explore Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Hot Springs, Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rain Forest, Coastal Beaches, and many more delights of the Olympic National Park; hiking, biking, birding, fishing, skiing, and cycling.
Planning your visit to the Olympic National Park
|To make the most out of your time and see as much of the Park as you can, we suggest sectioning the Olympic National Park into day trips that allow you to maximize your time and allow for thorough enjoyment at each place of interest. Here is a layout of the Park from Port Angeles to the western coast.
The first entrance to the Olympic National Park is at Hurricane Ridge and is a must see for hiking, birding and capturing the stunning backdrop of the Olympic Mountains on photograph. In the winter months, this is a snow lover`s playground with snowshoeing, sledding, snowboarding and skiing activities for all age groups.
Lake Crescent is 20 minutes from Port Angeles where you can spend a day hiking the Marymere Waterfall trail or spruce Railroad trail that runs along the lakeshore. Enjoy a picnic, take a swim or kayak this stunningly beautiful glacier fed lake.
A little farther west will take you to Sol Duc Hot Springs and the Sol Duc waterfall trail for more hiking adventures and a relaxing soak in the Hot Springs to ease your tired muscles.
Travelling to the Hoh Rain Forest and the western coastal Beaches can take from 2-2 1/2 hours from Port Angeles, however, this day trip is one not to miss. Experience an old growth rain forest with moss dripping from huge Spruce trees and hiking trails to fit all ages and experience levels.
The breathtaking coastal beaches will beckon you up and down the Pacific coastline. Kalaloch, Ruby and Rialto to the south; First, Second and Third beaches at La Push and farther north Shi Shi Beach and Cape Alava, each with its own unique characteristics but all equally stunning.
And don`t forget to take a drive on the scenic Hwy 112 route out to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the northwestern most point of the contiguous United States. Enjoy a lovely boardwalk hike out to a viewing point looking out on Tatoosh Island and see bald eagles and the occasional whale sighting. Other Hwy 112 locations of Freshwater Bay and Salt Creek/Crescent Beach are also great spots for exploring tide pools and launching kayaks.
|Considered the "jewel of the Park", the stunning panoramic views of the Olympics at the Ridge are beyond words. The Ridge can be accessed by an easy 17 mile drive that will take you up 5,200 feet in elevation. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the many hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. Take a picnic lunch up and enjoy basking in the glory of these magnificent glacier-clad peaks on the patio of the Day Lodge. In the winter months of December to March, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, tubing, snowboarding, downhill and cross country skiing. However, be sure to check road conditions before you start out.
|Lake Crescent is a glacier carved, crystal clear 12 mile lake located 17 miles west of Port Angeles on Hwy 101. This gorgeous lake offers boating, kayaking, swimming, fishing and many hiking trails. There are numerous spots around the lake to stop and enjoy a picnic, Bovee`s Meadow, East Beach, and Fairholme all have great swiimming holes too. There are also two dining options, one at the Lake Crescent Lodge and on the other side is the Log Cabin Resort. Both places also offer kayaks, canoes and SUP boards for rent. Two popular easier hiking trails not to miss are the Marymere Falls Trail and the Spruce Railroad Trail. Marymere Falls is a 1.8 mile trail up to a beautiful 90 foot high waterfall, easily accessible year round. The Spruce Railroad Trail (named after the railroad that was there during WW1 to haul out spruce to make airplanes for use in the war) is a 4 mile trail that winds around the shore of Lake Crescent. About 2.5 miles in, there is a bridge that spans what the locals call the Devil`s Punchbowl, a deep pool which offers a nice place to take a swim.
|Take the 6 mile round trip "Lover`s Lane" through Old growth forest and along the Sol Duc River, crossing over the Sol Duc Falls, a double waterfall that is absolutely breathtaking. Later you can relax your sore muscles from all that hiking at the Sol Duc Hot Springs, which offers 3 hot mineral pools and a freshwater pool. Check out the website for pool time availability. The Resort also offers dining and a gift shop.
|The Hoh Rain Forest is not to be missed on your visit to the Olympic National Park. Located 2 1/2 hours west of Port Angeles, the Forest receives an average of 150 inches of rainfall a year producing a lush environment full of Sitka Spruces, ferns and mosses that give the forest an otherworldly feel. There are three loop trails near the Hoh Visitor Center that are easy to walk and give a great sampling of the area: The Hall of Mosses Trail is 3/4 of a mile and shows moss draped maples, the 1 1/4 mile Spruce Trail follows along the Hoh River (Keep your eye out for the Roosevelt Elk often seen camped near the river) and then there is the paved 1/4 mile path suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. If you are looking for more challenging hikes and overnight hikes, check in at the year-round Visitor Center for maps that will take you to alpine meadows and glaciers.
|There are many spectacular beaches along the Pacific coastline of the northern Olympic Peninsula. Day trips to Ruby, Kalaloch, Rialto and Shi Shi beaches boast sea stacks, dramatic surf and engaging tide pools. 1st Beach at La Push is known for its surfing-size waves and great whale watching. Short hikes down to 2nd and 3rd beaches are popular for long sandy stretches of beach and tide pools. Photography enthusiasts and birding enthusiasts will love the myraid of activity from bald eagles, shorebirds, seals and the occasional whale sighting. Check out the tide schedules before you start out.
|The Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail takes you on different loops across the Peninsula covering the 22 waterfall trails that dot the territory, with three of the most popular located just outside Port Angeles. The easiest waterfall to reach is Madison Creek Falls located near the Elwha River, is an easy 200 feet from the parking lot. The Marymere Waterfall trail, located at Lake Crescent is 1.5 mile round trip and is mostly level except for a sharp incline at the top. Sol Duc Falls is located near the Sol Duc Hot Springs and is an easy 1.6 mile round trip hike.