"Welcome to Olympic National Park, WA, USA" Olympic National Park by Ann75

Olympic National Park Travel Guide: 336 reviews and 947 photos

A short intro

Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle and in the most north-western corner of the mainland of the USA. This park is such a diverse and amazing place to visit. No wonder they say it's 3 parks in one! You can enjoy a walk on the many beautiful beaches and watch the big waves roll in, you can enjoy spectacular alpine country with high mountain peaks, sparkling lakes, lush meadows, glaciers, waterfalls and North America's finest temperate rain forest.

We wanted to spend about 5 days (including travel there and back) in this beautiful park and after doing some research on what there is to see and do I quickly realized that it's a huge park with many different areas to visit, all with its own unique character. We knew we wanted to see the beaches with their sea stacks (big rocks sticking up from the ocean) and the rain forests for sure...these two place were a must! Besides that we also wanted to see the Olympic Mountains, some of the lakes, waterfalls and maybe the Cape Flattery area if we had time (which is the most western point of Washington State). So, it was time to do some more research so we could decide what we wanted to visit and what not. After looking around on the internet for several days we decided we wanted to stay in a place near the town of Forks which is on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula since most of the things we wanted to visit were the closest to Forks. We stayed in a cabin which was about 5km (3mi) from Rialto Beach, one of the beautiful beaches in Olympic National Park.

Day 1 and 2 in Olympic National Park

*Day 1: Driving from our home (Vancouver area, Canada) to Forks, USA. Once we got to Port Angeles we stopped at the Hurricane Ridge visitor centre and from here you can drive up a road into the mountains. T his road is called Hurricane Ridge and from the top you get a view over the Olympic Mountains and the glaciers, but the weather wasn?t all too great with showers and the mountains were hidden in the clouds so we wouldn?t get a view. We decided not to drive up there and were hoping for good weather on the way home for to drive up to Hurricane Ridge as it?s a little too far to drive from Forks. We arrived in the late afternoon at our cabin and after dinner we decided to drive down to Rialto Beach which was only a few minutes away. We stayed until sunset as it was finally clearing up and it was absolutely gorgeous?what a beautiful place!

*Day 2: Since we heard that it was still going to be cloudy with a chance of showers we decided to go to the Hoh Rain Forest first as it was about an hour and a half driving south of Forks. When we were driving on the Upper Hoh Road which leads into the rain forest you could tell that the forest was getting denser and denser. Once we got to the parking lot of the Hoh Rain Forest we wandered down to the visitor centre and decided to walk two trails. We would walk the Hall of Mosses Trail (loop) of approximately 1.5km and the Spruce Trail (loop) of approximately 2km. We felt a few drops of rain, but later on the sun came out as well. Another gorgeous place as you feel like you are in fairytale forest!

After dinner we drove to the beaches of La Push which was about where we walked the Second Beach trail through the forest and at the end of this trail we ended up on a beautiful sandy beach with little islands just off shore and sea stacks in the distance.

Day 3 - 4 and 5

*Day 3: On this day we decided to travel north of Forks and head to the the Sol Duc Valley where we wanted to walk to the Sol Duc Falls. We also wanted to visit Lake Crescent and walk to the Marymere Falls. These were all in about 30 minutes from each other. First we went to the Sol Duc Falls which you can reach by a fairly short trail from the parking lot. The falls were so beautiful, it were three falls thundering down into a canyon. They weren?t very high (about 40ft / 10-12m high), but quite impressive to see. We headed out to Lake Crescent and walk around there. This is also a beautiful lake with bluish water, it?s quite amazing to see. The surrounding mountains are beautiful as well, I really enjoyed the views here. From Lake Crescent there was a trail that leads through the forest over some foot bridges and over Barnes Creek to the Marymere Falls. They are quite high (about 90 ft/40m) and look like a veil which was really unique. In the evening we enjoyed another stunning sunset at Rialto Beach!

*Day 4 & 5: Since we were leaving tomorrow we wanted to take it easy in the morning and don?t drive too far to do something later today. We decided that we would head back to Rialto Beach after lunch where we would walk to the "Hole in the Wall" which is a big sea stack with a hole that has been corroded by the waves. At low tide you can actually walk through this hole and continue to the beach on the other side of this big rock. We only walked to the Hole in the Wall, but didn?t go through it as the tide wasn?t at its lowest yet.

On day 5 we drove back to Vancouver, Canada and since we left earlier enough as we wanted to visit Hurricane Ridge on the way to Port Townsend as the weather was wonderful today. The views from Hurricane Ridge were gorgeous, those mountains are so beautiful. After that it was time go catch the ferry in Port Townsend which would take us to Keystone on Whidbey Island from where we would drive to Burlington to get back on the I5 north towards Canada.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pristine scenery, amazing views, beautiful beaches, wonderful sunsets,...
  • Cons:It's a big park so you have to consider driving at least an hour to some of the places.
  • In a nutshell:A stunning park with such diverse scenery...from beaches to rain forests, to mountains
  • Last visit to Olympic National Park: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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