"Crown Jewel of the Pacific Northwest" Top 5 Page for this destination Olympic National Park by goingsolo
Olympic National Park Travel Guide: 296 reviews and 766 photos
Olympic National Park is a huge, sprawling area located on the Olympic Peninsula to the west of Seattle. Much of the park is roadless, which makes it a great bet for the backcountry enthusiast. Highway 101 circles the park, allowing a peek here and there at the Olympic Mountains and the other treasures of this park.
For me, visiting Olympic NP after seeing the Pac NW's other parks was truly saving the best for last. As much as I loved the beauty and hiking at Rainier and, while the mountains of North Cascades took my breath away, Olympic is the crown jewel.
The Olympic Mountains are far from the tallest in the state. Most are 8,000 feet or less. Hurricane Ridge provides a spectacular view of the entire range. To get to Mount Olympus, the namesake of the park, you'd have to hike about 18 miles from the Hoh rainforest area. But, from Hurricane Ridge, you can drive nearly to the top and find yourself eye level with the Olympic mountains. This is the closest approximation of hiking to a summit that you can get. And the views from the Ridge on a clear day are hard to beat.
The coastal section of Olympic National Park stretches along the Pacific Ocean. Here you will find tide pools filled with star fish, crabs and other sea faring life. There are a bunch of hiking trails along the shore as well.
Driving towards the coast, don't be surprised if your blue skies literally fade to gray. The coast area is often shrouded in fog, even during the summer season. Its definitely much cooler over here.
The rain forests are the most spectacular and unusual feature of this park. The Hoh and Quinalt rain forests are temperate, unlike the humid tropical rain forests found elsewhere. Although all of the Pacific Northwest receives a tremendous amount of rain, the rain forests receive over 100 inches per year. In the short dry season, you can see the results of nature's downpour. Towering trees covered in moss abound in the cool, dry forests.
- Pros:Stunning and varied scenery combined with excellent hiking opportunities.
- Cons:Very short dry season which is crowded and expensive.
- In a nutshell:What could be better than mountains, beaches and a rain forest all in one?
The best thing to do in Olympic National Park is to get outdoors. The three park lodging properties have restaurants... more travel advice
We stopped at Beach 4 or 3, I don't remember which, to check out the tide pools. There is a short steep path that leads... more travel advice
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