"Crown Jewel of the Pacific Northwest" Top 5 Page for this destination Olympic National Park by goingsolo

Olympic National Park Travel Guide: 300 reviews and 782 photos

Mountains

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.

Beaches

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.

Rain forest

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 and Cons
  • 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?
  • Last visit to Olympic National Park: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated Jul 8, 2006
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Reviews (30)

Comments (4)

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2006 at 9:01 PM

    I missed this gem while in Washington., but at least through your eyes, I have had at least a glimpse. Seeing it while flying over a few years ago going from Vancouver to San Fran I realized the magnitude and beauty that I must go back to see!!!

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2006 at 6:35 AM

    I can't believe you had such good weather at Hurricane Ridge! It was snowing when I was there... and dragged a poor guy up the Storm King trail, too... great page on the Olympics!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2006 at 7:11 PM

    It looks like time well spent in the Olympics. Next time, the interior ;-]

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2006 at 12:47 PM

    A very enticing page with some great photos. Olympic NP is near the top of my "Must See" list.

goingsolo

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