Olympic National Park Travel Guide

January 28, 2022

mountain stream and trees inside olympic national park

Olympic National Park is known for its pristine rain forests and breathtaking coastal areas - they offer much in the way of adventure, but the backcountry is where this park shines. There is no main road through the wild interior, no road crosses its center, and ninety-five percent of Olympic National Park is still designated as wilderness area. 

Olympic National Park is one of the most rugged places in the continental USA. Be sure to explore the diversity of each of its three major ecosystems. From the high mountains with forest and alpine meadows, to the temperate rain forest, and down to the Pacific coastline, you'll be enchanted with stunning views as you experience nature at its best. 

Get to Know Olympic National Park

Region: Pacific NW
State: Washington
URL https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm 
Webcams: https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm 
Established: January 29, 1938 
President: Franklin D. Roosevelt 
By the numbers:

  • 3.2 million+ visitors per year (2019)
  • 992,000+ acres
  • Lat. 47.8021, Long -123.60435
  • 8 park entrances
  • 10 visitor centers
  • Highest elevation 7,980 ft.
  • Lowest elevation 0 ft.

Entrances

There are at least eleven entrances to Olympic National Park. Use the interactive map below to see details.

Upper Hoh Road Entrance - comes into the park at the South Fork of the Hoh River and leads to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.

Sol Duc Entrance - is off of Olympic Hwy 101 just south of the Fairholme Olympic Discovery Trailhead in Forks.

Deer Park Entrance - is a seasonal road open from July through September. Find it south of Port Angeles. It will take you to Blue Mountain and the Deer Park Campground.

Port Angeles Entrance - Take Mt Angeles Road south of Port Angeles to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, the follow Hurricane Ridge Rd to the park interior and the Hurricane Ridge Ski Area.

Kalaloch Entrance - One of the entrances to gain access to the park along the seashore. Turn left on Hwy 101 to get to the Kalaloch Lodge and the rainforest trail.

mount olympus with trees in the foreground

Visitor Centers

Olympic National Park Visitor Center 
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-565-3130

Wilderness Information Center
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-565-3100 

Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center 
18113 Upper Hoh Rd, Forks, WA 98331
360-565-3131   

Kalaloch Ranger Station 
156954 U.S. Highway 101, Forks, WA 98331
360-962-2283 

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center 
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-565-3130

Entrance Fees

Passes are good for entry for 7 days from the date of purchase.

  • $30 non-commercial vehicle
  • $25 motorcycle or snowmobile
  • $15 on foot, bicycle
  • $55 Annual pass good for one year for a total of four people

Park Hours and Access:

Olympic National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. The most popular months to visit are June through September. During the busy summer season, most roads and facilities are open and a full range of programs are available to enjoy. From October through May, some roads, campgrounds, and other visitor facilities are closed or have reduced hours. 

Open all year? Yes, with some road closures for each entrance, dependent on weather.

Closest Airports:

If you are not close enough to drive to Olympic NP try flying into one of several airports and then renting a car and driving to the park.

Sea-Tac Airport, Port of Seattle (SEA) 130 miles, 2.5-hour drive
17801 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98158

The Victoria International Airport (YYJ) 42 miles, 2.5-hour drive
17801 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98158

a winding path through hoh rainforest

Things To Do  

There are many outdoor activities inside the park, be sure to take time and appreciate the animal life and rainforest around you. There are opportunities for birding, wildlife viewing, and of course photographing the beauty around you.

Kids will like the junior ranger program, which gets them involved in hands-on activities. plus there are many areas where swimming is available, especially around campsites. Be sure to stop for a picnic in one of the scenic areas or enjoy a tidepool on the coast.

Enjoy driving around the park or venture out on your own by hiking, biking, backcountry exploration and camping, fishing, or boating. 

Olympic NP has adventure year-round. Enjoy the park in winter by going cross country skiing, snowmobile riding, or snowshoeing.

My Bucket Journals Top Olympic NP Picks:

  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Elwha River Valley
  • Sol Duc Valley and Hot Springs
  • Mora Coastal Area
  • Quinault Rain Forest and Lake Quinault Lodge
  • Staircase Area
  • Queets Valley
  • Kalaloch Coastal Area and Kalaloch Lodge
  • Lake Crescent Lodge

Hike the Trails 

You can find a hike for every level of experience, from temperate rain forests and lowland forest hikes to back-country adventures. These are the most common areas to explore: 

Temperate Rain Forest Day Hikes 

Hoh

  • Mini Trail: paved 0.1 mile loop trail near the Visitor Center
  • Hall of Mosses Trail: 0.8 mile loop trail beginning near the Visitor Center
  • Spruce Nature Trail: 1.2 mile loop trail beginning near the Visitor Center

Queets

  • Sam's River Loop: flat 2.8 mile trail through different ages of the temperate rain forest. Watch for damage from severe winter storms.

Quinault

  • Maple Glade Trail: 0.5 mile loop beginning at the Quinault River Ranger Station on the north shore of Lake Quinault.
  • Cascading Terraces Trail: is a flat 0.5 mile trail beginning at Graves Creek campground. Note: 2016 flooding swept away the riverside part of this former loop and blew down trees.
  • Irely Lake Trail: 1.2 mile trail beginning 0.7 miles before the North Fork campground entrance.
  • Kestner Homestead Trail: 1.3 mile loop trail starting at the Quinault River Ranger Station on the north shore of Lake Quinault

winding path through a rainforest with fall leaves on the ground

Mountain Hikes

Hurricane Ridge

  • Meadow Loop Trails: several 0.25 to 0.5 mile trails that begin from the parking lot.
  • Hurricane Hill: 1.6 miles one way that begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. The rough paved trail gains about 700 ft. in elevation, giving panoramic views. (Wheelchair accessible for the first 0.5 miles)
  • Klahhane Ridge: begins near the Visitor Center. The first 2.8 miles lead to a junction with the Klahhane Switchback Trail. You may continue or return to the Visitor Center.

Deer Park

  • Rainshadow Loop: self-guided 0.5 mile loop to the summit of Blue Mountain. Starts at the end of Deer Park Road, a steep, one-lane gravel road not suitable for RVs or trailers.

Lowland Forest Hikes

Sol Duc 

  • Ancient Groves Nature Trail: a 0.6 mile loop starts 9 miles up Sol Duc Road.
  • Sol Duc Falls: 0.8 miles one way from the end of the Sol Duc Road.
  • Lover’s Lane Loop: a 5.8 mile loop connecting Sol Duc campground, Sol Duc Falls, and the Resort
  • Mink Lake Trail: 2.6 miles one way from Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. 

Lake Crescent 

  • Moments in Time Nature Trail: a flat 0.6 mile loop trail beginning at Lake Crescent Lodge.
  • Marymere Falls: 0.9 miles one way from Storm King Ranger Station. (The first 0.5 mile is accessible.)
  • Mount Storm King Trail: 2.1 miles one way from the turnoff on Marymere Falls Trail. It climbs 2,100 feet!
  • Pyramid Peak Trail: a 3.5 miles one way from near the North Shore Picnic Area. It climbs 2,350 feet and crosses a steep landslide area!
  • Spruce Railroad Trail: 4 miles one way along the lake. Pets and bikes allowed. A 6.5-mile paved, wheelchair-accessible extension leads west. One tunnel is restored and ongoing work will make the trail wheelchair accessible. 

Heart O' the Forest Trail: 2.3 miles one way and starts at Loop E in Heart O’ the Hills campground.

Olympic National Park Visitor Center

  • Peabody CreekTrail: a 0.5 mile loop from the Visitor Center parking area.
  • Living Forest Trail: a 0.4 mile loop trail behind the Visitor Center. 

Elwah Area 

  • Madison Falls Trail: a paved 0.1 mile one-way trail to a waterfall; starts near the Elwha Entrance Station
  • Cascade Rock Trail: a steep 2.1 mile one-way forest hike begins near the picnic shelter in the former Elwha campground or on the bypass trail.
  • Smokey Hill Trail: a steep 0.4 mile one-way trail to the Elwha River from 4 miles up the Whiskey Bend Road.
  • Smokey Bottom Trail: 1.9 miles one way; views of Elwha River restoration. Starts at a parking lot just past Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook.
  • West Elwha Trail: 3.0 miles one way through the forest near the river; starts at Altair picnic area.
  • Geyser Valley Loop: a 6.0 mile loop trail beginning at the end of the Whiskey Bend Road. The trail can be broken down into shorter loops.

Staircase

  • Shady Lane Nature Trail: 0.9 miles one way and begins across the bridge from the ranger station.
  • Staircase Rapids Loop Trail: 2 miles with a bridge over the Skokomish River, and nice forest and river views. Starts near the ranger station.

Coastal Hikes

Ozette

  • Cape Alava Trail: 3.3 miles one way partly on the boardwalk from near the ranger station to the coast.
  • Sand Point Trail: 2.8 miles one way partly on the boardwalk from near the ranger station to the coast.

Mora- LaPush

  • Rialto Beach: 1.5 mile hike to arch and tidepools at Hole-in-the-Wall. Use caution if continuing north.
  • Second Beach: 0.7 mile hike to tidepools and sea stacks from La Push Road, 14 miles west of Highway 101.
  • Third Beach Trail: 1.4 mile hike to a sandy beach from La Push Road, 12 miles west of Highway 101.
  • James Pond: a 0.3 mile loop to a small beaver pond near the ranger station.

Kalaloch

  • Beach 4: 0.2 mile one-way walk from Highway 101 to a beach and tidepools (only viewpoint accessible).
  • Ruby Beach: 0.2 mile one-way hike from Highway 101 to the coast and sea stacks (only viewpoint accessible)

people standing on a bridge overlooking a waterfall

Scenic Drive 

Take a scenic drive on Hwy 101 from Port Angles through Forks, then on to the Pacific Ocean. This 91 mile, 2 hours drive will take you past the Elwha River Observation Area, Lake Crescent, and the Marymere Falls Trail. Meander your way along the SolDuc River and once you get to the beach, stop at the Creekside Restaurant, then explore Kalaloch Lodge. 

The Seattle Times suggests these 3 top drives in Olympic National Park https://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/3-top-drives-in-olympic-national-park/ 

Audio Tours 

There are many ways to enrich your visit to Olympic National Park. You can participate in a ranger program, become a junior ranger, explore as a young scientist, or go on a guided audio tour. 

Dial 360-406-5056, then make a selection to hear about the area you are visiting. It covers information about road closures, visitor centers, interesting stops, and safety. 

  1. Hurricane Ridge
  2. Elwha
  3. Lake Crescent
  4. Sol Duc
  5. Mora & Ozette
  6. Hoh
  7. Kalaloch
  8. Quinault
  9. Staircase
  10. Park Overview

Lodging in the Park 

Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park - located on the Pacific Coast and Kalaloch Creek, features the main lodge, several types of cabins, and the Seacret House.  Address: 157151 US-101, Forks, WA 98331 Phone: 866-662-9928

Lake Crescent Lodge - this lakefront retreat was built in 1915 and is the ideal place to explore Barnes Point, Marymere Falls, and NatureBridge. Address: 416 Lake Crescent Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98363 Phone: 888-896-3818

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort - Operating each year from Mid April to the end of October, this rustic resort offers charm and an amazing hot springs soak! Address: 12076 Sol Duc-Hot Springs Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98363 Phone: 888-896-3818

Lake Quinault Lodge - Open all year, this rustic lodge was built in 1926, but offers all the amenities of a modern destination. Address: 345 S Shore Rd, Quinault, WA 98575Phone: 888-896-3818

Log Cabin Resort - located in the Piedmont district on North Lake Crescent, these rustic cabins are open from Mid May to the end of September. Stay on a lodge room or try a camper cabin. Address: 3183 E Beach Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98363 Phone: 360-928-3325 

sandy beach on a sunny day with the sea in the background

Campgrounds

There are 15 main campgrounds inside of Olympic National Park, plus numerous backcountry campgrounds. Each offers an exploration of different areas of the park. Use the map below to find locations and links to their individual websites.   

  1. Deer Park Campground  - At 5,400 feet in elevation, Deer Park boasts mountain views and starry skies. With a steep and winding gravel access road, Deer Park is not RV accessible.
  2. Dosewallips Campground - perfect for secluded tent camping (walk-in only)
  3. Fairholme Campground - Neighboring Lake Crescent, Fairholme includes lakeside campsites and a nearby boat launch.
  4. Graves Creek Campground - Located in the Quinault Rain Forest, relax near a serene stream at Graves Creek Campground
  5. Heart O' the Hills Campground - Surrounded by old growth forest, Heart O' the Hills offers summer ranger programs and great family fun.
  6. Hoh Campground - Surround yourself with moss and ancient trees in this temperate rain forest. Hoh Campground offers summer ranger programs and some riverside campsites along the Hoh River.
  7. Kalaloch Campground - Oceanside camp at Kalaloch with some sites overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
  8. Log Cabin Resort RV & Campground - Log Cabin Resort offers a variety of campsites next to Lake Crescent including full hook-up RV sites, group tent camping (4 tent pads), bike-in tent sites, and ADA tent sites.
  9. Mora Campground - Situated in a coastal forest, some sites offer views of the Quillayute River. Mora is located two miles from Rialto Beach.
  10.  North Fork Campground - Surrounded by temperate rain forest, this small and remote campground is a great spot for campers seeking solitude.
  11. Ozette Campground - Adjacent to Lake Ozette, this small campground is great for those that enjoy lakeside camping and water activities.
  12. Queets Campground - Relax in this secluded campground near the Queets River. This campground is only accessible from the Upper Queets Road due to a past mudslide.
  13. Sol Duc Hot Springs RV Park & Campground - Enjoy riverside camping in old-growth forest at Sol Duc.  
  14. South Beach Campground - Positioned on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, South Beach offers panoramic ocean views and beach access.
  15. Staircase Campground - Camp near the Skokomish River and enjoy old-growth forest at Staircase. Summer ranger programs and riverside campsites are available.

Get Connected

The National Park Service App (NPS App) features downloadable information for all the national park sites in the country, including Olympia National Park.  Get access to their interactive map, self-guided audio tours, and information to make your trip smoother and more interesting. It does not yet include live updates to lodging, campground, or road status.

Dig Deeper 

The NPS Olympic App features live updates to the status of lodges, campgrounds, and roads when in cell service. It also features downloadable interpretive stories and self-guided audio tours to use in the park even when offline.  

These stories and tours provide you with in-depth trip planning information and guide you through many of Olympics most fascinating resources. Search for “NPS Olympic” in your favorite app provider or try this link. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.usnpw.olym  

Visitor TIP 

Cellular service within the park can be limited. In order to make use of the app while in Yellowstone, follow these simple steps before you arrive: 

  • Download the app.
  • In the app, select the "Settings" option.
  • Tap the choice "Download Offline Content." 

This gives you access to most of the app content (except alerts, calendar updates, and real-time updates, although accessing those items before leaving service will keep that information available in the app) Even without cellular service, the app will be able to share your location on the map and bring up all site content.

Online Map of the Park

Use our interactive map to plan your trip and view details about visitor centers, campgrounds, lodging, walking tours, and attractions. 

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. You can click the checkmarks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest. 

If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list. 

 

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