Olympic National Park Things to Do

  • Point of the Arches from Petroleum Creek
    Point of the Arches from Petroleum Creek
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  • Sol Duc Falls
    Sol Duc Falls
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  • rugged beaches, just one face of Olympic
    rugged beaches, just one face of Olympic
    by richiecdisc

Most Recent Things to Do in Olympic National Park

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    Nurselogs

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Nurselog

    This photo shows how the blowdowns provide the perfect platform for hemlock and spruce seedlings to take root. They cannot take root on the tangled forest floor but the downed trees provide just the right minerals, moisture and warmth for the trees to establish themselves.

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    Blowdowns

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Blowdown
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    Because of the large amount of rainfall here the Sitka Spruce trees do not need t grow deep taproots. This makes then vulnerable to the high winds that frequently accompany winter storms here. When one of this massive trees topple they sometimes take neighboring trees with them. These downed trees provide an ideal environment for spruce and hemlock seedlings continuing the circle of life.

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    Hoh Visitors Center

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Hoh Visitors Center

    Most of the attractions along the Hoh Road are near the Hoh Visitors Center. Here you can get a park brochure, a map, and any information you need to help you maximize your enjoyment of the park. There are several trails near the visitors center. I go into detail on a few of these under my Sports Tips. Interpretive signs acquaint you with this fascinating rain forest.

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    Sitka Spruce

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Sitka Spruce
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    This rain forest is dominated by the Sitka Spruce. The Sitka Spruce only grows along a narrow strip of land along the coast from Northern California to Alaska and a few valley like this one. This is one of the largest Sitka Spruce trees in the US. See how it dwarfs my car. This tree is 270 feet tall and is about 550 years old. There is a short trail around the tree and other large Sitka Spruces.

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    Rain Forests in Olympic National Park

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Hoh Rain Forest

    The second part of Olympic National Park is the forest. Rainfall in the park ranges from 40 to 240 inches a year and elevation ranges from sea=level to almost 8000 feet. This creates an amazingly wide variety of ecosystems. Olympic National Park protects the largest old growth forest in the Northwest. Many of the trees here are up to 1000 years old. There are two main locations in the park to enjoy these rain forests: Hoh Rain Forest on the West side of the park and Quinalt Rain Forest in the Southwest corner of the park. I opted for Hoh.

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    Salmon Cascades

    by Basaic Updated Oct 25, 2011

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    Salmon Cascades

    One interesting spot along the Sol Duc River is the Salmon Cascades. Salmon swimming upstream and jumping these cascades used to be a common sight in early Autumn; but over-fishing has caused the numbers of salmon in the river to decrease making it less likely you will get to see this bit of nature.

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    Sol Duc River

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Sol Duc River
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    The Sol Duc River begins its long journey to the Pacific Ocean at 5000 feet near the High Divide. As it winds its path through Sol Duc Valley it is at times calm and gentle and at times a raging river. It shores and pools provide a habitat for a number of species of plants and animals.

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    Eagle Ranger Station

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Eagle Ranger Station

    There is no visitors center along Sol Duc Road but there is the historic Eagle Ranger Station. This station is only manned intermittently (it was not manned when I visited). There are facilities farther up the road at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

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    Sol Duc Road

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Sol Duc Road

    Another road into the mountain portion of Olympic National Park is the 14 mile long Sol Duc Road. Sol Duc Road is shorter than the Hurricane Ridge Road and does not have quite as spectacular views but it does have nice views of the Sol Duc River, good fishing, and a hot springs at the end of the road. There is also a camping area here.

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    Lake Crescent

    by Basaic Written Oct 25, 2011

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    Lake Crescent
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    By far, the biggest lake in the park is Lake Crescent, which is located in the Northwest part of the park. There are two lodges at Lake Crescent that are right by the lake with beautiful views. There are a number of recreational facilities available here too including boating and hiking trails. The lodges serve food too.

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    Viewpoint Cirque

    by Basaic Written Oct 24, 2011

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    Viewpoint Cirque
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    There is another viewpoint near the visitors center along the Cirque Rim Trail. This viewpoint offers some of the best views of the strait and of Canada I saw in the park. You can even see Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia from here (see photo 2).

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    Fire Scars

    by Basaic Written Oct 24, 2011

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    Fire Scars

    If you look closely, you can see a difference in the color of the trees on these slopes. The lighter colored foliage shows where fires have burned the vegetation over the last few hundred years. Most of these fires have been caused by lightning and area a natural part of the life of a forest and mountain. You may also see a few areas cleared of trees indicating a winter avalanche or a landslide.

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    Hurricane Ridge Viewpoint

    by Basaic Written Oct 24, 2011

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    Hurricane Ridge Viewpoint
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    From the viewpoint at the visitors center you can see a long ridgeline showing many of the peaks that make up the Olympic Mountain Range including the West Peak of Mt Olympus which at almost 8000 feet is the highest peak in the park.

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    Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center

    by Basaic Written Oct 24, 2011

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    Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center

    Near the end of the road is the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center Complex. The complex is dominated by the very attractive visitors center. There is also a large parking area, a nice viewpoint, and the trailheads for a couple of nice hiking trails. For more info on the hiking trails see my Sports Tips.

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    Rainfall

    by Basaic Written Oct 24, 2011

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    Rainshadow

    The Olympic Mountains have a major effect on the ecosystems on the peninsula. Farmlands to the Northeast get only about 20 inches of rain a year so they must be irrigated to get any crops to grow. Meanwhile, just 40 miles west of here is a tropical rainforest that gets 140 to 180 inches of rain a year.

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Olympic National Park Things to Do

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