Beautiful mountain scenery
Weather!! 95% of the Park is wilderness, far off any road
It is certainly a place to go back and explore more!
The Hoh Rain forest is one of the few temperate rainforests in the U.S.A and it is also one of the largest. It's a lush and green paradise of trees covered in moss and such. It really reminded me of a fairy tale forest! It rains a lot here and you can expect wet weather when you visit here, but when we visited we were lucky and had dry weather....more
This is an easy one to combine with the Hurricane Ridge section.11 miles up the road (west) from Port Angeles is the forested Elwha Valley. Here the park road parallels the Elwha River and up to an observation point once overlooking Lake Mills (visible in my photo.) I was dragging a bit from a bad cold so we only did a few of the shorter hiking...more
On one of the days we spent in Olympic National Park we visited the Hoh Rain Forest in the morning as it was cloudy and a little drizzly. Later in the day it was clearing up and the sun came out. So, we decided to drive to the La Push area after dinner and hike the Second Beach Trail. It's only a 1.6km/1mi hike from the trail head through the...more
Rain Forest Resort Lodge is one of my favorite stays while at Olympic. On the south shore of Lake...more
Washington, United States
Good for: Solo
The family gathered here from across the country. Well, it turned out to be only five of us. The...more
We like eating out as much as anyone but when you travel across country to visit a national park, you want to spend as much time in it as possible. Eating at campgrounds can be a chore and for some it is a nightmare but for us, it's part of what makes the parks special in the first place.Olympic's car campgrounds are all great, with lots of space...more
There's a supermarket on 101 as you pass through Forks, and they have a deli counter where you can order sandwiches, chips, etc. There are not a lot of places to eat along the western side of the park, so this is an option. The name of the grocery store escapes me, but you won't be able to miss it (if you do, just turn around and go back - Forks is...more
The coffee shop is voted as the #1 coffee shop in Port Angeles. The coffee shop displays their awards they have received for so many years. I wondered why so we stopped by the coffee shop while we ate at the Subway. The restaurant has a great set up. There are leather couches that entice you to go and sit down just like you sit in your own living...more
There was one cool sounding pub in Port Angeles just outside the park but we had spent four days hitting many brewpubs in Seattle prior to coming to Olympic and we knew we would do another four on our return so we didn't feel pressed to check it out.
Camping in the park is so nice it's a shame not to spend some time at your site. It's tough to beat sitting in the middle of the rainforest with a top notch beer in your hand and we had a cooler full of those. We also had many nights in Olympic's vast backcountry and this was the serenity we were seeking. Civilization is something we have all the time. When we were near the coast, we made sure to get to the beach for sunset. They are pretty spectacular on the Olympic Peninsula. Rialto was very convenient to our Mora Campground spot.
Dress Code: Wear something warm. Even if you were lucky enough to not need it during the day, when the sun goes down so does the temperature.
As a general rule, it is best to get around on the Olympic Peninsula by driving, as there are many areas of the park that are not accessible by public transit. However, if you are put off by the horrific prices for car rentals, don't like driving on the wrong side of the road, want to hike through the park and get a bus back to your car, or just...more
It should not be that difficult to go between Seattle and Olympic National Park. After all, you just take the most direct route, right?Wrong! The most direct route, and the route that Google Maps and your GPS is most likely to send you, is north to Edmonds and the Edmonds - Kingston Ferry. This would be the fastest route - if it were not for the...more
This is the fun way to get to Olympic! The Washington State Ferries carry 26 million passengers a year across the Puget Sound to work in Seattle or to visit the the Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands. We chose the Seattle Main Terminal/ Bainbridge Island route and the handy website helped us figure out sailing times and approximate cost. Fares...more
We came to Olympic National Park stocked up on food and drink but no matter how much you bring with you, you always need something. Olympic National Park's gateway city of Port Angeles was a fair sized town with many supermarkets. We found Safeway on Highway 101 to carry everything we were looking for as well as being a pleasant place to shop. When...more
The gallery is perched close to the road side overlooking the waters. The gallery is one among the buildings adjacent to the Indian community center. There are totem poles in front of the the complex which can be seen far away. The gallery offers a lot of native arts and crafts made by local residents and artists. There are paintings of the famous...more
Spring is a relative thing. In the mountains it generally runs a little later due to the elevation and in years of great snow and late snow melt, it comes even later. We arrived in Olympic in early August to find it in very spring-like with regard to trail conditions and more pleasantly wildflowers. Thistle, Mountain Bluebells, and Alvalanch...more
Though the water in Glacier National Park's vast backcountry looks pure, the presence of giardia makes it unsafe to drink in its untreated form. This parasite can wreck havoc on your system so it's best to filter, chemically treat, or boil water. Each system has its proponents, its pros and its cons. Boiling is very safe but you have to do it for 5...more
Coming from Vancouver, I know all about the west coast obsession with coffee, but the drive-through espresso huts all over Washington State, including in every tiny town, was a new one on me. A straw (to drink it with?) and a chocolate covered espresson bean is a customary addition to your cap. Much faster than Starbucks too!more
Parts of the park are very rugged and desolate. Emergency response may be difficult and require some time. There are a lot of steep drops with questionable footing so stay away from the edge. This is also bear country so always be on the lookout for bears and other wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife. Be extra careful crossing streams and creeks....more
Permits are required when you stay overnight at the Olympic National Forest wilderness. There are seven ranger stations where you can obtain permits. Or you can call information. Also, don't use regular maps. You have to use a detailed topographic maps where you can obtain specific trails, primitive trails and pass. This map is called Into...more
Remember to get the tides before you leave on your trip, get them online, or at trail head. Check maps carefully, will indicate headlands that can only be crossed at low tide. Bear barels required for food, garbage, toothpaste, etc. Really it's for the squirels, raccons, etc. that go for your food (even damaging tents & backpacks)Have a good water...more
Unfortunately, most visitors to Olympic National Park only get one chance to see its alpine region and that is from Hurricane Ridge. While the view is nice enough, it can get quite crowded and you are not in for a serene commune with the Olympic Range. If you are content with seeing Mount Olympus from this vantage point, be sure to go early in the...more
The drive to Highway 101 on the Olympic Peninsula is long and winding. Although the curves are smooth going up and down the hill, just take pre-cautionary measures. There are slow drivers especially those driving campers and RVs (recreational vehicles). While driving, we were looking at the lake but we can't really have a good view of the lake....more
382 Reviews and Opinions
Luggage and bags:
Olympic is a premier wilderness park and this is one place you can truly use a backpack to carry all you need for a multi-day camping trip. For those not so inclined a simple day pack will suffice for long beach walks or even shorter ones in the rain forest and alpine areas.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pack layers of synthetic clothing for the highly changeable weather that is Olympic. The Pacific is cold and even on warm days, the breezes are cool. If it fogs up, the temperatures drop quickly. It can snow in alpine areas even in the summer so always carry warm gear including a warm hat. Sturdy water proof hiking boots are needed for all but the shortest beach walks and don't scrimp on socks. Your feet will thank you for it. Rain gear is essential in a park that gets 200 inches a year of precipitation. It is, after all, a rain forest in much of the area.
Photo Equipment: A wide angle is great for bringing the foreground into your landscape photos and a zoom is like gold for shots of wildlife. Get one with image stabilization for less than optimal lighting. A tripod is needed for low light shots in the rain forest and for cute couple shots.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: This is a great park for camping. Bring a tent, synthetic sleeping bags, mats and a backpacking stove.
Miscellaneous: Someone to share that half gallon of Tillamook ice cream with. No matter how much you backpack, you really shouldn't eat it all by yourself!
[This tip is still in progress, so please check back again later as more material may have been added.]In recent years, the entire Olympic Peninsula has become a much more busy tourist attraction compared to what it once was. It has certainly become a very discovered place now, especially since the "Twilight" series focuses on Forks and other areas...more
Olympic National Park is not as noted a wildlife viewing park as Yellowstone but actually has one of the most diverse ecosystems of any park due to its many terrains. While many associate the park primarily with the coastal region and therefore have images of sea-based animals, the park is home to many inland mammals such as the Roosevelt Elk. In...more
When you go to Africa, there are certain animals you want to see. Some are common, some less so. Everyone wants to see an elephant and they generally do. Not everyone sees a leopard. Sea otters are perhaps the most sought animal sighting in the Pacific Northwest. The rare and illusive creature is generally active at dusk and dawn which accounts for...more
The Hall of Mosses Trail is a 3/4 mile interpretive loop trail that teaches you a lot about the trees and mosses and other growths that inhabit these trees. The trail is relatively level except for a short ascent near the beginning. Very nice and interesting hike. The trailhead is by the Hoh Rain Forest Visitors Center. Good hiking shoes, water,...more
The Hoh River Trail is a long (up to 17.3 miles) difficult trail that follows the river. It connects with several other trails. This is one to take if you want to go backcountry. The trailhead is by the Hoh Rain Forest Visitors Center. Some of the trail is paved and some is not. I did not hike much of this trail. Good hiking shoes, water,...more
Every now and again you make some regrettable travel decisions and we made 2 biggies on this trip. We'd opted to drive down the coast from Forks, exploring beaches along the way, and spend a night in Ocean Shores; outside of the park. We wanted to spend at least one night in an ocean-side room but Kalaloch accommodations were pricey and we could...more
To me, one of the most beautiful places in Washington State is the Olympic Peninsula. Most of the peninsula is taken up by Olympic National Park. Olympic National Park pretty much has it all, mountains, lakes, rivers, rain forests, even beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Start your visit at one of the visitors centers where you can get maps of the park...more
A few years ago Stephenie Meyer penned a romance called "Twilight" about a young girl, named Bella, and a vampire, named Edward, and struck gold. So did the little down-on-its-luck logging town of Forks, Washington. Ms. Meyer needed a dark, spooky and very wet location for her story and upon discovering that Forks gets an average of 121 inches of...more