- Karla Gadea
Olympic National Park is on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Olympic Park has four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side rainforest and the dry eastern forest. The park also contains 3 different ecosystems: sub-alpine and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the Pacific Shore. The summit of glacier-clad Mt. Olympus is popular with climbers, and numerous hiking and backpacking trails cut through the park’s rainforests and along its Pacific coastline, and have outstanding views. The beach has unbroken stretches of wilderness ranging from 10 to 20 miles. While some beaches are primarily sand, others are covered with heavy rock and very large boulders. Bush overgrowth, slippery footing, tides and misty rainforest weather all hinder foot travel.
The geologic composition is a mélange of basaltic and oceanic sedimentary rock. The western half of the range is dominated by the peak of Mount Olympus, which rises to 7,965 ft. Mount Olympus receives a large amounts of snow, and has the greatest glaciation of any non-volcanic peak in the contiguous United States outside of the North Cascades and has several glaciers. The western side of the park is mantled by temperate rainforests, including the Hoh Rain Forest and Quinault Rainforest, which receive annual precipitation of about 150 inches (380 cm), making this perhaps the wettest area in the continental United States. It also provides habitat for many species (like the Roosevelt elk) that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast.
Hike to Olympic Hot Springs(Year Round)(Intermediate): The Olympic Hot Springs hike is a round trip of 4.4 miles. Here, visitors can soak in one of 22 natural hot springs. The hike winds its way uphill from the Appleton Pass trailhead through old growth stands of fir and cedar. Located in the Olympic National Park, the trailhead lies at the end of Olympic Hot Springs Road, several miles above the old Glines Canyon Dam (now removed).
Hike to PJ Lake(Summer-Fall)(Intermediate): Hike to PJ Lake is a short 1.8 mile round trip to an emerald green lake in front of a collage of firs, a 30-foot waterfall, beautiful wildflowers and foliage along with deer and other wildlife. The road to access this trail is open in summer months June – late October / early November. From Port Angeles – head south on Hurricane Ridge Road to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Just before you arrive at the parking lot there is a sharp left turn onto Obstruction Point Road. This is a narrow, gravel road. About 3.5 miles down you will see the trailhead on the left hand side of the road.
Hoh River Trail to 5 mile Island(Fall-Winter)(Advanced): Hoh river trail has large trees, hanging moss, beautiful birds and Roosevelt elk. Hikers can also witness the Olympic Mountains which rise above them. The hike is a 10.6 mile round trip with a gain of 300 ft, and highest elevation of 800 ft. From Forks, head south on U.S. Highway 101 for about 13 miles. Turn east onto Upper Hoh Road and continue about 18.2 miles to the road end where the ranger station and trailhead are located.
Kayaking and Rafting in Elwha River(Spring, Fall)(Intermediate): Visitors can raft and kayak in the Elwha Valley River. The river is a wide teal blue river with wonderful pines, and rocky hillsides on each side. Visitors can raft on the rivers amazing rapids and witness it’s plenty fish.
Dosewallips River Trail(Spring-Fall)(Intermediate): The Dosewallips River Trail is a 9 mile hike starting from the Dosewallips Trailhead with an elevation gain of 1600 feet. The Dosewallips trail is in low elevation and doesn’t get too much snowfall or rain. Start at the Dosewallips Trailhead at 560 feet elevation. The road abruptly ends at a berm, and a trail goes over it.
Hood Canal: Hood Canal has many activities for visitors like sea kayaking, sport fishing for cutthroat, spinrays, kokanees and rainbow trout. The canal stretches more than 70 miles through Washington’s forest. This is a great place for many outdoor recreation activities and nature viewing.
Ruby Beach: Ruby Beach is a beautiful beach with many rock formations, sea life, and marine life. It features many tide pools and is an easy hike down to the beach.
Hiking, Trails, Kayaking, Fishing, Hot Springs, Trail Running, Springs
Winter, Spring, Fall
Additional Logding Options
Best Western Plus Silverdale Beach (3073 NW Bucklin Hill Rd, Silverdale, WA 98383)
Phone: (360) 698-1000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sequim (1441 E Washington St, Sequim, WA 98382)
Phone: (360) 681-8756
Palace Hotel Port Townsend (1004 Water St, Port Townsend, WA 98368)
Phone: (360) 385-0773