Located in Washington State, Olympic National Park is home to incredible wildlife, views, as well as the area’s largest temperate rainforest. From camping to boating, here are the top 5 things to do – as well as some tips on how to best enjoy them – in Olympic National Park.
1. Go Boating
Olympic National Park is home to several bodies of water, making boating a great way to explore even more of the park! Nonmotorized boats, such as kayaks and canoes, are allowed on the majority of rivers and lakes in the park. If you don’t have your own, no worries – rentals are available from a variety of places in or nearby the park!
If you’re interested in operating a motorized boat in the park, that’s not totally out of the picture either, however, there are some more restrictions. Motorized boat operators in Washington State – where Olympic National Park is located – must have completed a boating education course. Additionally, motorized boats are only allowed on select bodies of water within the park, including Lake Crescent and Lake Ozette.
2. Hit The Hiking Trails
National parks are well known for being great places for you to hike, and Olympic National Park is no exception! If you’re looking for a short and sweet hike, check out Marymere Falls Trail. This 1.7 mile out and back trail leads to viewing for Marymere Falls and also features tons of gorgeous scenery along the way.
Or, if you’re looking for a longer hike, check out Hoh River Trail to Mineral Creek Falls, a 5.5 mile out and back trail. If you’re interested in taking on more than a day hike, the park is also home to several multi-day backpacking trails, including the entirety of the Hoh River Trail (35.3 miles).
If you do want to spend more than a day on a hike, Wilderness Camping Permits are currently required for any overnight expeditions. Permits can be purchased in advance online.
3. View Wildlife
If you love wildlife, here’s one for you! Olympic National Park is home to thousands of species of animals. A couple of notable inhabitants include bears, elk, and whales (off the coast). If you’re looking for the best areas to view wildlife, the Hoh rainforest, as well as other rainforest areas in the park, are popular places to spot elk.
Beaches such as Kalaloch and Rialto beach, meanwhile, are great to spot orcas. The prime time to get a glimpse of an orca is during their migration season (April-May and Oct-November), however many other fun ocean creatures may still be around other times of the year!
4. Go Camping
Olympic National Park is home to a variety of campsites with varying amenities. This means no matter what sort of camping trip you’re looking for, there’s something for you! If you’re interested in camping close to the beach, check out Kalaloch Campground. If camping in a rainforest is more your speed, consider staying at the Hoh Rainforest Campground. Both campgrounds mentioned currently require advance reservations. They additionally offer amenities such as picnic tables but do not currently offer public showers.
5. Visit The Hoh Rainforest
Unique to Olympic National Park is the Hoh Rainforest. This temperate rainforest is the largest of its kind in The United States. It is home to a huge variety of both plants and animals, as well as hiking trails and some campgrounds. If you’re looking to take a few days to explore the rainforest, Hoh Campground accepts advance reservations, but it can fill up quickly. You can also consider staying in a nearby town, such as Forks (approximately one hour from the rainforest).
Additionally, the Hall of Mosses, a popular trail, is currently going to be closed for construction until approximately June 17th. You may want to take this closure into mind when planning an upcoming trip to the rainforest. Other gorgeous trails, such as the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles) are currently open, though!
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