Olympic National Park Travel Guide

Discover the natural and historical attractions of Olympic National Park with this detailed travel guide. Learn about must-visit places, hiking and biking routes, outdoor adventures, local food and drink scene, where to stay, and much more.

Introduction to Olympic National Park

Nestled on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, Olympic National Park is a nature-lover’s paradise. With over 1,400 square miles of diverse ecosystems, visitors can explore old-growth forests, vast stretches of coastline, and stunning alpine peaks. The park is also home to numerous museums and historical sites that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous people and early settlers of the area.

List of Places to Visit in Olympic National Park

If you’re planning a trip to Olympic National Park, there are several must-visit places to include on your itinerary. Here are some top recommendations:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center: This visitor center offers information on the ecology and history of the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the most beautiful and iconic destinations in the park.

  • Kalaloch Lodge: Situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the Kalaloch Lodge is a historic landmark and offers comfortable accommodations, dining, and activities.

  • Lake Crescent Lodge: Built-in 1915, the Lake Crescent Lodge is a historic property and offers lodging and dining services right on the shores of the picturesque Lake Crescent.

  • Olympic National Park Visitor Center: Located at the park’s main entrance, this visitor center offers an overview of the park’s history and ecology, as well as information on hiking, camping, and other activities.

Natural Attractions of Olympic National Park: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Hurricane Ridge: This popular destination offers stunning alpine vistas, hiking trails, and winter sports opportunities in the colder months.

  • Hoh Rain Forest: With an annual rainfall of over 140 inches, the lush and diverse Hoh Rain Forest is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.

  • Lake Ozette: Featuring a 9.4-mile trail that winds through old-growth forest and along the coast, this destination offers views of tide pools, sea stacks, and other breathtaking natural features.

  • Ruby Beach: Known for its dramatic sea stacks and picturesque tide pools, Ruby Beach is a must-visit for photography enthusiasts.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with over 600 miles of incredible trails that offer stunning views of mountain ranges, rainforests, and coastlines. Here are some popular hiking and biking routes to consider:

  • Hoh River Trail: A 32-mile trail that traverses through the Hoh Rain Forest and follows the Hoh River, offering stunning views of Mount Olympus.

  • Ozette Loop Trail: A 9.4-mile trail that offers a loop through old-growth forest and along the coast, featuring tide pools, sea stacks, and dramatic coastal vistas.

  • Sol Duc Falls Trail: An easy 1.6-mile round trip hike that leads to the stunning Sol Duc Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park.

Best Things to Do in Olympic National Park: Activities and Tours

In addition to hiking and biking, there are several other activities and tours to consider in Olympic National Park. Here are some options:

  • Wildlife Viewing: Olympic National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, deer, black bear, and many species of birds. Consider taking a guided wildlife viewing tour to get up-close and personal with these amazing creatures.

  • Fishing: The park’s pristine rivers, lakes, and streams offer excellent fishing opportunities for salmon, steelhead, and trout. Consider taking a fishing excursion to reel in some big catches.

  • Kayaking and Canoeing: The park features several beautiful lakes and waterways that are perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Take a guided tour to explore the park’s stunning coastal and river environments.

Week-Long Itinerary for Olympic National Park

If you’re planning a week-long trip to Olympic National Park, here’s a sample itinerary to consider:

Day 1: Arrive in Olympic National Park and visit the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to get an overview of the park’s history, ecology, and activities.

Day 2: Explore the beautiful and diverse Hoh Rain Forest, taking a guided tour if desired. End the day with a relaxing stay at the nearby Kalaloch Lodge.

Day 3: Take the ferry to Lake Quinault and explore the Quinault Rain Forest, featuring stunning waterfalls and old-growth forest. Consider staying at the nearby Lake Quinault Lodge for a luxurious overnight stay.

Day 4: Hike to the stunning Sol Duc Falls and soak in the nearby Sol Duc Hot Springs. End the day with a stay at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

Day 5: Take a guided wildlife viewing tour to spot elk, deer, black bear, and other wildlife. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxing stay at the Lake Crescent Lodge.

Day 6: Explore the beautiful Hurricane Ridge area, taking a guided tour if desired. End the day with a stay at the nearby Cottages at Madrona.

Day 7: Take a guided kayaking tour to explore the park’s coastal and river environments. End the trip with a beautiful sunset at Ruby Beach.

Food and Drink Scene of Olympic National Park

When it comes to food and drink, Olympic National Park offers a diverse array of options showcasing the best of local cuisine. Here are some top recommendations:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Olympic Coast Cuisine: Featuring fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, Olympic Coast Cuisine is a must-try for foodies visiting the area.

  • Wild Berries: The forested areas around the park are home to a diverse array of wild berries, including huckleberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Make sure to take advantage of this natural bounty during your visit!

Local Beverages

  • Olympic Peninsula Wine Country: Featuring several top-tier wineries and vineyards, the Olympic Peninsula Wine Country offers wine tastings and tours that showcase the best of the region’s wine offerings.

  • Local Breweries: With several microbreweries in the area, visitors can enjoy a wide range of flavorful and refreshing brews made with locally sourced hops and barley.

Where to Stay in Olympic National Park: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

From luxurious lodges to rustic campsites, Olympic National Park offers a wide range of lodging options to suit every need and budget. Here are some recommendations:

  • Lake Crescent Lodge: Built-in 1915, this historic lodge offers comfortable accommodations right on the shores of Lake Crescent.

  • Kalaloch Lodge: Situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean, this historic lodge offers stunning views and comfortable amenities.

  • Cottages at Madrona: Featuring cozy cottages and private cabins nestled in the forested areas around the park, this lodging option is perfect for those who crave a little peace and quiet.

  • Olympic Hostel: For budget travelers, the Olympic Hostel offers a comfortable and affordable place to stay in the heart of the park.

What to Buy in Olympic National Park: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir or gift to bring home from Olympic National Park, there are several options to consider, including:

  • Local Crafts and Artwork: From hand-crafted wooden bowls to intricate Indigenous artwork, the nearby cities offer a wide range of locally made crafts and artwork that showcase the region’s unique cultural heritage.

  • Wild Berries: Whether you pick your berries or buy them from a local vendor, taking home some fresh wild berries from the park is a great way to savor your memories of the area.

Local Culture and Customs of Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is home to both Indigenous and early European settler cultures, and visitors can experience the rich history and traditions of both groups during their visit. Some things to keep in mind when interacting with locals include:

  • Respect for Indigenous Culture: The area is home to several Indigenous communities, and visitors should be respectful of their traditions and heritage while in the area.

  • Appreciation for Nature: The park is dedicated to preserving the natural environment, and visitors should take care to leave a minimal ecological footprint during their stay.

Best Time to Visit Olympic National Park

The best time to visit Olympic National Park largely depends on your personal preferences and interests. Summer months offer warmer and drier weather, making it ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. Winter months offer snow sports and quiet accommodations. Spring and fall offer different opportunities to explore the National Park.

Do’s and Don’ts of Olympic National Park

Here are some key do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during your visit:


  • Respect the Environment: Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and respect the park’s fragile ecosystem.

  • Engage Locally: The area is home to several Indigenous communities, and visitors should engage with these communities and learn about their unique traditions and heritage.

  • Take Advantage of Outdoor Activities: The park is home to some of the best outdoor adventures around, and visitors should take advantage of these opportunities as much as possible.


  • Litter or Damage the Environment: Always pack out your trash and be careful not to damage the park’s fragile ecosystems.

  • Disrespect Local Culture: Be respectful of the park’s Indigenous heritage and traditions, and avoid any activities that may cause harm to these communities.

Safety and Health

Safety in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a relatively safe destination, with few serious safety concerns to worry about. However, visitors should take precautions against potential hazards, including wildlife encounters, inclement weather, and hiking-related injuries. Always be aware of your surroundings and listen to park rangers and other local authorities for safety warnings and weather advisories.

Health in Olympic National Park

In addition to safety concerns, visitors should also take precautions to maintaining their health during their visit to Olympic National Park. This includes staying hydrated, avoiding wildlife encounters, and taking care not to overexert oneself while enjoying the park’s many outdoor activities.

Getting to Olympic National Park: Transportation Options and Logistics

Whether you’re arriving by car, plane, or public transportation, there are several transportation options to consider when traveling to Olympic National Park. Here are some top recommendations:

Airports Near Olympic National Park

The nearest airports to Olympic National Park are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Portland International Airport.

Bus Stations Near Olympic National Park

Several bus options are in Port Angeles, including Clallam Transit, Olympic Bus Lines, and Greyhound Bus Lines.

Other Options

Other options to consider include renting a car or taking a shuttle from nearby cities like Seattle or Portland.

How to Get Around in Olympic National Park

Once you’re in the park, several transportation options are available, including private vehicle, bicycle, shuttle bus, and tour companies. Each option has its unique benefits and offers a different perspective on the park’s stunning natural beauty.

Where to Go Next from Olympic National Park: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

After exploring Olympic National Park, consider nearby cities like Seattle, Port Angeles, and Portland. Other excursions include a trip to Mount Rainier National Park or Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.


With stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a wide range of outdoor adventures, Olympic National Park is a destination like no other. No matter your interests or budget, this park has something to offer everyone, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers from around the world.