Olympic National Park, located in Washington state, is almost as divine as its name. It is based on 922,000 acres of land with rich and diverse ecosystems within its boundaries. It is the 7th most visited National Park in the United States. The massive national park holds a multitude of landscapes from dense tropical rainforests to snow-capped mountains and coastal beaches. Here are 9 of the MUST SEE places in the Olympic National Park.
Named after its unpredictable winds, Hurricane Ridge is the second most visited place in the Olympic National Park. It is located at an impressive height of 5,242 feet. The road was built in the 1950s, in an attempt to improve park tourism.
It is the most easily accessible area within the park. The road is open all summer but is closed off in winters for all days except Friday to Sunday. You can easily drive through the area without difficulty.
You can witness exquisite wildlife, from marmots to blacked-tailed deer, and even black bears on this route, and a scenic view of the Olympic Mountain Range can be seen at the top. On a fogless day at Hurricane Ridge, you can even see Canada in the distance!
Lake Crescent is a colossal lake, with a staggering length of 19km. The formation of Lake Crescent was due to glacier-carving during the last Ice Age. At a depth of 596 feet, Lake Crescent is almost bottomless.
There are various activities for tourists here, including kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, and boating. However, visitors say that the true enjoyment of the lake is only experienced through swimming inside its cold, turquoise water.
Although you may not find any rubies on Ruby Beach (unfortunately), the mesmerizing rock islands, the seasoned driftwood, the reddish sand, and the breathtaking views, more than makeup for it. The beach offers beautiful rock formations, formed by centuries of weathering.
Moreover, access is easy with an easy walk to the beach and ample parking area. However, the beach may get crowded during the tourist season.
Located near Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls is named after Mary Alice Barnes, sister of Charles Barnes. The waterfall has an impressive drop of 119 feet down a vertical rock.
The lush green surrounding the waterfall makes the landscape pleasing to the eye. The water is fed by glaciers, making it too cold for a swim.
The waterfall can be accessed only by hiking down a paved path through a green forest. The hike is fairly easy and flat until the end where you have to climb some steps, which makes it a bit strenuous. Overall, the hike is moderately difficult and most people can make it through without any problem.
Olympic National Forest
The Olympic National Forest offers a wide range of adventure experiences for everyone. Witness the rushing rivers, coastal rainforests, alpine wildflowers, and views of the Puget Sound from mountain peaks.
The forest can be accessed by car and on foot, so whether you like hiking or just plain-old sightseeing, the choice is entirely yours.
Hall of Mosses
The Hall of Mosses is a 0.8-mile hiking trail in the park’s Hoh Rain Forest. The trail is named after the brown and green moss that is excessively abundant in the area.
This is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the U.S. Pacific coast, stretching from southeastern Alaska to the central coast of California. However, dogs cannot go on any trails in the Hoh Rain Forest.
The hiking trail is mainly used for the purposes of hiking or camping. It is accessible throughout the year as well.
Salt Creek Recreation Area
Salt Creek is a hypnotizing piece of coastal area along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The beach is a tourist favorite, with amazing tide pools and surfing opportunities.
The aquatic marine life is as diverse as they come, including crabs, clams, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. Some visitors say they have even witnessed whales in the distance!
The best time to go to Salt Creek is during low tide. The high tide envelopes the tide pools and causes the tides to get rougher, making the experience less pleasant.
All in all, Salt Creek makes for a perfect family vacation spot.
Hoh River Trail
The panoramic trail runs along the Hoh River, a 90km long river fed by the Hoh Glacier. The name has no particular meaning except that the Hoh people were named after the river.
The trail offers many scenic vistas along its way. You can even notice varying wildlife, including Roosevelt Elk, black bears, and mountain lions. The most interesting features of this trail are that you can appreciate the glorious view of Mount Olympus on the hike. Additionally, you can even explore the Blue Glacier at the end of the trail.
The trail is a good alternative to Hall of Mosses or Marymere Falls, which often get very crowded. It is also well-maintained and you can easily hike through the entire way. The best season to experience this trail is from late June through September.
The enchanting Rialto Beach is located near the mouth of the Quillayute River. It is connected to the mighty Pacific Ocean. The name was given by the famous magician Claude Alexander Conlin after the Rialto theatre chain.
The beach seems like the edge of the world, with sun-bleached logs and primordial sea stacks. Some tourists prefer Rialto Beach over Ruby Beach, however, it still remains mostly uncrowded. Just like Ruby Beach, Rialto Beach boasts incredible tide pools inside its premises.
The beach can be accessed by Mora Road. Mora campground is located at a distance of 3 miles from the beach and can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. The best time to visit Rialto Beach is during low-tide, daytime hours.
So what's the point in waiting? Clear out your calendar for the vacation of your lifetime at the Olympic National Park.