Olympic National Park is situated on 1,406 square miles of land sheltering an abundance of glaciated mountain peaks, a one-of-a-kind rainforest, and 57 miles of the Pacific coastal wilderness. The park’s ecosystem features an impressive biodiversity making it an ideal place to explore via hiking, kayaking, or skiing, and activities such as fishing and camping are encouraged here. For those who would rather forgo roughing it in the wilderness, here are 25 amazing Olympic National Park accommodations. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park
© Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park
Nestled between towering evergreen forests and driftwood-lined beaches, this cozy, comfortable Forks, Washington, retreat provides a laid-back charm that travelers will appreciate. The Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park gives visitors the ideal location for exploring Olympic Peninsula’s mist-shrouded rainforests, pristine beaches, and snow-capped mountains. The lodge’s guests will enjoy convenient access to Olympic National Park’s attractions including Rialto Beach, Mount Walker, and the majestic Murhut Falls. The lodge offers several well-appointed accommodations, with some providing magnificent North Pacific Ocean views. The rooms are spacious and inviting, have rustic design features that include knotty pine, and offer eclectic yet comfortable furniture.
157151 US-101, Forks, WA, Phone: 866-662-9928
2.Bond Ranch Retreat
© Bond Ranch Retreat
The Bond Ranch Retreat is like a summer camp for adults with its charming cedar cabins nestled into the densely forested Sequim, Washington terrain. The ranch’s guests will be conveniently situated a short drive from Sequim’s retail stores and appetizing restaurants. Just minutes from the ranch, guests can explore Olympic National Park’s sparkling Lake Crescent, the enchanting Hoh Rain Forest, and the marvelous Ruby Beach. The rooms are comfortable and provide plenty of natural light, are tastefully decorated with individual themes, and provide antique furniture pieces. Guests can start each day with a sensational organic continental breakfast at the ranch’s picturesque outdoor pavilion.
1405 Hooker Road, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-461-2156
3.Colette’s Bed & Breakfast
© Colette’s Bed & Breakfast
This luxurious and award-winning oceanfront bed and breakfast is situated on 10 marvelous acres between the shimmering Strait of Juan de Fuca and the majestic Olympic Mountains. Visitors that choose Colette’s Bed & Breakfast as their lodging accommodation will be treated to Olympic Peninsula’s warm hospitality, stunning sites, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights. Twilight fans will appreciate exploring the home of the popular movie series with self-guided touring maps of Port Angeles, La Push, and Forks, Washington. The suites are spacious, tastefully decorated, and provide opulent amenities that include oceanfront views, plush bedding, whirlpool spas, and warm crackling fireplaces.
339 Finn Hall Road, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 877-457-9777
4.GreenHouse Inn by the Bay
© GreenHouse Inn by the Bay
The wonderfully charming GreenHouse Inn by the Bay is situated along Marine Drive and the picturesque Dungeness Bay in Sequim, Washington. The Inn offers its guests convenient access to a variety of activities that include sailing tours on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, world-class fishing on the Elwha River, and beautiful hiking trails inside of Olympic National Park. Each well-appointed room offers its guests a view of either the marvelous Olympic Mountains or the shimmering waters of Dungeness Bay. Guests will enjoy luxurious amenities that range from spa-inspired bath products and deep soaking tubs to remote controlled fireplaces and balconies with breathtaking views.
630 Marine Drive, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-504-2489
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Travelers will find the budget-friendly, canary-yellow Holiday Lodge situated along U.S. Highway 101 in downtown Port Angeles, Washington. The Olympic Peninsula is a wonderfully picturesque destination providing an array of marvelous sites, outdoor adventure, and sensational gastronomy. The lodge’s guests will be a short drive from the entrance to Olympic National Park where they can enjoy a beautiful hike to Sol Duc Falls, an unforgettable stroll along Ruby Beach, or a peaceful canoe ride around Lake Crescent. The rooms have gray carpet, beige walls, colorfully striped comforters, and eclectic furnishings. The lodge offers complimentary Wi-Fi, a daily complimentary continental breakfast, and LCD flat-screen TVs.
1414 E 1st Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-457-9201
6.Juan de Fuca Cottages
© Juan de Fuca Cottages
A charming boutique hotel, the Juan de Fuca Cottages offer an idyllic setting on a low bluff along the shores of Dungeness Bay in Sequim, Washington. The waterfront cottages offer marvelous views of the Dungeness Spit, New Dungeness Lighthouse, Olympic Mountains, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Victoria, British Columbia. The hotel’s guests will enjoy easy access to water activities that include ocean kayaking, sailing tours, and deep-sea fishing charters. The cottages are bright and airy, rustic in design, and furnished with eclectic vintage pieces. All of the cottages are equipped with private bathrooms, whirlpool tubs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
182 Marine Drive, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-683-4433
7.Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
© Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
Travelers looking for a one-of-a-kind Olympic National Park experience should strongly consider lodging at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. The resort is located inside of Olympic National Park and is situated along the winding Sol Duc River in Port Angeles, Washington. The resort offers guests the perfect home base for exploring park attractions that include the picturesque Hoh Rain Forest, Madison Creek Falls, and Crescent Lake. Guests will appreciate the bright and airy feel of the rooms, the charming rustic décor, and beautiful wood furnishings. They’re equipped with private bathrooms, plush beds, and coffeemakers. Resort amenities include hot mineral-spring pools, an on-site restaurant, and massage therapists.
12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Road, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-327-3593
8.Lake Crescent Lodge
© Lake Crescent Lodge
Nestled along the shores of Lake Crescent and surrounded by towering evergreens, travelers will find the historic Lake Crescent Lodge located in Olympic National Park, Washington. The lodge’s guests will have unrivaled access to a variety of popular park attractions that include the Quinault Rain Forest, Mount Olympus, and the Sol Duc Falls. The lodge’s close proximity to the lake offers guests convenient access to kayaking, fishing, and stand-up paddle boarding. From cozy cabins to inviting cottages and historic lodge rooms, guests will enjoy charming accommodations that feature rustic design, marvelous nature views, and basic amenities for a more comfortable stay.
416 Lake Crescent Road, Olympic National Park, WA, Phone: 360-928-3211
9.Lake Quinault Lodge
© Lake Quinault Lodge
Surrounded by soaring evergreens, Lake Quinalt Lodge is perched on a perfectly manicured hill overlooking Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park, Washington. Enjoying lake activities that include boat tours, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding will be a breeze. The lodge’s guests can easily explore Marymere Falls, take a dip in the Olympic Hot Springs, or enjoy a picturesque hike to Mt. Olympus. The Main Lodge and Bathhouse Rooms offer a charming antique ambiance, while the Fireplace and Lakeside Rooms provide modern luxury. The rooms offer opulent amenities that range from fireplaces to heated bathroom floors to private balconies or patios offering marvelous views.
345 South Shore Road, Quinault, WA, Phone: 360-288-2900
© Lochaerie Resort
The historic wood cabins at the Lochaerie Resort seem to blend perfectly into the natural landscape that surrounds them. Located along the shores of Olympic National Park’s Lake Quinault, the resort offers its guests convenient access to fishing, paddle boarding, and boat tours. The resort’s guests can explore popular sites within the park that include the Hoh Rain Forest, Hurricane Ridge, and Mount Storm King. The cabins are all charmingly named after peaks within the Olympic Mountains including Colonel Bob, Christie, and Ellinor. The rustic cabins offer river rock fireplaces, picturesque lake and mountain views, and porches for enjoying marvelous sunrises and sunsets.
638 North Shore Road, Amanda Park, WA, Phone: 360-288-2215
11.Log Cabin Resort
© Log Cabin Resort
Travelers will find the charming Log Cabin Resort situated along the shimmering Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park, Washington. The resort’s guests can enjoy over 600 miles of picturesque trails that include the Second Beach Trail, Hoh River Trail, and the South Coast Trail. There are a variety of lake activities for guests to enjoy including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and sunset boat tours. From A-Frame Chalets to Lodge Rooms to Cabins, the resort’s guests will enjoy accommodations offering marvelous mountain and lake views. The cabins are spacious, rustic in design, and feature amenities that range from private bathrooms to kitchenettes to coffee makers.
3183 East Beach Road, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-928-3325
12.Lost Mountain Lodge
© Lost Mountain Lodge
Lost Mountain Lodge is a luxurious bed and breakfast nestled among soaring pines, tranquil ponds, lavish gardens, and gentle wilderness. Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Sequim, Washington, the lodge’s guests will have premier access to outdoor adventures, popular attractions, and culinary delights. For a more rejuvenating experience, the lodge offers getaway packages that promise personalized pampering and spa-influenced treatments. The well-appointed suites are spacious, elegantly decorated, and provide contemporary furnishings. The suites are equipped with king-size beds, private bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests will enjoy opulent amenities in select suites that include fireplaces, soaking tubs, plush resort robes, and private balconies.
303 Sunny View Drive, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-683-2431
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© Olympic Lodge
The well-appointed Olympic Lodge is situated just off of U.S. Highway 101 near the heart of downtown Port Angeles, Washington. The lodge is conveniently located just minutes from this charming seaside community’s stylish boutiques, cozy cafes, and waterfront restaurants. The lobby delivers a striking impression with its floor-to-ceiling windows that seemingly create a towering glass façade that offers guests views of the sparkling pool and Peninsula Golf Course. The rooms are luxuriously decorated with spacious bathrooms, Plush Simmons pillow-top mattresses, tufted leather headboards, chic contemporary furnishings, and 42” flat-screen HDTVs. Rooms with private patios offer picturesque views of the golf course and Olympic Mountains, while the standard Two Queen rooms offer marvelous views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
140 S Del Guzzi Drive, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-452-2993
14.Olympic Suites Inn
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Travelers will find the Olympic Suites Inn nestled along the winding Calawah River in the now famously known Forks, Washington. Twilight Movie Series fans will appreciate the Inn’s close proximity to iconic sites where filming took place for the movies, the locations can easily be found and explored with self-guided maps. The Inn provides its guest’s convenient access to Olympic National Park and its 611 miles of picturesque trails that are ideal for hiking and mountain biking. The recently renovated rooms are spacious and inviting, rustic in design, and provide simple wood furnishings. Room amenities include full private bathrooms, cable TV, and decks or balconies.
800 Olympic Drive, Forks, WA, Phone: 800-262-3433
15.Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park
© Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park
Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park provides travelers to the Olympic Peninsula area a budget-friendly lodging option in Sequim, Washington. The hotel’s guests will appreciate convenient access to Olympic National Park’s popular sites that include the Quinault Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, and Olympic National Forest. Guests will be just minutes from downtown Sequim’s appetizing restaurants, cozy cafes, and stylish boutiques. The rooms are spacious and bright, tastefully decorated, and provide stylish contemporary furnishings. Room amenities include private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and coffee makers. The hotel offers its guests a fitness center, sparkling pool, rejuvenating whirlpool, and daily complimentary continental breakfast.
134 River Road, Sequim, WA, Phone: 520-257-3140
16.Quinault River Inn
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Situated along the winding Quinault River, the Quinault River Inn offers travelers a casual and budget-friendly accommodation in Amanda Park, Washington. Within short walking distance of the hotel, guests will have access to two cafes and a charming vintage general store. A quick five-minute drive offers hotel guests finer dining in the Salmon House Restaurant and Roosevelt Dining Room. The Inn’s guests will appreciate convenient access to world-class fishing, the Quinault Rain Forest, and Olympic National Park. The rooms are spacious, offer rustic design complete with knotty pine, and provide basic contemporary furnishings. Room amenities include private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and coffeemakers.
8 River Drive, Amanda Park, WA, Phone: 360-288-2237
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17.Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles
© Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles
The Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles is a waterfront accommodation offering guests great value with breathtaking views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. The hotel’s guests will be just steps from downtown Port Angeles waterfront restaurants, stylish boutiques, and cozy cafes. Hotel guests will thrill to the easy access to Olympic Peninsula attractions that include the Olympic National Park, Cape Flattery, and Olympic National Forest. The décor includes forest-green carpet, pastel yellow walls, plush bedding, and contemporary furnishings. Rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel provides a sparkling pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and on-site seafood restaurant.
221 N. Lincoln, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-452-9215
18.Red Lion Inn & Suites Sequim at Olympic National Park
© Red Lion Inn & Suites Sequim at Olympic National Park
The Red Lion Inn & Suites Sequim at Olympic National Park is situated near U.S. Highway 101 just minutes from downtown Sequim, Washington. The hotel’s close proximity to Olympic National Park offers its guest’s easy access to park attractions that include the Sol Duc Falls, Rialto Beach, and the Olympic Hot Springs. The hotel’s guests will be a short drive from Sequim’s stylish boutiques, cozy cafes, and appetizing restaurants. Guests will appreciate how spacious and bright the rooms are, as well as their tasteful decorations and modern furnishings. Rooms include private bathrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, and cable TV. The hotel offers a sparkling pool, fitness center, and daily complimentary breakfast buffet.
1095 E Washington Street, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-683-1775
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The Riviera Inn offers travelers a budget-friendly motel option just steps from the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Port Angeles, Washington. Guests will appreciate being within walking distance of downtown Port Angeles cozy cafes, charming boutiques, and waterfront gastronomy. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate how close the motel is to Olympic National Park where they’ll have access to over 600 miles of picturesque trails for hiking and mountain biking. Accommodations are spacious and comfortable, offer simple décor, and provide modern furnishings. Rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, microwaves, cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, and marvelous views of the Olympic Mountains.
535 E Front Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-417-3955
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20.Royal Victorian Motel
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The quaint 20-room Royal Victorian Motel is situated between Hurricane Ridge and the harbor in the seaside community of Port Angeles, Washington. The cheerful yellow motel with white and purple trim offers its guests convenient access to Port Angeles restaurants, cafes, and shops. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the motel’s close proximity to Olympic National Park where they can enjoy popular hikes that include the Ozette Loop Hike, Second Beach Trail, and High Divide. The rooms are spacious and bright, tastefully decorated, and provide contemporary furnishings. They’re equipped with private bathrooms, 48” flat-screen HDTVs with cable channels, and complimentary Wi-Fi – some rooms offer marvelous views of the Olympic Mountains.
521 E 1st Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-452-8400
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21.Sequim Bay Lodge
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Travelers will find Sequim Bay Lodge situated just off of U.S. Highway 101 on 17 lushly forested acres of land in Sequim, Washington. The lodge is steps from Sequim Bay where guests can enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and scenic boat tours. Guests will be a short drive from Olympic National Park where they can enjoy a hike to Murhut Falls, a stroll along Shi Shi Beach, and a dip in the rejuvenating Olympic Hot Springs. The hotel’s rooms are spacious, have forest-green carpet and beige walls, are rustic in design, and provide simple modern furnishings. Room amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, cable TV, and private bathrooms.
268522 U.S. 101, Sequim, WA, Phone: 360-683-0691
22.Super 8 Port Angeles
© Super 8 Port Angeles
Super 8 Port Angeles is situated along U.S. Highway 101 near the heart of downtown Port Angeles, Washington. The well-appointed hotel has been recognized by as a green leader for reducing its carbon footprint and conserving natural resources. The hotel’s guests will enjoy convenient access to Olympic National Park, as well as downtown Port Angeles waterfront restaurants, charming cafes, and stylish boutiques. Guests will love the spacious rooms with warm earth-tone colors, plush bedding, accent walls with portrait art, and tasteful contemporary furnishings. Room amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and coffeemakers. The hotel is pet friendly, offers free parking, and provides a daily complimentary breakfast.
2104 East 1st Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-452-8401
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23.Days Inn Port Angeles
© Days Inn Port Angeles
The Days Inn Port Angeles provides a budget-friendly accommodation for travelers visiting the Olympic Peninsula area in the state of Washington. Guests can start each day with the hotel’s complimentary Daybreak continental breakfast before embarking on their Olympic National Park adventures. Visitors to the park will enjoy its marvelous beauty and popular sites that include the Quinault Rain Forest, Sol Duc Falls, and Hurricane Ridge. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, offer simple modern design, and provide contemporary furnishings. Room amenities include, complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffee/tea makers. The hotel is pet friendly and provides a heated outdoor pool.
1510 East Front Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-452-4015
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Travelers will find the charming Uptown Inn ideally situated in the heart of Port Angeles, Washington. The hotel’s guests will appreciate being within walking distance of Port Angeles downtown shopping, quaint cafes, and waterfront gastronomy. Port Angeles is the gateway to Olympic National Park where visitors can enjoy picturesque attractions that include the Olympic National Forest, Ruby Beach, Hoh Rain Forest, and Cape Flattery. Guests will find that the rooms are spacious enough, pleasantly decorated, and comfortably furnished. Rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, and cable TV. On warm summer days, guests will appreciate complimentary access to the sparkling William Shore Memorial Pool.
112 East 2nd Street, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-457-9435
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25.All View Motel
© All View Motel
Travelers will find the charming All View Motel situated about a mile from downtown Port Angeles, Washington. This roadside motel features a striking forest-green façade accentuated with bright white trim. The motel is ideally situated for conveniently reaching Port Angeles’ retail shops, waterfront restaurants, and Victoria Ferries. Guests can explore some of Washington’s breathtaking terrain at Olympic National Park where they can enjoy picturesque hikes and world-class mountain biking trails. The rooms are spacious and inviting, rustic in design, and offer eclectic contemporary furnishings. Rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, and either refrigerators and microwaves, or full kitchens.
214 E Lauridsen Boulevard, Port Angeles, WA, Phone: 360-457-7779
25 Best Places to Stay Near Olympic National Park
- Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park, Photo: Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park
- Bond Ranch Retreat, Photo: Bond Ranch Retreat
- Colette’s Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Colette’s Bed & Breakfast
- GreenHouse Inn by the Bay, Photo: GreenHouse Inn by the Bay
- Holiday Lodge, Photo: Courtesy of lamaip - Fotolia.com
- Juan de Fuca Cottages, Photo: Juan de Fuca Cottages
- Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, Photo: Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
- Lake Crescent Lodge, Photo: Lake Crescent Lodge
- Lake Quinault Lodge, Photo: Lake Quinault Lodge
- Lochaerie Resort, Photo: Lochaerie Resort
- Log Cabin Resort, Photo: Log Cabin Resort
- Lost Mountain Lodge, Photo: Lost Mountain Lodge
- Olympic Lodge, Photo: Olympic Lodge
- Olympic Suites Inn, Photo: Courtesy of Kenishirotie - Fotolia.com
- Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park, Photo: Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park
- Quinault River Inn, Photo: Courtesy of natalia - Fotolia.com
- Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles, Photo: Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles
- Red Lion Inn & Suites Sequim at Olympic National Park, Photo: Red Lion Inn & Suites Sequim at Olympic National Park
- Riviera Inn, Photo: Courtesy of Lena - Fotolia.com
- Royal Victorian Motel, Photo: Courtesy of J Hansen - Fotolia.com
- Sequim Bay Lodge, Photo: Courtesy of dvoevnore - Fotolia.com
- Super 8 Port Angeles, Photo: Super 8 Port Angeles
- Days Inn Port Angeles, Photo: Days Inn Port Angeles
- Uptown Inn, Photo: Courtesy of LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - Fotolia.com
- All View Motel, Photo: All View Motel
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Bill Perry - Fotolia.com
All About Olympic National Park
When you think of the state of Washington, you might, in your mind’s eye think of a first world state of transportation and buzzy business. You might think of the 7-million people who live and work in Washington and contribute to the state’s economy with serious commercial commitment; people who wear ties and suits every day.
The national park spans over almost 1-million acres and offers some of the most extraordinary landscapes. The original inhabitants of this area have histories that are estimated to reach back some 12,000 years.
Archaeological evidence has shown us that the history of Olympic National Park in Washington extends back in time to prehistory, to a time when dinosaurs roamed the planet. While it is understood that the people who lived in the area were nomadic and the place they called home depended on what food they could find where, it is known that a great percentage of them fed on huge mammals such as whales. But evidence is also existence of these people’s use of tools made of stone and items such as baskets, made of twigs.
The Olympic National Park that you will visit, however, first came into being from the mid-1850s, as a result of several treaties signed between American colonialists of the time and the indigenous Indian communities who were living in the region. There’s a certain amount of controversy around these treaties, when looked at with 21st century eyes, as to who they were benefiting more, but nevertheless, it’s the way history panned out.
In 1873, almost a decade after the end of the American Civil War, plans became effective to set up reservations near where people affiliated to communities such as the Quinault, Quileute, Hoh and Ozette lived. It was a time of great exploration and renaming and what was then called the Olympic Forest Reserve became known as the Olympic National Forest in 1907.
“Olympic?” you might frown. “Olympic? Doesn’t that word have something to do with sports and not with Washington? Or with a Greek meaning?” You would not be wrong.
Olympus, where the word ‘Olympic’ derives is the name for the highest mountain in Greece and the mountain which early Greeks believed to be the home of their gods. Residents of the area around what is today Olympic National Park traditionally referred to the area as a gift from the sea. And if you look at its features, it certainly is some gift! It’s a huge piece of ground which contains three distinct ecosystems inside an almost circular mountain range. No less than 13 rivers radiate from the mountain range.
Picture all of this in your mind’s eye, remembering that most of its features were indeed formed by the sea – the massive rocks, many of which still have marine fossils embedded in them – come from under the ocean. The basalt in the rock faces originates from undersea volcanic explosions. Archaeologists explain that this miraculous-seeming environment came about with movements in the oceanic plates about 30 million years ago. Glaciers which were probably about one mile thick became the tools that sculpted the environment with such drama and complete beauty.
But further to these geological evolutions, Ice Age isolation led to some animal plants and species evolving only in this part of the planet – and these include the Olympic mountain milkvetch, a plant which has oblong hairy leaves and greenish white and purple-veined petals; the Olympic Mazama pocket gopher, which looks like a mixture between a mole and a chipmunk and grows to a maximum of six inches in length; and the Olympic Beardlee trout, known to locals as “blue backs”, among others.
When you visit the park, you will see lots of mountain goats – those amazing creatures which are capable of trotting up the side of a sheer face of rock with seemingly no support or footholds. Curiously, the mountain goats are not native to the area. They were introduced here in the 1920s, before the park was officially formalized. But their population exploded in the area, and in 1981, attempts were made to thin the goat count a bit.
Because of its rich mixture of history, culture and geology, the best way to begin your trip to the Olympic National Park is with an audio tour. With a Park Overview as well as features on the Staircase, the Hoh community and Hurricane Ridge, to name but a few key elements, you can quickly orient yourself to the full picture of this extraordinary space. The audio tour is designed for cell phone use and normal cell phone rates apply.
Boating is a very popular activity in Olympic park, given the 13 rivers which flow around the mountain, but be warned: there are strict safety regulations which you must adhere to. This is because the weather is subject to dramatic and rapid shifts which can often be unpredictable. Each river and lake has a different ‘personality’ and conditions, and you need to be fairly seasoned with navigating a boat to take a trip by yourself through any of them. Also depending on what kind of boat you want to use, there may be restrictions – you can use motorized boats in some of the areas, but not others, and fishing boats, kayaks and rafts only on specified bodies of water, for which there are permits.
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The variety of rock types in the mountainous regions of Olympic Park also makes for varied rock climbing experiences. The texture and robustness of the rocks, which range from shale and sandstone, soft basalt and pillow lava is not uniform. The park will insist that you don’t go meandering with vague ideas of what you’re looking for. They will ask you to explain exactly where you’re going and how you will be returning – so it’s important to do your homework. You don’t want the park sending out search parties for you, after dark or in difficult weather. The main peaks: Mount Olympus, Mount Deception and Mount Constance, are truly spectacular but don’t attempt them alone. These mountains are dangerous and won’t be gentle on the boasts of mavericks.
Fishing is certainly encouraged in the Olympic National Park, but the emphasis is on catch-and-release fishing which is deemed good for the aquatic balance of the ecosystem. You need to follow the rules with care so that you are not responsible for disrupting things.
If you’re not up for any of the hectic and scary possibilities of traversing the mountains or the rivers, there are the tide pools, which come with their own etiquette, as they too are part of the ecosystem. Kalaloch Beach’s 4 and Mora’s Hole are the Park’s most popular tide pools. Don’t try and jump from rock to rock as you gaze into the pools: things may be covered in algae and a lot more slippery than they look. Also, be aware of sneaky waves which may catch you by surprise: these are not called tide pools for fun: the tide does rush in, and it means business!
But with rangers at hand, and ranger-led trails, there’s always someone to rely on, even in the trickiest of weather or geological conditions. If you’re not a seasoned explorer, rely on the extensive knowledge and training of your ranger.
Plan Your Visit
Because of the extreme weather that Olympic National Park experiences, particularly in summer, it is recommended that you plan your trip for the winter months, or the late winter months, when snow is beginning to melt. Be aware, however, that it is a wet season, and dress accordingly.
To get into the park, you need a pass, which you can purchase from the “America the Beautiful” Series, which offers access to numerous wild areas in the United States. An annual pass costs $80, but you can obtain educational waivers on fees, if you are bringing a tour group.
There are four primary visitor centers in the Olympic National Park. And they are there to assist you in whatever way you need them to.
All things considered, a visit to the Olympic National Park in Washington is by no manner or means the kind of thing you can do on a whim. You need to equip yourself properly, plan your trip with great care and with an understanding of the dangers than can lurk in areas that you’re not completely familiar with. But having said all of that and having rung all the warning bells possible, it’s truly an experience worth experiencing. Not only will it open your eyes to the sheer magnificence in the world in which we live, but it will heighten your appreciation for what tiny cogs we are, as human beings in such a big deep world.
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