Olympic National Park is located in Washington state of United States. Here one can find sea coast, lakes, mountains and rainforest all at the same place. The beautiful snow capped mountain of Olympic peninsula is breathtaking. Around 73 miles of coastal region of the National Park has rocky and sandy beaches. Some of the beaches are only sandy beaches while others are surrounded by very huge rocks.
The forest has a bushy growth all over the trees and the trails are slippery due to rain and lack of sunlight. It is a difficult hike in the interior part of the forest because of the difficult terrain.
From Seattle you can go either by ferry or by road. You can take Edmonds-Kingston Ferry or Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry. All locations of the Olympic National Park are connected with US Highway 101. If you would prefer traveling by road only, then you have to travel all the way south to Olympia and then drive towards Aberdeen and take US Highway 101. No matter which way you go, the traveling time to one of the Park entrance would be around 3 hours from Seattle-Tacoma area. The main visitor center is located in Port Angeles.
Most of the roads of the Park remains open all the year round but few roads closes in winter due to heavy snowfall. You must call the visitor center and know about the road conditions before heading.
The major attractions of the Olympic National Park are as follows:
Hurricane ridge would be the first stop if you take Edmonds-Kingston ferry. The visitor center at Hurricane Ridge opens everyday from April till October. However in the winter months, the roads mostly remain close due to heavy snowfall. It is one of the most popular destination in the park.
There are many small and easy hiking trails in Hurricane Ridge. The trail begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. It is a 1.5 miles up to the top of the hill from where you can see spectacular views of the mountain peaks and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If you go in the early summer months, you will able to see beautiful wild flowers. You can also easily see herd of blacktailed deer.
There are also few difficult hikes like trail to Mt. Angeles. This is a 5.2 mile day hike starting from Hurricane Ridge Lodge to 5850 ft. elevation at Mt. Angeles. You can see Port Angeles and the leeward side of the Olympic Mountains during this hike.
Hoh Rain Forest
It is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States. The annual precipitation of this region ranges from 141 to 165 inches. Spruce and Hemlock are dominating this rain forest. You can able to see trees that grows over 300 feet in height and approximately 23 ft in circumference. The most popular train in the Hoh rain forest is the Hall of Mosses. It is one of the easiest trail which starts near the visitor center. This trail will give you the feel of your local ecosystem.
Lake Quinault is a glacier-carved Lake. It is located on the south western region of the National Park. The lake is surrounded by giant trees like Douglas Fir, Hemlock, the western red cedar. It is lush green everywhere near the lake which makes this lake very beautiful. In the Quinault Lake region you can hike the beautiful trails, boating, fishing, etc. There is a 30 mile loop road where you can drive which takes you to the spectacular views. There is a high chance that you will able to see Elk, Bald Eagle, Black Tail Deer, Cougar, Black Bear on the way.
Cape Flattery is located on the northernmost point in the National Park as well as of United States. It is one of the most beautiful spot to view and photographed. To walk on the Cape Flattery trail, you have to buy a Indian Reservation permit which will cost $10 per vehicle. The permit remains valid for one year. The trail is easy and offer one of the most spectacular view when water hits the rock of Cape Flattery.
Lake Crescent is also a glacier carved lake. It is located 18 miles towards west of Port Angeles on Highway 101. The lake is 12 miles long. Lake’s crystal clear water attracts natural beauty enthusiasts. It is also an ideal place for boating, fishing, and hiking. There are number of trails in this area and the most popular ones are Pyramid Peak, Spruce Railroad, and the Barnes Creek trail which leads to Marymere Falls. If you follow this trial up to the north side of the lake, it will take you to the entrance of a very old railroad tunnel and also to the Devils Punch Bowl. It is a very popular swimming and diving area.
It is one of the most popular and most visited ocean beaches in this region. It is home for hundreds of marine species. It is also a good place for bird watching. Unlike other places in Olympic National Park, Kalaloch beach is open all year-round. It has 175 campsites but make sure you book it well in advance. Hiking in the Kalaloch beach is a great way to see this pristine beach but beware of the high tides.
In the Ruby beach you will find lots of rock formations, and hundreds of logs lying in shores. It is a beautiful place to visit and do photography. However, you have to be very careful about the high tides in this area.