Beach walks in Olympic National Park
Views of the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

hikes in Olympic National Park

Region in Washington State, United States
Olympic National Park Trail Map

Covering 4000 square meters in the Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic National Park is the jewel of Washington State, concealing a rich cultural and natural heritage. This gorgeous corner of the United States boasts a wild coastline, lush temperate rainforests, and glacier-clad peaks that tower over it all. Hiking in Olympic National Park is a dream come true – come and discover this remarkable wilderness.

The Olympic National Park is most famous for the Hoh Rainforest, a dense temperature rainforest through which flows the mighty Hoh River. Hiking the Hoh River trail is an otherworldly experience, passing through trees covering in trailing mosses and lichens. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a fantasy world, with mythical creatures hiding behind every mossy rock.

Beyond the rainforest, the Olympic National Park offers yet more attractions, rising through subalpine forest to high ridges and grassy meadows, covered in wildflowers. Alternatively, head for the coast, where you’ll find wild beaches, dramatic rock formations, and crashing waves. It could take a lifetime to uncover all of the hidden secrets this remarkable national park has to offer. To help you decide where to start, we’ve put together a list of the best hikes in the Olympic National Park!

Types Of Hiking In Olympic National Park

There are so many different types of hiking in Olympic National Park, you certainly won’t have difficulty finding a trail to suit you! The unique position of this beautiful park means it has it all, from rocky coastline and lush forests to towering mountains. If you’re a keen adventurer looking for a challenge in some remarkable scenery, this is the place for you.

However, the Olympic National Park is also an ideal destination for families. Kids will love exploring the lush paths that snake through the Hoh Rainforest, or playing on the rock pools and beaches of the Pacific Coast. You’ll find trails to suit all fitness levels and abilities, and this is a wonderful way to introduce younger kids to the joys of backpacking.

Easy Hikes In Olympic National Park

Hole in the Walk Hike: This short, stunning trail is one of the best easy hikes in Olympic National Park. You’ll skirt the edge of the Pacific Ocean and make your way along the pebble beach to the impressive rock formations at the far end. For the best view out over the water, climb the short, steep forest trail up to the ridge, where you’ll have a fabulous outlook over the beach and ocean.

Family Hikes In Olympic National Park

Marymere Falls Hike: The short, easy route to Marymere Falls is a family favorite, and a great option for young kids. The lush temperate rainforest trail will transport your into another world, and the image of the falls cascading down into the gorge is a beautiful sight. The trail is steep in places, but very well maintained, with handrails and wooden bridges.

Day Hikes In Olympic National Park

High Divide Loop Hike: If you want to set out on a classic day hike in Olympic National Park, this popular trail is probably your best option. You’ll pass along a gorgeous continuous ridge, high above the treeline, offering some truly epic views over Mount Olympus. The steep climb is well worth the effort, and you’ll enjoy varied terrain, beginning in lush forest before rising to the stark, rocky ridge.

Challenging Hikes In Olympic National Park

Royal Basin Hike: Looking for one of the most stunning and challenging hikes in Olympic National Park? Look no further than this glorious trail, which follows Royal Creek all the way up to Royal Basin. It’s a steep climb, but well worth the effort, as you’ll pass by a gorgeous lake, a grassy plateau, and breathtaking views over the nearby mountains.

Greatest Hikes In Olympic National Park

Hoh River Trail Hike: The Hoh River Trail is, without doubt, one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, largely as a result of the lush, temperate Hoh Rainforest. Walking through this natural paradise is like stepping into a fairytale, with moss and lichen hanging from the trees, creating a mythical ambience. The route passes along the river until Five Mile Island campground, home to deer and elk, and an excellent place for wildlife watching.

Third Beach Hike: This easy hike will take you to the stunning Third Beach, where it’s easy to while away several hours exploring the sands and rocky outcrops. Don’t miss the lovely waterfall at the eastern edge of the beach. This is also a fun place for an easy family backpacking trip, and kids are sure to love picnicking on the beach!

Obstruction Point Hike: This undulating trail is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for a way to escape the crowds in the busy season. The landscape here is stark and otherworldly, with black rocks covered in lichen and stunning views over the valley.

Klahhane Ridge Hike: If you’re looking for a spectacular hike that won’t require too much energy, head up to Klahhane Ridge. This beautiful trail is manageable for most moderately fit hikers, and you’ll enjoy incredible views over Mount Olympus and the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Pick a clear day, and you’ll see the Olympic National Park at its best.

Ozette Triangle Hike: This quiet trail is the perfect way to get away from the crowds. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the Olympic National Park, this route will take you along a series of boardwalks to a beautiful rocky beach, best explored at low tide. You’ll enjoy fresh sea air and some remarkable rock formations, before heading back to the trailhead along a different route.

Lake Angeles Hike: The hike up to Lake Angeles requires a stiff climb, but the stunning vista at the top is well worth all the effort! The serene waters of Lake Angeles are surrounded by fortress-like mountains, and you’ll see an enigmatic island floating in the middle. The peaks and forests are perfectly reflected in the still waters, making this a wonderful place for snapping some stunning photos.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Olympic National Park?

It’s possible to get out on the trail throughout the year, but the best time to hike in Olympic National Park is between April and September, when you can expect the best weather, plenty of wildlife, and open trails and campgrounds throughout the park. Spring is a particularly lovely season to visit, with fewer hikers on the trails, and abundant wildlife, from black bears to Roosevelt elk. Higher-elevation trails and campgrounds start to open up from May onwards, although there’s always a chance of late snows on higher ground. July and August are the most popular months for visitors, with gorgeous wildflowers, good weather, and accessible hiking routes. However, you will need to compete with lots of other hikers for space on the popular trails.

To experience the park at its most spectacular, come in September, when you can expect remarkable fall colors in the trees, and the incredible spectacle of rutting elk (with their distinctive bugle call!). The snows typically hold off until October, but the crowds are thinner, meaning you’re more likely to have the trail to yourself. Although lower-elevation trails are accessible in winter, they are likely to be very wet, but you can try your hand at snowshoeing, skiing, sledding and snowboarding on higher ground. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, remember that the weather in the Olympic National Park can be very unpredictable, so come prepared!

Other Outdoor Activities In Olympic National Park

Although hiking is by far the preferred option, there are plenty of other outdoor activities in Olympic National Park! This beautiful natural spot is an ideal location for backpacking and camping trips, with lots of excellent routes and campgrounds. The coastal location of the park, together with its many rivers and lakes, provide an abundance of watersports, including boating, canoeing, kayaking and tidepooling. Explore local wildlife with park rangers, or gaze at the night sky on a specially organized stargazing expedition. In winter, you can always try your hand at snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding.

How To Plan A Trip To Olympic National Park

Is a hiking trip in the Olympic National Park on your bucket list? If not, it should be! To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together everything you need to know about planning a trip to Olympic National Park, covering the best places to visit, best accommodation options, and of course, all our favorite hiking trails! There’s never been a better time to explore this lush, natural marvel of Washington State.

Frequently-Asked-Questions About Olympic National Park

How many days do you need in Olympic National Park?

There are enough wonderful trails and activities on offer in Olympic National Park to keep keen adventurers busy for weeks on end! However, as most of us don’t have the luxury of that much time, we’d recommend staying for at least 3-5 days, allowing you to take in parts of the Hoh Rainforests, the beaches, and some mountain scenery before you leave.

Can you drive through Olympic National Park?

The vast majority of the Olympic National Park is intentionally road-less, as part of an endeavor to preserve the lush beauty and wilderness of this natural haven for wildlife. However, it is possible to drive along some roads that enter parts of the park, such as US Highway 101, which skirts the Olympic Peninsula and offers some excellent viewpoints and picnic spots.

Can you see the Northern Lights from Olympic National Park?

It’s very rare to see the Northern Lights at such a southerly latitude, but occasionally, they have been seen faintly from the Olympic National Park.

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The best hikes in Olympic National Park

Views of the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

01. Royal Basin
Difficulty

15.3mi 4,465ft 10-12.5h

This is an absolutely stunning hike, following Royal Creek up to the heavenly Royal Basin.… Read More

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Obstruction Point Hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

02. Obstruction Point
Difficulty

7.5mi 1,066ft 3-4h

A stunning alpine hike that is - surprisingly - not often done. You can choose… Read More

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9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Klahhane Ridge hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

03. Klahhane Ridge
Difficulty

7.3mi 1,709ft 3.5-4.5h

Beginning the hike from the incredibly high alpine-viewpoint that is Hurricane Ridge, the trail along… Read More

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Hole in the Wall

04. Hole in the Wall
Difficulty

3.3mi 75ft 1.5-2.5h

This is a jaw-dropping hike from the raw edge of the Pacific Ocean to a… Read More

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9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
View from the High Divide Loop Hike in Grand Tetons

05. High Divide Loop
Difficulty

17.5mi 3,927ft 9-12h

A classic full day hike along one of the most beautiful continuous ridgelines in the… Read More

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9.6Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views on the Ozette Triangle hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

06. Ozette Triangle Trail
Difficulty

9.8mi 400ft 4.5-6h

The Ozette Triangle is a classic loop hike that will bring you through the secluded… Read More

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9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park, Washington

07. Hoh River Trail
Difficulty

10.1mi 459ft 5.5-7h

The Hoh River area in Olympic National Park is an extremely popular place due to… Read More

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9.8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Third Beach hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

08. Third Beach
Difficulty

5.0mi 302ft 2.5-3.5h

This hike takes place on the rugged and powerful west coast of the Olympic Peninsula.… Read More

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9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Marymere Falls hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

09. Marymere Falls
Difficulty

2.0mi 230ft 1-1.5h

This hike through the stunning temperate rainforest to the mystical Marymere Falls is one for… Read More

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9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views from the Lake Angeles Hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

10. Lake Angeles
Difficulty

7.1mi 2,359ft 3-4.5h

The sustained incline as you hike up to Lake Angeles is admittedly dull at times.… Read More

User Rating

9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

Yes, there are more than 10

Olympic National Park is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Olympic National Park that you should take a look at as well

Hoh Rainforest Hike

11. Hoh Rainforest Hike
Difficulty

1.1mi 79ft 1-1.5h

Hoh Rainforest is one of the most-visited trails in Olympic National Park. You’ll wander through… Read More

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Lovers Lane Trail Map

12. Lovers Lane Trail
Difficulty

6.1mi 591ft 2-3h

Lovers Lane Trail is a loop hike that connects the Sol Duc Falls, the campground… Read More

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Mount Storm King

13. Mount Storm King
Difficulty

5.3mi 2,077ft 3-4h

Mount Storm King is a hard hike in Olympic National Park. This hike is the… Read More

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Lena Lake Trail

14. Lena Lake Trail
Difficulty

7.0mi 1,631ft 3.5-4.5h

Lena Lake is a moderate, heavily trafficked route in Olympic National Park. This trail is… Read More

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Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge

15. Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge
Difficulty

3.4mi 827ft 2-3 h

Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge is a perfect hike for beginners, families with kids, strollers,… Read More

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Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail

16. Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail
Difficulty

0.9mi 112ft 0.5h

The Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail is a very quick little interpretive loop that showcases the… Read More

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Ruby Beach Hike

17. Ruby Beach Hike
Difficulty

1.0mi 49ft 0.5 h

Washington has no shortage of incredible beaches, and the endless coastline is always a treat… Read More

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Second Beach Hike

18. Second Beach Hike
Difficulty

2.1mi 279ft 1h

Washington has no shortage of incredible beaches, and the endless coastline is always a wonder… Read More

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Rialto Beach Trail

19. Rialto Beach Trail
Difficulty

13.4mi 2,612ft 4-5 h

Washington is lined with incredible beaches, and the wild coastline is always a treat to… Read More

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Sol Duc Falls Trail

20. Sol Duc Falls Trail
Difficulty

1.6mi 226ft 1 h

Sol Duc Falls Trail is a heavily trafficked waterfall hike in Olympic National Park that… Read More

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Olympic Hot Springs Trail Map

21. Olympic Hot Springs Trail
Difficulty

21.2mi 3,166ft 8.5-12h

The Olympic Hot Springs Trail is 21.2mi long, but don’t write it off… Read More

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Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

22. Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail
Difficulty

2.4mi 144ft 1 h

The hike on Spruce Railroad Trail to the Devil’s Punchbowl is a wonderful trip, and… Read More

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Shi Shi Beach Trail

23. Shi Shi Beach Trail
Difficulty

8.8mi 561ft 3-4 h

Shi Shi is one of the world’s premier wilderness beaches. This moderate hike follows a… Read More

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