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    Hikes in Olympia, Washington

    Hikes in Olympic National Park

    Region in Washington State, United States

    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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    Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

    Showing 21 to 40 of 73
      Open details for Lena Lake Trail

      Lena Lake Trail

      11.3 km
      497 m

      Lena Lake is a moderate, heavily trafficked route in Olympic National Park. This trail is suitable for many ability levels and ages, and it takes you to a beautiful lake tucked into the forest. It is the perfect place for lunch or an afternoon with friends and family. Old-growth fir trees, Lena Creek, waterfalls, and wildlife make this trail special.

      This can be a very wet trail despite best efforts by trail crews to divert water flow, so be prepared when it comes to your footwear.

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      Open details for Quinault River Pony Bridge Trail

      Quinault River Pony Bridge Trail

      7.7 km
      355 m

      For a different experience than the many mountain panoramas out there, try the Quinault River Pony Bridge Trail. This moderate hike leads to an impressive view into the river gorge from atop the bridge. It’s a top-notch picnic lunch spot and there’s nothing too strenuous or difficult required in reaching it.

      This trail is heavily trafficked, making a midweek or early morning visit a good idea if possible.

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      Open details for Second Beach Hike

      Second Beach Hike

      Very Easy
      3.4 km
      85 m

      Washington has no shortage of incredible beaches, and the endless coastline is always a wonder to explore. Second Beach is an example of the scenery that makes the Pacific Northwest what it is, from dramatic sea to salty beaches strewn with driftwood and peculiar rock formations jutting out of the water to fascinating tide pools. The hike is less than 4.0 km long and easy enough for most visitors to enjoy.

      Second Beach tends to be somewhat busy, so try visiting in the mornings or midweek if possible. Additionally, plan to arrive as the tide goes out.

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      Open details for Lake of the Angels via Putvin Trail

      Lake of the Angels via Putvin Trail

      12.6 km
      1,168 m

      The Lake of the Angels is truly heavenly, but the trail to get there is anything but. If you’re ready for a dose of hard work and a bit of a precarious ascent, this lake is such a fantastic place to celebrate your climb. It’s serene, beautiful, and not too busy. In fact, it’s tucked into the Valley of Heaven, fittingly so. Note that there is a section of hands-on climbing on this hike where a fall could be fatal. There is a rope to assist you, but do not attempt this hike if this level of exposure is too much for you.

      We recommend planning this hike for a dry, clear day to lessen any risk of slipping. Poles will be a huge help.

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      Open details for Hoh Rainforest Loop

      Hoh Rainforest Loop

      Very Easy
      0.3 km
      1 m

      The Hoh Rainforest is one of the most visited forests in Olympic National Park. Walk through lush temperate rainforest on an easy, family-friendly trail. The trail presents no real challenge and is conveniently located near a visitor center and a campground. This short loop stays close to the visitor center. If you want a longer walk in the area, try the Hoh Rainforest Hike.

      Although this trail gets busy, we recommend making the trip if you’re in the park. If you can, visiting on a weekday offers the best chance of a quieter trail.

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      Open details for Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail

      Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      1.4 km
      34 m

      The Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail is a very quick little interpretive loop that showcases the temperate rainforest that dominated the Pacific Northwest. This half-mile loop sees lots of visitors, but it also sees lots of rain. Bring your rain gear and have a nice splash in the puddles with the kids if you’re having a family outing—or just take a splash by yourself!

      Just a few steps northeast of the loop is a campground.

      This trail is easy to follow and well-kept. The footing is still natural rather than paved, so strollers may have a difficult time.

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      Open details for Lake Crescent via Spruce Railroad Trail

      Lake Crescent via Spruce Railroad Trail

      18.0 km
      125 m

      The hike on Spruce Railroad Trail alongside Lake Crescent is a wonderful trip that’s perfect for families with its opportunities to swim and explore old railway tunnels. This hike follows part of the expansive Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike and hike route across the northern Olympic Peninsula. You’ll pass a great campsite, the gorgeous Devil’s Punchbowl, and an old railway tunnel before turning around at Ovington.

      This hike is pleasant year-round, but it’s our favorite in the summertime when you can stop into the punchbowl for a swim.

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      Open details for Cape Alava Trail

      Cape Alava Trail

      11.1 km
      177 m

      Cape Alava Trail is a wonderful hike with two distinct sections: a rainforest hike and a classic PNW beach walk. This hike is just over 9.7 km in length and moderate, but it’s more suitable for young kids and total beginners if you just do the forest section.

      Note that this hike is on the Ozette Indian Reservation. The trail is subject to closure at the discretion of the Ozette community, so please check on its status before planning your trip.

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      Open details for Staircase Rapids Loop

      Staircase Rapids Loop

      Very Easy
      3.4 km
      65 m

      Staircase Rapids is an easy 3.4 km hike that involves little elevation gain, making it suitable for beginners and families. This hike is a beautiful walk in the woods following the river, making for an incredibly peaceful time. If it’s a hot day, the river is great to cool off in.

      You can hike this loop either way and the experience is not particularly different either way.

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      Open details for Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop

      Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop

      Very Easy
      4.7 km
      32 m

      The Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop is a heavily trafficked loop trail in Olympic National Park that is suitable for beginners. This hike is popular for its abundance of coastal temperate rainforest flora and fauna, including the verdant Hall of Mosses.

      The line to get into this part of the park can get long, so try to arrive before 10 AM.

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      Open details for Upper Lena Lake Trail

      Upper Lena Lake Trail

      20.6 km
      1,405 m

      Upper Lena Lake is a hard moderately trafficked route in Olympic National Park. This route takes you to a beautiful lake tucked into the forest—the perfect place for lunch or an afternoon with friends and family. From there, you’ll continue up a rugged, steep path to Upper Lena Lake. The first half is easy and the second half will get you working.

      This can be a very wet trail despite best efforts by trail crews to divert water flow, so be prepared when it comes to your footwear.

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      Open details for Murhut Falls Trail

      Murhut Falls Trail

      2.3 km
      120 m

      Murhut Falls Trail is an easy hike in Olympic National Park that is ideal for families. You’ll hike on a well-maintained trail with mild elevation gain to a waterfall in a mossy forest. The road to the trailhead is in sketchy condition, so take a capable vehicle if you have one. There are some slippery sections where keeping an eye on young kids is recommended.

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      Open details for Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail

      Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail

      Very Easy
      24.0 km
      480 m

      Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail takes you around all of Wynoochee Lake in 24.0 km on a moderate trail. You can do the full loop, which can sometimes be overgrown and hard to follow. The good news is that you can do a section of this hike as an out and back to keep it more simple if you prefer. Enjoy mature hemlock forest carpeted with moss. This trail is entirely within the national forest, so dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.

      There will likely be boaters and jet skiers enjoying the lake, and you can jump in for a swim, too.

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      Open details for Third Beach Hike

      Third Beach Hike

      24.6 km
      611 m

      Third Beach is one of Washington’s many gorgeous beaches, providing a top-notch Pacific Northwest coastal experience. This hike leads you along the whole beach down to the Hoh River with plenty of camping sites on the way, but you can certainly shorten your trip and hike an out-and-back route if the entire beach is too much.

      There are sections on this hike where you’ll need to ascend and descend via rope, so we don’t recommend it for young kids. Bring some light gloves for the rope if you have them.

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      Open details for Humes Ranch Loop Trail

      Humes Ranch Loop Trail

      9.5 km
      314 m

      Humes Ranch Loop Trail is a heavily trafficked loop hike in Olympic National Park. This trail is very beautiful and there are lots of camping spots along the way. While the marked trail itself is under 10km long, washout on the access road has made it necessary to begin from Madison Falls, making this a much longer trek. Until this is fixed (if ever), come prepared for extra hiking.

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      Open details for West Elwha River Trail

      West Elwha River Trail

      9.8 km
      379 m

      The West Elwha River Trail is a lovely moderate walk alongside the river to the Altair Campground and back. This hike used to begin from the Olympic Hot Springs Road, but a severe washout has closed the road indefinitely. This guide uses the access at Herrick Road as the starting and ending point for the hike, making Altair Campground your turnaround point.

      Beginners and active children will be able to enjoy this trail.

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      Open details for Grand Pass Trail

      Grand Pass Trail

      Very Hard
      22.5 km
      1,789 m

      Grand Pass Trail is a beast of a day hike, with over 22.0 km to cover across varied, steep terrain. This is a spectacular, hard day trip or a gorgeous backpacking adventure. Know that many day hikers complete a portion of this trail, often turning back before the steep descent (and subsequent ascent) into the valley at the end of the trail. This still allows you to enjoy the lakes dotted alongside the route and the changing terrain and views that make this trail enjoyable.

      Come prepared with lots of water, food, and good boots and poles.

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      Open details for Deer Lake Trail

      Deer Lake Trail

      10.1 km
      590 m

      Deer Lake Trail is a relaxed trip to a pretty lake in the forest of Olympic National Park. This hike is moderate, with just over 10.0 km of distance and just under 600 m of elevation gain required. It’s suitable for families with active children and also frequented by backpackers bound for the camping spots on the lake.

      The trail is rocky and rooty, so good boots are very helpful.

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      Open details for Blue Mountain Trail

      Blue Mountain Trail

      Very Easy
      0.6 km
      40 m

      Blue Mountain Trail is a 0.6 km moderately trafficked loop frequented for its very easy nature and great views. You’ll have a wonderful vantage point over the Olympics without needing to trek far or climb nearly at all. This trail is suitable for beginners and small children and makes a nice cooldown hike after a longer adventure in the area.

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      Open details for Flapjack Lakes Trail

      Flapjack Lakes Trail

      25.4 km
      1,182 m

      Flapjack Lakes Trail is a hard 25.4 km hike in Olympic National Park that offers the chance to relax or camp among two pretty alpine lakes. This trail is long, but it doesn’t offer technical challenges, so it’s suitable for intermediate hikers. There are lots of spur trails to nice viewpoints, and the lakes themselves are easy on the eyes.

      Hikers report that some parts of the trail are narrow and steep, but they’re passable for most. Download your GPS route before this hike to help with junctions covered by downed trees.

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