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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 61 to 73 of 73
      Open details for Slab Camp Trail

      Slab Camp Trail

      8.9 km
      416 m

      Slab Camp Trail is a moderate hike in Olympic National Forest that trails through the forest along the river. This hike allows dogs on leash and requires no permits or passes. It’s just under 9.0 km in length and involves 416 m of elevation gain, making it suitable for strong beginners and better.

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      Open details for Handy Camp via Upper Dungeness Trail

      Handy Camp via Upper Dungeness Trail

      10.5 km
      229 m

      Handy Camp via Upper Dungeness Trail is a common choice for half-day hikers and new backpackers alike due to its moderate difficulty and its pretty scenery. You’ll walk through the forest alongside the idyllic Dungeness River for over 10km, gaining manageable elevation along the way. This trail is generally in good condition and is easy to follow.

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      Open details for Deer Ridge Trail

      Deer Ridge Trail

      14.8 km
      900 m

      Deer Ridge Trail is a hard hike packing 900 m of elevation gain into a 14.8 km trail. This hike is generally easy to follow and the wildflowers in summer are beautiful. Although this trail begins in Olympic National Forest, it ends in Olympic National Park, so dogs are not allowed on the trail unless you turn around at the park boundary. The access road has some larger potholes, so drive carefully.

      We recommend bringing poles to help on steep sections.

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      Open details for Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail

      Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail

      19.0 km
      407 m

      The Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail is a 19.0 km hiking trail in Olympic National Park that is moderately difficult and lightly trafficked. This hike is mostly a walk in the woods with peekaboo views of the river, making it very laid-back. Besides some elevation gain at the start, it’s a flatter, more gradual route.

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      Open details for Mount Washington Hike

      Mount Washington Hike

      6.6 km
      979 m

      The Mount Washington hike is a hard hike in Olympic National Park that sees moderate traffic. Don’t be fooled by the light mileage, this is a challenging trek with lots of steep sections and sometimes slippery footing. You’ll also want to download a GPS route to avoid losing the trail, which could prove treacherous on some sections.

      We recommend hiking this trail on a dry day for the best footing and bringing poles.

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      Open details for Elk Mountain Trail Loop

      Elk Mountain Trail Loop

      6.9 km
      418 m

      The Elk Mountain Trail is a loop hike that passes under Obstruction Peak, up to Elk Mountain, and back through the lower valley. This 6.9 km hike is moderately difficult, with a few steep sections but nothing that the novice hiker can’t handle. You can hike either way, but most hikers prefer going clockwise.

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      Open details for Heather Park and Mount Angeles via Lake Angeles Trail

      Heather Park and Mount Angeles via Lake Angeles Trail

      Very Hard
      25.4 km
      1,882 m

      Heather Park and Mount Angeles via Lake Angeles Trail is a 25.4 km hike with a hefty 1,882 m elevation gain. This hard trail can be completed as either a day hike or a backpacking trip, and those planning on doing it in a day should come prepared! With some sections of iffy trail, it’s worth carefully deciding which way to go and potentially only hiking one side of the loop.

      Poles are helpful to have on this hike.

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      Open details for Falls View Canyon Trail

      Falls View Canyon Trail

      2.9 km
      106 m

      The Falls View Canyon Trail is a short trail in Olympic National Park near Highway 101. This hike follows the Big Quilcene River to a short flowing waterfall. It may seem very easy in terms of distance and elevation gain, but there are steep sections with poor, eroded footing. We don’t recommend this trail for extremely young children or those who feel they might struggle with these challenges.

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      Open details for Kalaloch to Browns Point Trail

      Kalaloch to Browns Point Trail

      8.7 km
      32 m

      The Kalaloch to Browns Point Trail is a beautiful beach walk in Olympic National Park that is 8.7 km long and requires only 32 m of elevation gain, making it an easy trek. This hike is favored for its beautiful views, occasional humpback sightings, and its Tree of Life, a big tree suspended over an eroded section of shore. There is also a campsite on the beach.

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      Open details for Pyramid Mountain Trail

      Pyramid Mountain Trail

      10.6 km
      758 m

      Pyramid Mountain Trail is a hike in Olympic National Forest that is moderately trafficked and just over 10.0 km long. This hike is hard but very fun, with fantastic views at the roomy summit and a landslide to cross that is unnerving to some but thrilling to others. If you’re quite scared of heights, this might not be the one for you, but if you can get across the landslide portion you’ll love the reward.

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      Open details for Dosewallips River Road Trail

      Dosewallips River Road Trail

      20.3 km
      560 m

      Dosewallips River Road Trail is a moderately trafficked hike that begins in Olympic National Forest and ends in Olympic National Park. This hike is very pretty and although it’s quite long, the elevation gain is very gradual and only a couple of sections feel steep. The campground at the end of the trail is excellent.

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      Open details for Lake Constance Trail

      Lake Constance Trail

      Very Hard
      23.3 km
      1,493 m

      Lake Constance Trail is no small feat. In fact, it’s a huge one, often regarded as the hardest hike in the Olympics. This 23.3 km trail requires 1,493 m of elevation gain, but the devil is in the details—parts of this route are very, very steep and dangerous, and there is little respite from the grind. Some hikers can do it in a (long) day, but most adventurers backpack. Come prepared for the adventure of a lifetime!

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      Open details for Spruce Nature Trail

      Spruce Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      2.3 km
      5 m

      The Spruce Nature Trail is an easy trail in Olympic National Park that sees heavy traffic. It’s nestled next to the Hoh River in the much-visited Hoh Rainforest, a great example of coastal temperate rainforest in Washington. This hike is simple but can be combined with other intersecting trails to extend your fun if you’d like.

      We recommend visiting the Hoh Rainforest in off-peak hours to avoid needing to line up for parking.

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