Olympic National Park is the Olympic Peninsula’s largest natural attraction. Originally established as Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897 it was officially signed into the National Park Service in 1938. Today Olympic National Park is three parks in one. With temperate rainforests, towering mountains, and jagged coasts, there are adventures for every age within its boundaries. In honor of the park’s 75th anniversary, here are a few top attractions to see in the park.
Hurricane Ridge– A short 17 mile drive from Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is one of Olympic National Park’s most awe-inspiring and popular destinations. Located in the Olympic Mountains, its snow-covered trails attract snowshoers and cross country skiers in the winter. During the brief summer season mountain meadows are covered in bright colored wildflowers. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a great place to start a tour of the park. Rangers can share information about current program schedules, road conditions, weather, and more. There are lots of ways to get kids and teens involved with the park, including internships, volunteer opportunities, the Junior Rangers and the Jr. Ocean Steward program. Junior Ranger Booklets can be picked up at visitor centers throughout Olympic National Park.
Hoh Rainforest– Hikers can search for every shade of green known to man in the Hoh Rainforest. This temperate rainforest is one of the few found in the Northern Hemisphere. Popular day hikes include the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature Trail. Ranger-guided interpretive hikes are available. These short, easy to moderate hikes are great ways to learn about the park’s native wildlife and plants. The latest issue of The Bugler, Olympic National Park’s newspaper, should have the current schedule of ranger-led programs.
Kalaloch and Ruby Beach– Kalaloch (pronounced Klay-lock) beaches stretch along the western edge of the Olympic Peninsula. From rocky cliffs to sandy shores, wild coastlines to protected marine sanctuaries, Kalaloch is an example of the diversity found on Olympic National Park’s coasts. There’s even a beach that shimmers like precious stones. Located at the northern end of Kalaloch, Ruby Beach is made up of small stones that can appear deep red. Another area attraction is the spectacular winter storms that appear off this part of the Pacific coast. Any time of year, hikers should be aware of the tides; charts are available at Kalaloch Information Center. Campgrounds and cabins are available year round.
These are just a few of Olympic National Park’s destinations. To learn more about the park including current conditions, mileage chart, and lodging options click HERE.