Hiking and Backpacking In Olympic National Park
With more than 922,000 acres, most of it offically designated wilderness, it's not hard to find someplace to go for a hike in Olympic National Park.
You can walk on the beach, walk through a rain forest, or hike up onto the roof of the park where you'll find glaciers and crags.
Keeping in mind the weather in Olympic, be sure to pack wisely, even if you're going out only for the morning or afternoon. Good rain gear is a must, and though it's more than a little moist in the park, water should be in your pack, too.
Here's a glance at some of the shorter hikes in the park:
Temperate Rain Forest Hikes
Hoh Rain Forest
* The Mini Trail is a paved 0.1 mile loop trail near the Visitor Center.
* Hall of Mosses Trail is a 0.8 mile loop trail beginning near the Visitor Center.
* Spruce Nature Trail is a 1.2 mile loop trail beginning near the Visitor Center.
Queets Rain Forest
* Sam's River Loop is a flat 2.8 mile trail through different ages of temperate rain forest. Watch for damage from severe winter storms.
Quinault Rain Forest
* Maple Glade Trail is a 0.5 mile loop beginning at the bridge next to the Quinault River Ranger Station.
* Cascading Terraces Trail is a 1.0 mile loop trail beginning at Graves Creek campground. NOTE: Graves Creek Road was damaged in 2007 adding an additional 4.5 mile hike.
* Irely Lake Trail is a 1.2 mile trail beginning 0.7 miles before the North Fork campground entrance.
* Quinault Big Cedar Trail is a 0.2 mile trail gaining 80 feet in elevation. The trailhead has minimal parking and is located 2.0 miles up the North Shore Road across from the Lake
* Kestner Homestead Trail is a selfguided 1.3 mile loop trail starting at the Quinault Ranger Station.
* Meadow Loop Trails begin from the parking lot. There are several 0.25 to 0.5 mile trails.
* Hurricane Hill is 1.6 miles one way and begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. The rough paved trail gains about 700 feet in elevation, giving panoramic views. (Wheelchair accessible first 0.5 miles only.)
* Klahhane Ridge begins near the Visitor Center. The first 2.8 miles brings you to a junction with the Switchback Trail. You may continue or return to the Visitor Center.
* Deer Park Rainshadow Loop: self-guided 0.5 mile loop to summit of Blue Mountain. Starts at the end of Deer Park Road, a steep, one-lane gravel road not suitable for RVs or trailers.
Lowland Forest Hikes
* Ancient Groves Nature Trail: 0.6 mile loop beginning 9 miles up Sol Duc Road.
* Sol Duc Falls is 0.8 miles one way from the end of the Sol Duc Road.
* Lover’s Lane Loop is a 5.8 mile loop connecting Sol Duc campground, Sol Duc Falls and the Resort.
* Mink Lake Trail: 2.6 miles one way from Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
* Moments in Time Nature Trail: a flat 0.6 mile loop trail beginning at Lake Crescent Lodge.
* Marymere Falls is 0.9 miles one way from Storm King Ranger Station. (The first 0.5 mile is accessible.)
* Mount Storm King Trail: 2.1 miles one way from turnoff on Marymere Falls Trail. It climbs 2,100 feet!
* Pyramid Peak Trail is 3.5 miles one way and begins near the North Shore Picnic Area. It climbs 2,350 feet!
* Spruce Railroad Trail is 4.0 miles one way and begins near the North Shore Picnic Area or the east side of the lake. It is a designated bike trail.
Heart O’ the Hills
* Heart O'the Forest Trail is 2.3 miles one way and starts at Loop E in Heart O’ the Hills campground.
Park Visitor Center
* Peabody Creek Trail is a 0.5 mile loop trail beginning in the Visitor Center parking area.
* Living Forest Trail is a 0.4 mile loop trail behind the Visitor Center
* Madison Falls Trail is a paved 0.1 mile one way trail to a waterfall; starts at the Elwha Entrance Station.
* Cascade Rock Trail: a steep 2.1 mile one way forest hike, or take the level 0.6 mile loop. Both begin behind the picnic shelter in Elwha campground.
* Upper Lake Mills Trail is a steep 0.4 mile one way trail from 4 miles up the Whiskey Bend Road. It descends 400 feet to the Elwha River.
* West Lake Mills Trail is 1.9 miles one way and begins at the Lake Mills boat launch parking area.
* West Elwha Trail is 3.0 miles one way in old-growth forest near the river; starts at Altair Campground.
* Geyser Valley Loop is a 6.0 mile loop trail beginning at the end of the Whiskey Bend Road. The trail can be broken down into shorter loops.
* Shady Lane Nature Trail is 0.9 miles one way and begins across the bridge from the ranger station.
* Staircase Rapids Loop Trail has a bridge out, but two 0.9-mile trails explore both banks of the river from near the ranger station.
Be aware of tides when hiking.
* Cape Alava Trail is 3.3 miles one way mostly on boardwalk from near the ranger station to the coast.
* Sand Point Trail is 2.8 miles one way mostly on boardwalk from near the ranger station to the coast.
A 2.9 mile beach walk connects the two trails making a 9.0 mile loop
Mora – La Push
* Rialto Beach: 1.5 mile hike to arch and tidepools at Hole-in-the-Wall. Use caution if continuing north.
* Second Beach: 0.7 mile hike to tidepools and seastacks from La Push Road, 14 miles west of Highway 101.
* Third Beach Trail is a 1.4 mile hike to a sandy beach from La Push Road, 12 miles west of Highway 101.
* James Pond is a 0.3 mile loop to a shallow beaver pond.
Backpacking In Olympic
There are plenty of opportunities to walk into the backcountry of Olympic National Park. The place to begin that trip is on the park's Wilderness Trip Planner webpage. There you'll find details on getting permits, backcountry regulations, food storage, tides, and winter travel, just to name some of the pointers.
Another good page to check out is on Wilderness Safety, which offers some tips on dealing with wildlife in the backcountry, coping with the weather, and staying safe.
For some information on specific trails, check out the following park pages: