Olympic Peninsula Hiking

Rainforests, glaciers, beaches and more.

The Olympic Peninsula is home to a national park, national forest and a series of state parks that make up the majority of the land. Combine that with the incredible diversity and beauty of this region and you have one of the best places to hike in Washington, if not the country.

This page is dedicated to introducing you to hiking in the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.  Click any section below to get started.

Top Day Hikes

Backpacking

Useful Links

Popular Areas of Olympic National Park

Sol Duc

The Sol Duc River valley sits near the northwestern side of Olympic National Park.  Perhaps most famous for the hot springs in the area Sol Duc is a great spot for both short day hikes as well as backpacking.  Sol Duc has a large camp site accessable by car. 

Hoh River

The distinctive milky appearance of the Hoh river comes from the glacier ground rock at the source.  Home to one of the two large visitor centers in Olympic National Park the area boasts two of the best backpacking trips in the area and a great mini hike (.8 miles) called the Hall of Mosses.  

Hurricane Ridge

One of the two large vistor centers in Olympic National Park is located at Hurricane Ridge.  The peak at Hurricane Ridge is one of the only places you are able to see Mt. Olympus just by driving.  Open in the winter months (on the weekend) Hurricane ridge is a great place for hiking and backpacking year round, with numerous trails and routes nearby.

Beach / Coast

Offering a number of camp sites and an amazing set of hikes the coastal strip of Olympic national park runs along a large part of the western coast of the peninsula.  Due to the location this offers year-round low elevation hiking options.  The beach side camp sites also serve as a great home base for access to amazing coastal hikes. 

Staircase

On the south eastern side of the park is Staircase.  The camp site offers a large number of spaces and makes an excelent starting point for some of the best mountain hikes in the park.

Quinalt

The Lake Quinault area  is a great place for those interested in relatively short hikes, including a fantastic route along the lake shore.  There is a lodge on the lake as well for a very scenic dining experience.  Driving a bit past the lake, however, you gain access to one of the best backpacking routes (Enchanted Valley) as well as one of the most scenic summits (Colonel Bob) in the entire park.

Deer Park

You won't find any visitor centers in the area but you will find some fantastic hikes and overnight backpacking trips that have significant elevation gain.  Royal Basin is one of the more popular in the area but there are a number of targets for a local peakbagger.

Popular Hikes

Easy to moderate hikes that are well traveled and maintained.  These are some of the most popular hikes in the Olympics

Hurricane Hill

Hurricane hill is a 3.2 mile (1.6 out and back) that starts at the high elevation Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  This ridgeline hike will keep you in sight of the interior of the Olympic mountain range.  During the winter the visitor center is open on the weekends and the trail is well groomed for snowshoers and cross country skiiers.

Lena Lake

This relatively easy hike is one of the most popular on the eastern side of the peninsula.  For your 6.7 mile round trip with a slight but steady climb you're rewarded with nice views of the scenic Lena Lake.  Given the low elevation it's also a popular winter hike as there is rarely much snow on the ground.

Hole in the Wall

Hole-In-The-Wall is a family friendly hike for those on the west coast of the peninsula.  Tide pools, sea stacks and a lot of driftwood await you on what is basically a long walk on the beach.  The coastal location makes this hike easily accessible year round.  If you're headed this way, though, make sure you get an idea of the timing of the tides as you could get stuck on one side

Backpacking

Enchanted Valley

A low elevation hike 14 miles to a mountain chalet nestled inside an unimaginably beautiful valley.  One of the most accessible and scenic backpacking treks the Olympic National Park has to offer.  Plan on spending at least a few nights out here.  The slow ascent makes for a relatively easy hike but spending day 2 or 3 heading up to Anderson Glacier makes the trip truly remarkable.

While there are no reservations required for this trip try to come early as the best sites fill up fast.  Bear canisters (not rope, not bags) are required in this part of the park as well.  If you don't have one they can be rented at the Quinault Ranger station.  Black bears are everywhere along the Quinalt river and while they aren't normally a threat to humans, they will absolutely try to take your food.

Hoh River Trail

17 miles of dense rainforest along a milky-blue river up to the largest glacier in the Olympics.  The first 12 miles are relatively flat and are followed by a 3,700 elevation gain over the next 5. Oh and the last half mile to the glacier overlook is about 700 feet just on its own.  Be prepared some remarkable views at the top and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy this trail.

Reservations are required for the camps along the last half of the trail.  Bear wires and pit toilets are provided at almost every camp along the river.  Expect plenty of company during the summer months as this is a very popular trail.

High Divide Loop

The High Divide Loop is one of the most continuously scenic hikes in the park.  This trail takes you through everything from dense rainforest to alpine lakes.  Expect a very diverse and difficult hike ahead of you.  During the early season expect to see plenty of snow as the trail is over 5,000 ft for several miles of the trail.

Half the campsites in the area are reservable so don't take your chances, save your spot ahead of time!  Bear canisters are required in this area so expect to have one ready or to pick one up at the ranger station before you head out.  They can be rented in Port Angeles ahead of time.

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