I recently spent a summer working in Olympic National Park at Log Cabin Resort. Whenever I wasn’t working, I had the chance of exploring this park with some of my coworkers that turned into some of my best friends. I decided to put together a list of my favorite and must-see places!
Hike to Marymere Falls located in the parking lot at Lake Crescent Lodge. This is an easy hike, around a mile and a half, that takes you to one of the most popular waterfalls in the park. Since the trail is so convenient and easy to get to, there will most likely be a fair amount of people on it with you. The best time to go is first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The Hoh Rainforest is a location you can’t miss because it is where you get to visit the largest temperate rainforest within the United States. I recommend heading to the visitor center to learn about the forest and trails before you head out to explore. There will be a map of the area to show you where the Hall of Mosses Trail, The Hoh River Trail, and Spruce Nature Trail start. You better bring your camera because you may even get to see the elk that live in the forest too!
Enjoy a Day at Lake Crescent
SUP, kayak, canoe, hydrobike, take a swim or just relax by Lake Crescent. It is also a tradition to jump off the end of the dock right in front of Lake Crescent Lodge. Be aware, the water is always pretty cold so try and go on a hot and sunny day! There is also a cliff jumping area you can get to from Log Cabin Resort called Devil’s Punch Bowl where the water is over 300 feet deep.
Soak in the Sol Duc Hot Springs
Take a soak in the hot springs at Sol Duc Lodge. You can even hike to Sol Duc Falls, one of the areas most popular locations and end your day soaking at the resort.
Head to Port Angeles and take the scenic drive up to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. There are a number of beautiful hikes up there, but the Hurricane Hill Trail will even take you to a lookout point where you can see Canada, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles, and the surrounding glacier filled mountains.
Day Trip to Salt Creek Recreation Area
Have a night and camp out at Salt Creek Recreation Area. Make sure and look at a tide chart so you can plan accordingly to walk the sandy beach. You can also hike up the island and watch the waves roll in. Just make sure to get down before tide comes in! The surrounding area was once used as a camp for World War 2 and you can explore the old bunker just down the road.
Second Beach Buoy and Other Coast Line Beaches
Take a trip out to second beach and go see the Japanese Buoy that washed up on shore along with driftwood back on March 11th, 2011. There was a massive earthquake in Japan that caused a tsunami and all sorts of things washed up on shore of the western US coastline. All of the debris is cleared up now except for one giant buoy. Its also one of the best places for beach camping, again just watch the tide chart so you have no issues during the night.
There are many beaches as you head west and they are an awesome adventure since you first walk through the coastal rainforest before you end up out on the beach. Make sure and bring hiking shoes because it often involves climbing over driftwood before you get to the sand. Third beach even has a waterfall into the ocean! When tide is low, you will be able to see the sea anemones and star fish in tide pools! Remember not to pull a starfish off of the rock it is attached too because it can hurt their bodies.
On my last full day in the park, a friend and I drove out to Cape Flattery, which is the most northwest point you can possibly go in America. It is such a beautiful location with another short hike through the forest out to the cliff area. We took a bottle of champagne out to watch the sunset and take in the last sunset I would have in the area before I flew back to Kansas.
Olympic National Park is truly a sight to see with the unique coast line, moss covered and thick rainforest, glacier filled mountains and beautiful animals from deer to sea otters all around you. Be sure to pack out what you pack in to maintain this beautiful park.
Have you made it out to this National Park before? I would love to hear about your trip! Make sure and comment below 🙂