Welcome to our post of images, video and facts describing the magnificent Olympic National Park in Washington State.
A trip to Olympic National Park WA is the trip of a lifetime – the kind of experience that leaves you with memorable moments etched on your mind; memories that will keep tugging at your heartstrings forever. And no matter how many times you return, you will never have enough of the incredible diversity and deep wilderness found here.
Olympic National Park Facts
- Location : Washington State, United States
- Natural Environment : Coastline, Glaciated mountains, Temperate rainforest
- Co-ordinates : 47°58′10″N 123°29′55″W
- Established in 1938
- 3 million visitor numbers per annum
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
Source : 58NationalParks
Covering almost a million acres of the Olympic Peninsula, Washingtons Olympic National Park invites folks to explore the beautiful expanse of an internationally recognized wilderness.
A visit to Olympic is like traversing several parks in one due to the different ecosystems which protect a rich cultural and natural history.
Ninety five percent of the park is back-country that spans habitats ranging from rugged Pacific coastline, to old-growth forests, to alpine grassland and glacier-capped peaks. Because of the park’s amazing scenery and its virtually unspoiled state, the United Nation’s designated it as both an international biosphere reserve as well as a World Heritage Site.
As wild as it is, Olympic National Park is surprisingly accessible, and this is evidenced by the three million tourists who come to visit it annually. Some choose to explore the park by taking advantage of its wonderful hiking opportunities, but many choose to traverse by car.
Source : Chad Poindexter
The park has a total of 16 campsites maintained by the National Park Service which can accommodate recreational vehicles as well as offering amenities such picnic tables, running water and fire pits. There are also several lodges spanning the peninsula.
Inside the park, glacier-clad peaks beautifully interspersed with large swathes of alpine meadows are skirted by dense forests, among which is probably the aptest example of intact temperate rainforest northwest of the Pacific.
The Washington Rainforests
The Hoh and Quinault Rainforests receive an annual average precipitation of about 380cm, easily making this one of the wettest places in continental United States. However, contrary to typical rainforests, the temperate rainforests here are mostly dominated by coniferous trees such as Sitka Spruce, Coast Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock.
Source : At Home In Wild Spaces
The Olympic Mountains
At the center of the park are the Olympic Mountains that are the result of collision between plates supporting the Pacific Ocean floor and the one carrying the North American continent. The current profiles of the mountains are as a result of sculpting by glaciers and streams.
The peak of Mount Olympus dominates the western side of the range, rising to a height of 2,428 meters. It has several glaciers, the largest being Hoh Glacier which is almost 5 kilometers in length. In the east, the tallest summit is Mount Deception which rises to 2,374 meters. Olympic is the lowest latitude on earth where glaciers develop at a relatively low elevation.
The Olympic Park Coastline
Eleven major rivers drain the Olympic mountains, providing some of the best habitats for anadromous fish in the United States. The park also includes 100 kilometers of spectacular coastline, the longest coast that is undeveloped in the conterminous United States.
This stunning coast provides some of the nation’s wildest and most exciting beaches, marked with tide pools and sea stacks. It is an area that is rich in native and indigenous flora and fauna, including the marbled murrelet, bull trout and the endangered northern spotted owl.
The Olympic Park Wildlife
The isolated nature of Olympic National Park has allowed endemic wildlife to thrive. Sizable populations of cougars, bobcats, black bears and Black-tailed deer live in the park.
It is also home to mountain goats, though they are not native as they were accidentally introduced in the 1920s. The subspecies of trout, unique varieties of plants, the indigenous wildlife and the unique fur coloration of the mammals are signs of a separate course of evolution.
You can get wonderful views of the park from the Hurricane Ridge viewpoint. Various picnic areas and trail heads lie along the road that’s cuts west from the Hurricane Ridge visitor center. There is also a paved trail known as the Hurricane ridge trail which is loved by visitors, and it stretches for a distance of about 1.6 miles. Even as late as July, you can still find snow on the trails.
Olympic Park Trip Ideas
If you are planning to stay in Olympic National Park Washington State for at least a couple of days, try to at least take a walk through the subalpine meadows at Hurricane Ridge.
The scenery and peaks are worth the hike. Also try to explore the area around Lake Crescent and if you are feeling adventurous enough, finish by taking a plunge at Sol Duc Hot Springs.
Other options worth a visit are the drive up to the Hoh Rainforest. Try out its nature trails before going west for the a relaxing walk along the Pacific beaches and a paddle in the tidal rock pools.
Olympic National Park Maps PDF
Click the links to view and download the Olympic National Park Maps