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9 (STUNNING) Hikes in Olympic National Park | An Expert Guide 2021

If you’re looking for the best hikes in Olympic National Park you’ve come to the right place. I’ve hiked nearly every trail in the park!

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olympic national park washington
Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

If you’re looking for the best hikes in Olympic National Park you’ve come to the right place. I hiked nearly every trail in the park and even created an award-winning film on the park (see below).

Olympic National Park is the most diverse national park in America, hands down. This park has everything from lowland forests, glaciated mountain ranges, pristine alpine lakes, sparkling rivers, temperate rain forests (the largest in North America), iconic wildlife, and over 50 miles of rugged wilderness coastline!

Olympic is home to some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful hikes on the planet! The park is so incredible that we ranked it #1 in our national park rankings this past year (as featured on The Weather Channel).

WATCH: Why we, Jim (left) & Will (right), ranked Olympic National Park the best in America

About My Hikes in Olympic National Park

My brother Jim and I first visited Olympic National Park back in 2014 along with a good friend to set about creating a film that captured the park’s essence. This was actually the beginning of our More Than Just Parks series.

We spent three weeks living in the park, hiking nearly every major trail and exploring every corner of the park. It was magical.

In fact, I loved the park so much that I returned a few years later and proposed to my wife on top of Hurricane Ridge. The next time my brother and I appeared on the The Weather Channel we did a segment on the park featuring the above photo.

Ready to start planning? Let’s go!

Olympic National Park Hiking Tips

Practice Leave No Trace
You + Sunscreen = Best Friends (Forever)
  • High elevation, folks – use sunscreen and apply frequently. I swear by this sunscreen, I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk. You’ll never catch me without it!
Wear hiking boots with good traction
  • Even though the trails are well maintained, exposed roots are common. It’s easy to trip in the woods, so set yourself up for success by wearing proper shoes. These are my hiking boots, and I’d sleep in them if I could.
Be gentle
  • Stepping on the exposed tree roots actually harms the trees and causes them to degrade over time. Step over roots whenever possible.
Be prepared
  • Bring insect repellent during summer months and a light rain jacket regardless of the season.
  • Check trail conditions before heading out.
  • Water and snacks are essential during a hike. Always have more water than you think you’ll need. I love my yellow HydroFlask.
Hiking with pups
  • Dogs are NOT allowed on trails, snow, wilderness or in buildings. Essentially, pups can only go where cars can go. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen hikers prep their cute pups for a hike before a ranger notices and tells them dogs aren’t allowed on trails – heartbreaking to watch.
America the Beautiful Pass
  • The annual national park pass is worth the investment. It’s $80 for an entire year and can be used by two different households. You will have access to ALL national Parks for an entire year, plus 2,000 recreational sites throughout the US.

Worth noting: Olympic National Park covers a lot of ground and getting from one spot to the next can take upwards of two hours. It’s best to plan ahead to make the most use of your time.

The Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

1. The Best Hike in Olympic National Park: Obstruction Point

olympic national park washington
Obstruction Point Trail | Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

This hike is not for the faint of heart as the elevation gain is pretty steep. But my oh my, the views are more than worth it.

  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 7.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 3,250′

Getting to the trailhead can be a bit tricky. Once you drive to the top of the hurricane ridge road, a nearly hidden left turn emerges down a gravel road. Follow this road to the end and you’ll find the Obstruction Point Trailhead.

Pristine alpine lakes pepper the trail while frequent fog engulfs the skyline. Look in either direction and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the mighty Olympics – a sight I doubt you’ll ever forget.

If you’re not up for the full hike I recommend just going out a couple of miles and treating the trail as an out and back. This is a must-hike in Olympic!

2. Hall of Mosses (Hoh Rainforest) | Best Olympic National Park Hikes

Hoh Rainforest Olympic National Park
Hoh Rainforest | Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

It’s no surprise that the Hoh Rain Forest is one of the most popular hikes at Olympic National Park considering it’s one of the few temperate rain forests in the world.

Difficulty Level: Easy

  • Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Elevation Gain: 100′

The Hoh Rainforest averages 12 feet of rainfall a year – let that sink in.

Hikers come here to explore the thickest moss they’ll ever see, the Roosevelt Elk that roam and to find solitude. The Hoh is considered one of the quietest places in the world.

Fun fact: If you visit during the rainy season chances are good you’ll see a banana slug – which is the second largest species of land slugs in the WORLD!

The Hoh Rain Forest is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Hole in Wall Trail

rialto beach olympic national park washington
Hole in the Wall Trail | Best Hikes Olympic National Park

This beautiful gem is found at Rialto Beach, which is considered the one of the best beaches in Washington state.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trailhead: Rialto Beach parking area
  • Distance: 3.4 miles out and back
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 400′

The hike takes you down the beach for 1.5 miles until you reach Hole in the Wall. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! It’s not uncommon to see sea lions and whales.

4. Hurricane Hill

hurricane ridge olympic national park washington
Hurricane Hill Hike | Olympic National Park

Call me biased, and you would be right. I got engaged at Hurricane Ridge, so of course I’m recommending this hike.

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Olympic National Park Visitor Center
  • Distance: 3.2 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 650′

The best time to hike Hurricane Hill Trail is from mid-April through September to avoid the snow. But if you’re itching for a snowshoeing adventure, visit during the winter months!

Just know that the road to Hurricane Ridge is closed during the winter season (except Fridays through Sundays and some holidays). If you plan to visit during winter, don’t go without reading: Hurricane Ridge in Winter.

5. Blue Mountain Trail

blue mountain sunset olympic national park washington
Blue Mountain Trail | Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

This is a tiny hike worth it for the views. It’s a great way to stretch your legs if you’ve been in the car all day. It’s especially great for kids.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: .5 mile roundtrip
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 15 minutes
  • Elevation Gain: 130′

Make sure to catch sunrise or sunset from the Blue Mountain Trail – all the glory and half the work!

6. Lake Crescent

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Lake Crescent Trail | Olympic National Park Best Hikes

This is a “pick your own adventure” type of hike. If you choose to hike the Spruce Lake Trail, you can turn around at any point or go the entire distance to the beach.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 11.2 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 430′

We chose to catch sunrise at Lake Crescent and simply parked our car nearby and walked to the shore. Being so close to Lake Crescent during sunrise is hard to beat.

The adventure is up to you! You can hike around the lake or simply catch sunrise or picnic.

Did you know? Lake Crescent’s water is so clear you can see over 60 feet deep? Unlike most lakes, Lake Crescent lacks nitrogen which prevents algae from growing and keeps the lake crystal clear.

7. Sol Duc Falls | Best Hikes Olympic National Park

sol duc olympic national park
Sol Duc Falls Hike | Olympic National Park Hikes

This trail is very popular for good reason – the waterfall is breathtaking! What’s more, the hike is great for all skill levels, so bring the kiddos. There’s tons of plants and forest views along the trail, you’ll be one happy camper.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 200′

The trail is best hiked from May through October to avoid snow.

8. Marymere Falls

This popular hike takes you directly to the mouth of Marymere Falls, a 90′ waterfall tucked into a backdrop of lush wilderness.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 2 miles out and back
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 400′

This trail is good for all skill levels. It starts on a flat surface that eases into switchbacks that take you directly to the falls. Take the kiddos, they’re bound to love this one as well!

9. Staircase Rapids Loop

staircase olympic national park washington
Staircase Rapids Hike | Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

This popular (and easy) hike is great for all skill levels!

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trailhead: Staircase Ranger Station
  • Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 200′

Chock-full of adventure with an impressive bridge to cross and plenty of chances to climb over fallen trees while under the canopy of 400 year old western hemlocks and Douglas firs.

More Info On Olympic National Park

Getting to Olympic National Park

You can reach Olympic by car, ferry and bus. If you’re flying in specifically to visit the park, your best bet is to fly into SeaTac International or Victoria International Airport.

Read: Plan Your Trip | Directions & Transportation, Olympic National Park

Fees & Passes

There is an admission fee to enter Olympic National Park. Passes and fees can be paid at visitor centers and entrance stations.

  • America the Beautiful Annual Pass $80 (best option, allows access to ALL US national parks for a year)
  • Olympic National Park Annual Pass $55
  • 7-Day Admission $30/vehicle
obstruction point trail olympic national park
Hiking in Olympic National Park

Driving in Olympic

Make sure to check road conditions at Olympic National Park by reading Current Road Conditions before heading out.

Nature is wild (understatement of the century) and you never know what she has up here sleeve, best to be prepared.

Camping at Olympic National Park

There are four lodging options located within the park:

There are 14 designated campsites at Olympic National Park. Make sure to read the campground rules before you go.

Only Mora, Sol Duc and Kalaloch campground offer online reservations, all other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Campgrounds that allow online reservations during summer. To make an online reservation, click here: Plan Your Trip.

  • Kalacoch Campground (open year-round, $22/night, online reservations allowed May thru September)
  • Mora Campground (open year-round, $20/night, online reservations allowed mid-June thru mid-September)
  • Sol Duc Campground (open year-round, $21 – $24/night, online reservations allowed June thru October)

First-come, first served campgrounds:

  • Deer Park Campground (open June to mid-October, $15/night)
  • Dosewallips Campground (not vehicle accessible, open year-round, no fee)
  • Fairholme Campground (opening date TBD 2020, $20/night)
  • Graves Creek Campground (open year-round, $20/night)
  • Heart O’ the Hills Campground (open year-round, $20/night)
  • Hoh Campground (open year-round, $20/night)
  • North Fork Campground (open year-round, $15/night)
  • Ozette Campground (open year-round, $20 per night)
  • Queets Campground (open year-round, $15/night)
  • South Beach Campground (open May – September, $15/night)
  • Staircase Campground (open year-round, $20/night)
Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

Wilderness (Backcountry) Hiking & Camping

Camping overnight in the wilderness requires a wilderness permit. Reservations for permits can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Read: Wilderness Camping Permits.

Further Reading

Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

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