Nestled in between the Pacific Ocean, the Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the the majestic Olympic Mountains is the heart of Olympic Peninsula, one of the most diverse regions in America. Below are some highlights including some of our favorite places, tips on camping, suggested routes, and recommendations for food and beverages along the way.
Olympic national park and forest
Consisting of nearly a million acres, this wild land contains several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.
ACTIVITIES: surfing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, whale watching
hoH Rain forest
The Hoh rain forest is one of the few protected temperate rain forests in the Northern Hemisphere. From the loop trails near the visitor center, which give a great overview of the area, to trails leading into the upper valley and mountainous backcountry, there are many beautiful hiking trails in the rain forest for hikers on any age. The rainforest is also home to some jaw-droppingly large cedars, like the one featured on the right, and has amazing find old growth forests
ACTIVITIES: hiking, backpacking, fishing
From the tip of the Cape Flattery Trail, you can view Tatoosh Island while standing on the most northwesterly tip of the contiguous lower 48 States. There are four viwepoints on the trail that provide spectacular views of the rugged rocks, birds, and jade waters of the Pacific Ocean. At times you can spot gray whales off the Cape and sea lions on Snake Rock just east of Tatoosh Island.
ACTIVITIES: hiking, fishing, whale watching, photography
food & brew
Next Door Gastropub - Port Angeles, WA
Tasty craft cocktails, Washington wines and ciders, and, most notably, a list of ever-changing local and regional artisan beer. With outdoor seating in the summer and cozy, relaxed dining in the colder months, anyone can come and enjoy their conceptually unique, kid-friendly pub year round! They even have live music!
Port Townsend Brewery - Port Townsend, WA
Delicious microbrew at the heart of Port Townsend, Washington. Enjoy a pint of craft beer in thier tasting room or beer garden.
Joyce General Store - Joyce, WA
If they don't have it, you don't actually need it. Don't miss the rare candy bar assortment.
Camping & Routes
Hobuck Beach Resort - Neah Bay, WA
Lyre River Campground - Port Angeles, WA
Kalaloch Campground - Forks, WA
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Campground - Olympic National Park, WA
Dispersed / Alternative camping
While there is no dispersed camping the the Olympic, or any National Park, the park is surrounded by National Forest Land, which has many forest roads available for dispersed camping. See the Olympic National Forest website for details and conditions.
Check out Harvest Hosts for a fun camping and wine tasting combo!
Hip camp offers some unique camping opportunities at private campgrounds
ACTIVITIES & NATURAL Wonders
Ozette Lake is the largest unaltered natural lake in Washington state. There are a number of short hikes in the area, incuding : two three-mile boardwalk trails lead to the coast, and a trail leading from the coast to Ericson's Bay of Lake Ozette. There are longer coastal hiking trails as well, including the Ozette Loop.
There are certain areas on the coast where you can get stranded when high tide rolls in, so plan ahead and check the tides.
There are a number of shorter hikes in the Sol Duc area including a one mile hike through old-growth forest to the Sol Duc Falls overlook. Lover's Lane (6 mile loop) and the climb to Mink Lake (5.2 miles roundtrip) can also be done in just a few hours.
Part of Olympic National Park, this coastline features a trail leading to beach & forest campsites.