geology feature, hiking in olympic national park

6 Best Short Hikes of Olympic National Park & Other Top Things to Do

Please share if you enjoy this content!

Heading to the Pacific Northwest and looking forward to the best hikes of Olympic National Park? 

The Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park are must-see places in Washington state. This guide has all the best activities—including hiking— in Olympic National Park, which you shouldn’t miss. 

If you’re in Washington or the Pacific Northwest, you’ve probably put Olympic National Park on your itinerary, or maybe you’ve already been. The national park is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, with wildlife and winding hiking and biking trails. 

Just a two-hour drive from Seattle, you can experience Olympic National Park as a day trip or come and spend a few days in the park. I definitely recommend the latter as there are tons of opportunities for camping as well as rustic lodges you can stay in. 

Whether you’re coming to the park for a day or a week, here are the best things to do!

hiking in olympic national park, waterfalls, waterfall with lookouts.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure for more information.

Olympic National Park 

Located in Washington, Olympic National Park draws thousands of visitors every year from all over the world. The park is almost a million acres with tons of opportunities for hiking, camping, and plenty of other outdoor activities. 

What makes Olympic Park so popular is all the different ecosystems you can find in it. You can experience the lush rainforests and coastline in the spring and summer. 

During the winter, you can see the snow settling on the mountains for incredible views.

If you’re planning to visit other nations, I recommend purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass. It only costs $80 and gives you entrance to all the national parks.

6 Best (Short) Hikes of Olympic National Park

If it’s your first time coming to Olympic National Park, you will probably spend most of your time hiking. There are also plenty of sightseeing opportunities in the park, whether you are hiking towards them or just driving the car and parking. 

Hiking is one of the main activities in the park. Here are some of the most popular trails and the things you will see along the way. 

1. Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge

This is a paved trail, but it’s still pretty challenging in some spots. At the top of the trail, you get a fantastic panoramic view of the mountains. 

  • Distance: 1.6 miles one way
  • Elevation Gain: 700 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Out and back trail
big tree with large branches, trail going through a forest, hiking in olympic national park

2. Mount Storm King 

For one of the most difficult hiking trails in Olympic National Park, check out Mount Storm King. If you want to hike this trail, visit from April through October, as the other months see too much rainfall making this trail potentially dangerous. 

  • Distance: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,106 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Out and back trail

3. Marymere Falls Trail 

This is a quick hour hike, and you get to see the stunning Marymere waterfalls when you get to the end. It’s an easy trail to bring the kids along, but dogs are unfortunately not allowed. 

  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 298 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Out and back trail
marymere falls, flowing waterfall, hiking trail in olympic national park

4. HoH River Trail to Mineral Creek Falls 

This is one of the most common hikes because it’s easy and nice for families with children. It takes just under 2 hours to finish. It tends to get muddy when there is rainfall, so bring good waterproof shoes with traction. 

  • Distance: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 229 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Out and back trail

5. Staircase Rapids Loop

Although this route is closed during the winter months, it’s a really nice hike during the other months of the year when there is little rain and snow. It takes just under an hour to compete. 

  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 213 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Loop

6. Hole in the Wall from Rialto Beach 

This is a popular hike right along the beach, so you will find many other people walking and hiking. It only takes about an hour to complete, so it’s a great hike if you’re limited on time. 

  • Distance: 3.3 
  • Elevation Gain: 108 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Out and back trail
trail in olympic national park, winding trail, paved trail, hiking in olympic national park

Other Fun Things to Do in Olympic National Park

Though many of the things to do in Olympic National Park require some hiking, there is plenty to see in the park to make the effort worthwhile. Here are some other top things to see and do.

1. Animal Watch at Lake Crescent 

This is one of the best places in the park for those interested in seeing marine life. You can spot whales, otters, sea lions, seals, and seabirds. 

Besides just sitting by the calming water and watching for animals, you can also get active and go hiking in this popular spot. There are two main trails near the lake—the James Pond Trail and Slough Trail. 

lake crescent, sun peaking through the clouds, green hills surrounding the lake, things to do in olympic national park

2. Bird Watch at Kalaloch Beach 

If you’re a birdwatcher, don’t miss Kalaloch Beach! You can see some common species as well as some unique to the Pacific Northwest, including tufted puffins and common murres. 

Kalaloch Nature Trail is also located here and is a perfect walking trail to see the birds up close. 

rocky shore in mount olympic national park, beachside, trees and rocks, rainforest in olympic national park

3. Enjoy the Enchanted Valley 

Many people come to the Enchanted Valley because it resembles the beautiful mountains in Switzerland. 

You can only get to the valley on foot, so you might want to put a whole day in your schedule to experience it to the fullest. Even better, take a few days to explore Enchanted Valley!

The entire trail is 38.5 miles long. Along the way, you will find camping sites where you can pitch your tent and spend the night. You’ll need to bring everything along with you, including water, food, and other supplies. 

4. Climb Mt. Olympus 

Climbing Mount Olympus is for serious adventure seekers. It takes about 2 to 4 days to get to the top. You need to have serious mountain climbing experience, including technical climbing skills. 

It’s highly recommended that you go with a guide otherwise it can be very dangerous. A guide will be able to ensure you’re safe and offer support. 

snow capped mountain in distance, boats in the lake, mount olympus

How to Get to Olympic National Park

The closest airports to Olympia, Washington, are Sea-Tac International Airport and Victoria International Airport. Highway 101 is the fastest and easiest way to get to the park if driving. 

You can also travel to the park by ferry. The most popular ferries are Washington State Ferries. You will first stop in Puget Sound, exiting the ferry and heading to the Olympic Peninsula. 

How to Get Around Olympic National Park

One of the fastest ways to get around the park is by renting a car. I definitely recommend renting a car if you want to visit many different parts of the park or are on a crunched time schedule. 

Buses are also an option, but they don’t take you everywhere in the park. Most buses stop at visitor centers and ranger stations only. Check out this website for more information on buses ad the routes. 

When to Visit: Olympic National Park Weather

Visiting from spring through early fall gives you an amazing chance to see the rainforest in Olympic National Park. 

In the summer, the sun is out from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., giving you ample sunlight to hike and explore the park. 

The weather in the winter is rainy almost every day, so you don’t want to come during the colder months as you’ll be pretty miserable. It’s not the ideal time to take in the natural beauty of this park!

How Much Time to Spend in Olympic National Park

Try to spend at least three days in Olympic National Park. This gives you time to hike various trails, which is the main activity in the park. 

You should also add a few days if you want more time to explore the coastline and the rainforests. A week wouldn’t be too much time to spend in the park to really get to explore what it offers. 

The park is known to have quite a bit of rainfall and snow, so adding on a few days is a good plan in case you encounter poor weather. 

Where to Stay in Olympic National Park

If you want to stay a few nights in the park, here are the best options! Since the park is not near many other towns or cities, it’s best to plan a few nights to stay in the park so you have more time to hike and do other activities. 

Camping in Olympic National Park 

Several Olympic National Park campgrounds are worth checking out. 

  • Deer Park Campground: This site is open from June to mid-October. There are 14 sites, and they are first come, first served. The site is pretty primitive, with no water and no toilets. However, the view of the mountains and the rainforest makes it worth it!
  • Fairholme Campgrounds: This is the best campsite near Lake Crescent. It’s open from April to the end of September. It’s first come, first served, except in the summer months when reservations are required. There are RV hookup options, and the site has flushing toilets, potable water, and a dump station. 
  • HoH Campground: This is the best place to be if you want to be right in the center of the rainforest. The campsite is open year-round with 72 sites. They have flush toilets and potable water. It’s first come, first served, except in the summer months when you need reservations. 

If you want to make reservations or find more options for camping at Olympic National Park, you can visit the national park’s website.

small blue tent in the wilderness, olympic national park camping, camping in olympic national park, olympic peninsula camping, olympic national park campgrounds, olympic national park cabins

Lodges in Olympic National Park 

If you prefer a hotel with more amenities, here are the best lodges in the park. 

Lake Quinault Lodge 

Right on the shores of Lake Quinault, Lake Quinault Lodge is beautiful. Make sure you request a room with a balcony with a lake view. They have lots of amenities, including a sauna, an indoor pool, and boat rentals in the summer. 

Kalaloch Lodge 

Kalaloch Lodge is perfect if you want to be in a remote setting along the coast. All rooms are beautiful, but the rooms with ocean views are the best as they also have fireplaces, satellite TVs, and microwaves. 

Hotels in Olympic National Park

While there are more options for camping and lodges, there are also some hotels around the national park that you can stay in. 

Emerald Valley Inn

Emerald Valley Inn is located in Port Angeles. It’s one of the best Olympic National Park hotels with small, homey rooms. They also have a few suites that you can book if you need more space. Breakfast is included; you can eat inside the cafe or in the lovely gardens. 

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort 

If you’re looking for Olympic National Park cabins, this is the place to come. They have cabins that sleep up to 4 people as well as one cabin that can sleep up to 10 people. The resort is located right on the Olympic National Park hot springs. They also allow pets!

Where to Eat in Olympic National Park

  • Creekside Restaurant: Check out this place inside Kalaloch Lodge. They have some great seafood choices, including grilled salmon and fresh shellfish. They also have a huge selection of Washington wines. 
  • Lake Crescent Lodge Restaurant: They have a large menu that is bound to have something for everyone’s taste. The most popular items include salads and grilled fish platters. 
  • Quinault Internet Cafe: This is a perfect place to come if you’re looking for something casual. They have burgers, fries, sandwiches, and soups. 
  • The Tides: This family-owned restaurant has an amazing breakfast with huge pancakes and waffles. They also have a great dinner menu, including fish and chips and clam chowder. 
pier leading to lake crescent, national parks in washington state, olympia washington

Top Things to Do Near Olympic National Park 

Olympic National Park is not close to many cities or attractions. From Seattle to Olympic National Park, it’s about a 2-hour drive making the park a popular day trip from the city.

If you’re looking for things to Seattle, check out my full Seattle guide here.

Some people also like to visit Victoria, British Columbia, as you can get there with a quick ferry ride. 

The Top Hikes of Olympic National Park are Waiting For You!

As you can see, Olympic National Park is home to some of the United States’ most beautiful scenery and ecosystems. The park is best explored by hiking and camping, so be prepared for a holiday spent in the great outdoors. 

Are you heading to Olympic National Park? Which of these activities are you going to do first? 

You Might Also Like

Like it? Pin it!

Please share if you enjoy this content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *