Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is nature reserve in the state of Washington, first established as a national monument in 1909. The landscape contains three principle features: the Pacific coastal area, a temperate rain forest, and of course, the Olympic Mountains. Every season provides ample opportunities for a variety of activities, from skiing to boating to hiking, and no matter how you spend your time, visitors can be assured of a pleasant experience in the outdoor country of this national park located on the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington.
Washington national parks offer a wealth of natural and human history, and the Olympic is no exception, offering a treasure trove of historical elements. With its human history dating back more than 12,000 years, Olympic National Park has been used and admired by many people throughout its existence. Some of the relics unearthed at the park include fossils, a spear point, remnants of a woven basket, and homesteader structures. Today adventurers, both amateur and expert, can visit the park and learn about the native tribes who lived here, in addition to enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
Visitors can have an unusually varied vacation by visiting the three extremely different types of landscapes the park has to offer. Amid the glorious Olympic Mountains, you’ll see breathtaking views of meadows, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. At the lower levels of the park, temperate forests and rain forests dominate the scenery, including both the Hoh Rain Forest and the Quinalt Rain Forest, which are one of the wettest areas in the United States, receiving about 150 inches of precipitation per year. A diverse coastal landscape covers the shores of the park, from sandy beaches to weathered sea stacks.
Hurricane Ridge is one of the most renowned mountain groupings in the Olympic National Park. Many adventurers come to these slopes especially for winter activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, but hiking through the natural setting is popular in other parts of the year. The name, Hurricane Ridge, has been earned by the forceful winds and intense weather that occurs year-round—snow can be expected in every season. In addition to daring activities, some of the most spectacular and picturesque scenery is found on the peaks of Hurricane Ridge.
As with many of the Washington national parks, Olympic does charge an entrance fee, which varies by method of entrance and the length of the ticket. Visitors on foot are charged $5, and vehicles are charged three times as much; annual passes are also available for $30. Wilderness Camping Permits, which can be obtained at several locations, including the national park itself, are required for backcountry camping at Olympic National Park.
For those guests planning to visit the park for a long period of time, or at least planning to stay in the area overnight, there are plenty of lodges and camping opportunities in the park in addition to a variety of hotels near Olympic National Park in the surrounding towns. However long you stay, gorgeous vistas and plenty of adventures are sure to make for a pleasant trip. Olympic is one of the most stunning Washington national parks, and it’s well worth exploring, whether you’re here to go skiing, hiking, fishing, snowboarding, or simply relax in the abundance of beautiful sights.