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Created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Olympic National Park is over 900,000 acres of adventure on the Pacific Coast.
What started off as Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 with Teddy Roosevelt became Olympic National Park in 1938 by FDR. Also an International Biosphere Reserve, Olympic welcomes nearly three million visitors each year.
The park is divided into four sections in the Puget Sound area: the alpine area, the temperate rainforest, the regular forest, and the Pacific coastline.
While Olympic National Park is open daily with 24-hour access, some roads and visitor centers hold seasonal hours, and may close for the winter.
Attractions & Activities
Your first stop is the Olympic National Park Visitor Center for information and exhibits on the park – plus maps, cancellation stations, and a park bookstore.
With nearly one million acres to explore, backpacking, opportunities for hiking, and wildlife viewing are plentiful. Fauna includes black bears, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, and whales, and you may just have to see for yourself the array of flora. If you’ve brought some wildlife of your own, pet-friendly areas include the Spruce Railroad Trail, Peabody Creek Trail, and the Kalaloch beaches.
This is Washington, so of course fishing and boating are on the menu. Olympic is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, rafting, fly-fishing, and more in lakes, rivers, and the Olympic coast. Visitors can kayak the Hoh River, take the motorboat out on Lake Crescent, and see the water lilies at Lake Ozette.
ONP also features tidepooling – where you can head to spots like Kalaloch's Beach 4, Ruby Beach, and Mora's Hole in the Wall during low tide to see colorful starfish, algae, and tidepool creatures like the Giant Green Anemone.
Summer is best for star gazing in the Pacific Northwest. Check out the Hurricane Ridge Astronomy Program, or even sign up for Full Moon Hikes at Hurricane Ridge. Winter visitors can also head to Hurricane Ridge for skiing, snowshoeing, and more.