Recently declared a drought zone, the Olympic National Park on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula may be unusually accessible this spring and summer. For better or worse, this year the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve with its beaches, rain forests and mountains will experience one of the driest springs on record.
If you didn’t know already, the park includes 73 miles of beautiful, wild Pacific Ocean beaches and 95 percent of the park is designated as Olympic Wilderness. The wilderness is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals including the world’s largest unmanaged Roosevelt elk herd and the shy Olympic marmot. Explorers discover 600 miles of trails for climbing and hiking.
For those who can take advantage of these conditions checkout park information or call 360-565-3130 and/or call the Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau at 1-800-942-4042 to get the inside scoop on local attractions, lodging as well as festivals and events.
One of the best places to get acquainted with what the park offers is the Olympic National Park Visitor Center & Wilderness Information Center (3002 Mount Angeles Rd) in Port Angeles’ primary visitor center. Look for exhibits, resources and award-winning film (25-minutes) on the park. This is also the place to get wilderness camping, hiking and permit information and bear canisters are available.
Here are just a couple of ONP highlights:
- Beach Hikes – Try the Ozette Wilderness Loop, Third Beach near LaPush and Ruby Beach.
- Sol duc Hot springs – Features three hot pools, a freshwater swimming pool, food service and rental cabins.
- Rain forests – One of the few temperate rainforests on the planet…green, green, green!
- Alpine Hikes – Start at Hurricane Ridge for day or longer hikes.
What is your favorite thing to do in the ONP?