Travel US Destinations

The best of Olympic National Park

You’re here because you want all the details on how to find crystal clear lakes, hikes with breathtaking views, moody forests, and the best spots to watch the sun sink below the horizon….right?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post is jam packed with all the dreamiest sights, you most definitely need to see on your trip to Olympic National Park.

Truth be told I didn’t understand the hype around Washington, until I put my own two feet down on the land and had a chance to explore it myself. It truly is a state with endless beauty.

We spent 9 days wandering Washington, so this is one of three blog post that will help you plan your dream trip!

Check out the day by day itinerary, including links to the Airbnb’s we stayed at, here.

If your heading to Mount Rainer as well, I’m almost done with that blog post!

*can we skip to the good part*

Olympic National Park:

Located about two hours from the Seattle Airport, lives The Olympic Peninsula. This is where you can find Olympic National Park, a place filled with lush rainforests, snow-capped mountain peaks, and rugged coastlines. This national park deserves at least one visit in your lifetime. (with this itinerary ideally 2-3 days)

Hurricane Ridge-

You may find yourself here a few times, seeing as it’s a beautiful spot to take a stroll, and catch sunrise or sunset. Our Airbnb was located just 5 minutes from the entrance, so we ended up here three times! Visiting in August it was busy, but not unbearable. There was plenty of parking, and an overflow lot if needed. Once you pay to enter, it’s about a 35 minute cruise to the visitors center.

To get to most of these trails you can head to the Hurricane Ridge visitors center, or use the Alltrails links for gps directions. I will say, the cell service was pretty limited so make sure you’ve got your maps set before heading up.

Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge-

3.4 mile, out and back, rated as moderate. Other than the bit of elevation gain, I would personally rate this as easy. It is a paved path with the most stunning views along the way. This trail would be gorgeous for sunset.

If you drive past the visitors center, there’s a small lot at the trail head.

Sunrise View Point via High Ridge Nature Trail-

.9 mile, loop, rated as easy. If you are going for sunrise I would try to get to the top at least 30 minutes before the sun is set to rise. Dreamy views of all the ridges, roads, and open skies.

It’s chilly in the morning, especially sitting there waiting for the sun to peek out, wear layers!

There are quite a few hikes from here that you can continue on after watching sunrise.

Heart O’ the Forest-

4.4 mile, out and back, rated as moderate. Pretty easy trail wandering through the lush forests of Olympic National Park. Very peaceful, we only saw a few others while on our hike.

There are a few HUGE tipped trees, you can see the root systems and it’s quite fascinating.

We went about 1.5 miles and turned around. Beautiful trail, but it’s all the same after a while. Great afternoon walk.

There is a few parking spaces right where the all trails map directions leads you. Follow the signs to the trail head. This is also a campsite!

Lake Crescent-

You’ve probably seen videos on Instagram or Tiktok of people jumping off the bridge in to this crystal clear lake. Well, the hype is real, and it’s a must see on your trip to Washington.

Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad– 2.4 mile, out and back, easy trail.

When you get to the first tunnel there is a little path to the left, take that till you see the bridge, and jump in!

This trail (up until the little path leading to the bridge) is amazing for bikes! Also wheelchair, and stroller friendly. The trail goes well past where most people stop for a swim. We saw a lot of people paddle boarding, and kayaking in from the other side of the lake.

We got there about 9am, and parked easily. Around 12pm when we were leaving, the lot was pretty full. I would recommend earlier than later on this one, especially if you’re wanting to swim. The lake does get busy, but everyone friendly, and mindful of others jumping or taking photos.

Personal tip- bring a bathing suit and towel, so you can dry off/change, so you don’t have to walk back wet.

Sol Duc Falls-

Sol Duc Falls- 1.6 mile, out and back, easy hike. Make sure to continue on via Lovers Lane.

Sol Duc Falls is quite busy, especially during the summer months, for good reason, it’s a beautiful trail. Continuing down on Lover’s Lane gives you a bit more serenity. As most people come here to see the falls and turn around.

Being about 40 minutes from Lake Crescent, you could do this and Marymere Falls in one day, or you can do it on the way to Forks, as we did.

Rialto Beach-

This is not your average beach. Although, are any beaches in Washington average? Probably not.

Rialto beach is filled with driftwood, it honestly feels like there’s a forest of its own laying right there in the sand. Then there is hundreds of smooth, colorful little rocks beneath your feet. And if you walk about 1.5 miles down the coastline, you get to my favorite part, Hole-in-the-wall! The little tide pools that live within these rocks, are incredible to look at. Talk about views…

Hole-in-the-wall from Rialto Beach- 3.3 miles, out and back, rated as moderate. I would call it easy, just be careful climbing around on the slick rocks!

We went a few hours before sunset to do the whole walk, and enjoy the beauty all around. Many people camp on this beach as well! There was a pretty large parking lot, with bathrooms.

Kalaloch Beach 4 and Tree of Life-

We stumbled upon these two beauties driving 101 South, to get from Forks to Ashford. We had just gotten some breakfast sandwiches and coffee in town, and decided to hit the road. I saw a sign for a beach and we decided to have breakfast there. What a treat.

The beaches were moody as ever, fog covered, with sun beams shining through the trees.

We pulled off into Kalaloch Beach 4 first, then stopped again just a few miles further down to see the Tree of Life. Both pit stops worth making!

Salt Creek Recreation Area-

So, this is not technically part of Olympic National Park, but it’s close by and a magical spot to catch sunset. And that’s why we’re here, right?

Tongue Point View Spot is the name of the place you want to be! We had a little trouble finding it, because the maps led us to a campsite. If you take the road all the way down through the campsite, there are a few spaces just for day parking, that are right in-front of the trail head.

Also if you’re looking for a campsite, this one looks amazing!

Time to get to Washington…

This list of diverse hikes, crystal clear lakes, and moody beaches should keep you pretty busy on your trip to Washington. We personally, did all of the above in 4 days/ 3 nights.

If you want to see the breakdown of how we fit it all in, check out my blog post of our day by day itinerary. This post also has links to the Airbnbs we stayed at, which made it all possible with their conivieint locations.

The party don’t stop here… we went to Mount Rainer National Park after exploring Olympic National Park. If you are doing the same, check out my Mount Rainer Travel guide here! (coming soon!!)

Always remember when you are out exploring this beautiful planet, pack it in pack it out