The 20 Best Olympic National Park Hikes

Olympic National Park Hikes | Mount Storm King

The large stretch of land in northwestern Washington known as the Olympic Peninsula or “OP” for short is characterized by rugged beaches, cascading waterfalls and beautiful displays of temperate rainforests. All surrounding the Olympic Mountain Range — the second largest mountain range in the state of Washington.

Nearly 1 million acres of the peninsular are protected lands in the Olympic National Park, known as one of the most diverse national parks in the country. With so many geographical and natural wonders to explore, and so much of the park a roadless wilderness, hiking trails and camping are the best way to discover the beauty that lies within.  

In this guide to the best Olympic National Parks hikes, you’ll discover hikes that cross driftwood-strewn beaches, traverse mossy rainforest trails and climb to some of the best viewpoints in the Olympic Mountain Range. We’ve included hikes on this list for all levels and abilities — from well-trodden trails to the lightly-trafficked backcountry.  

Keep in mind while planning your trip, hiking in Olympic National Park is best from April through October and the park is susceptible to seasonal road closures during winter months. 

Psst! Check out our entire Olympic National Park guide on our sister site for more information on visiting the national park and what you can expect. 

Single-day hikes in Olympic National Park

There are seemingly endless hikes to choose from in this national park, but here are some of the top single-day trails to put on your itinerary for the OP.

Hall of Moss Trail in the Hoh Rainforest

Olympic National Park Hikes | Hoh Rainforest

If you only have time for one hike through the Hoh Rainforest, this is the one that should not be missed! As the name implies, this is one of the best places to capture photographs of the ethereal moss-covered forest. The well-maintained trail is lined with signage that will educate you about the delicate ecosystem of the temperate rainforest along the way. 

Keep in mind that the easily accessible trails are heavily trafficked, meaning this may be one of the more crowded stops on your time in the OP. 

Note: There is also a short nature trail through a rainforest marsh that is wheelchair-accessible.

Tip: The best time to hike this short trail is in the early morning when the sunlight is filtered through the dense canopy. 

How to get there: The trailhead for the Hall of Moss Trail can be found behind the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center off Hoh Valley Road.

Spruce Nature Trail

Hikes in Olympic National Park | Spruce Nature Trail

Another great trail for hikers of all abilities through the Hoh Rainforest is the Spruce Nature Trail. This trail tends to be slightly less crowded than the Hall of Moss, but can easily be combined for more exploration of the temperate rainforest.

How to get there: The trailhead for the Spruce Nature Trail can be found behind the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center off Hoh Valley Road.

Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail 

Olympic National Park Hikes | Sol Duc Falls

Possibly one of the most well-known in Olympic National Park and certainly one of the best waterfalls in Washington, Sol Duc Falls is a must-visit for the scenery alone. These stunning falls look like something out of Fern Gully (remember that movie?!). 

The Nature Trail is an easy and relaxing walk through the temperate rainforest. After an easy mile-and-a-half, you’ll bump into the falls, a picturesque attraction with four separate waterfalls plummeting nearly 50 ft into the canyon below. 

Don’t forget to bring your camera on this excursion! There are two main parts to the falls – the first section you’ll walk past is smaller and filled with moss-covered rocks. Walk a bit further and you’ll reach the main part of the falls, which is larger. You’ll definitely want to see both parts, but we actually enjoyed the first section more.

Tip: Extend your hike another 5-ish miles on the Lover’s Lane Loop. 

How to get there: Follow the Sol Duc Road to its end just beyond the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, where you’ll find a parking lot and the trailhead. 

Marymere Falls Trail

Hikes in Olympic National Park | Marymere Falls

Walk through moss-covered old growth forests with very little elevation gain on this easy hike to Marymere Falls. This short but sweet hike is good for hikers of all ability levels and comes with the reward of a towering 90-ft waterfall dropping over a basalt cliff surrounded by lush greenery. This is one of the more popular hikes in Olympic National Park thanks to it’s easy access from Hwy 101. 

Tip: Instead of hiking the same trail back, hikers can take the Moments in Time Nature Trail to make a loop back to the ranger station and parking area. Or you can combine this hike with the significantly more difficult Mount Storm King to double-down on your scenery. 

How to get there: The trailhead is just outside the Storm King Ranger Station off Hwy 101 on the eastside of Lake Crescent. 

Staircase Rapids Loop

Olympic National Park Hikes | Staircase Rapids Loop
Staircase Rapids Image by Nickay3111 via Flickr

With waterfalls, dense old-growth forest and moss-covered vegetation, the Staircase Rapids Loop is an easy trail for hikers of all abilities to enjoy. This short hike hugs the North Fork of the Skokomish River through a temperate rainforest. Cross a suspension bridge over the river and follow the loop back to where you started. 

How to get there: Find the trailhead for Staircase Rapids Nature Trail just beyond the Staircase Campground on Forest Road 24 off Route 119. 

Note: The Forest Roads often go through seasonal closures from November – May. 

Hole-in-the-Wall from Rialto Beach

Olympic National Park Hikes | Renault Beach
Rialto Beach Image by Ryan Flannery via Flickr

This short and leisurely hike is more of a beach stroll. Make your way past the sea stacks as you walk along the sandy and rocky shore of one of the most popular coasts in Olympic National Park. Head as far up the shore as your legs will carry you. About 1.5 miles from the parking area you’ll come across a unique rock formation known as Hole-in-the-Wall. 

Tip: Come during low tide or make sure you have decent waterproof hiking shoes like our favorite: Chacos

How to get there: Make your way to the beach from the Rialto Beach Parking Area off Mora Road and head north.

Quinault Loop Trail

Olympic National Park Hikes | Quinault Loop Trail
Quinault Loop Image by US Forest Service PNW via Flickr

Make your way through dense old-growth forest and lush greenery on this easy 4-mile loop through the Quinault Rainforest. Interpretive signs along the way will help you learn about the vegetation and delicate ecosystem. 

How to get there: Find the trailhead for the Quinault Loop Trail behind the Lake Quinault Lodge just east of Hwy 101. 

Spruce Railroad Trail: Lake Crescent

Olympic National Park Hikes | Spruce Railroad Trail
Spurce Railroad Trail image by j.tobens via Flickr

This scenic hike along the shores of Lake Crescent is mostly flat and family-friendly. There are several historic bridges you’ll cross, including the one over Devil’s Punchbowl, a trail highlight, and a few tunnels to traverse. So bringing a flashlight or headlamp is recommended for orientation.

How to get there: Find the Spruce Lake Trailhead off of East Beach Road just after crossing the Lyre River.  

Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge Trail

Hikes in Olympic National Park | Hurricane Hill
  • Distance: 3.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation: 826 ft
  • Rating: Moderate
  • View Trail Notes

One of the best hikes in Olympic National Park for first-timers, this is a can’t-miss on your trip to the Olympic Peninsula. The wide and well-maintained trail is good for hikers of all levels (including families) as its minimal elevation gain is slow and steady. Plus, the views from the peak are unbeatable! With relatively moderate effort, you’ll be rewarded with views spanning all the way from Mt. Baker to Victoria, BC, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

How to get there: Find the Hurricane Ridge trailhead from the parking lot at the end of Hurricane Ridge Road. If you park at the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center, you will add 2.4 miles to your hike. 

Lover’s Lane Loop

Olympic National Park Hikes | Sol Duc Falls

An extension of the Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail, this popular loop trail will have you continue your hike past the falls, using the Campground Trail on the return to make a loop. With very little elevation gain, this longer version of the Sol Duc Nature Trail can be enjoyed by hikers of all levels and abilities. 

How to get there: Follow the Sol Duc Road to its end just beyond the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, where you’ll find a parking lot and the trailhead for Sol Duc Falls aka Lover’s Lane Trail. 

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach
  • Distance: 8.8 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 561 ft
  • Rating: Moderate
  • View Trail Notes

To get to this somewhat remote beach, you’ll need to hike about 2 miles on a muddy, jungly path on the Makah Indian Reservation. Once you reach the ocean, it is another 2 miles of walking on the sand to get to the dramatic sea stacks that characterize this stunning remote beach. But oh man, is it worth it for the sunset!

Being that it is quite a trek, we’d recommend a stop here only if you are camping overnight, or if you intend to spend the whole day exploring. Over on our sister site, we put together an entire guide to camping on Shi Shi Beach with everything you need to know.

To visit Shi Shi Beach, you’ll need a Makah Recreation Pass which you can pick up at the Washburn General Store in Neah Bay or a number of other locations in the area. Display this $10 pass in your windshield while enjoying the trails, beach and other activities in the area.   

How to get there: Drive to the end of the bay on Hwy 112 and turn left on Fort Street, right on 3rd Ave, and then a left on Cape Flattery Road. Follow this for about 2.5 miles and turn left on Hobuck Road. Follow the signs to Shi Shi beach trailhead. 

Note: If you’re staying overnight, you’ll have to park up the road about 0.6 miles from the trailhead at one of the designated parking areas (i.e. someone’s yard). Be sure to read our complete guide to understand the extra fees involved.

Important 2021 Note: As of April 2021, Shi Shi Beach and other coastal areas in Olympic National Park are closed to the public. Check back on the NPS website for more information. 

Ozette Triangle Trail

Olympic National Park Hikes | Ozette Triangle Trail
Ozette Triangle Trail image by Allison Frueh via Flickr

This is the perfect day hike in Olympic National Park for those looking to get some miles in without the elevation gain. This trek will take you through coastal wilderness, wetlands, lush forests and rugged beachscapes as you traverse between the Pacific Ocean and Ozette Lake in a triangle formation. 

How to get there: The loop begins at the Cape Alva Trailhead near the Ozette Campground. Make your way towards the ocean, then south on the beach until you reach The Sand Point Trail which will return you to the start. 

Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island

Olympic National Park Hikes | Hoh River Trail
Hoh River image by daveynin via Flickr
  • Distance: 10.6 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 300 ft
  • Rating: Moderate
  • View Trail Notes

Most first-time visitors to the Olympic Peninsula don’t leave without a stop at the Hoh Rainforest. You can’t escape the feeling of magic as you trek through the lush moss-covered Hoh Rainforest. 

If you’re up for a longer hike with an easy grade, the Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island is the perfect day hike. The trail follows the glacier-carved Hoh River as it winds its way through the temperate rainforest. Stop for a picnic lunch at Five Mile Island, a sunny spot with views of Bogachiel Peak.

How to get there: The trailhead for the Hoh River Trail can be found behind the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center off Hoh Valley Road.

Mount Storm King

Hikes in Olympic National Park | Mount Storm King
  • Distance: 5.3 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 2,076 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

If you have the time and are a hiking enthusiast, try making the trek up Mount Storm King during your visit to Olympic National Park. The views over Lake Crescent are well-worth the difficult journey on this super popular trail. 

The trail starts out pretty easy, passing under Hwy 101, but don’t get too comfortable! Soon enough the trail will get steeper — so steep even that the final scramble to the summit involves a rope that is necessary to pull yourself up to the top. 

Tip: For a double-whammy, start your hike on the Marymere Falls trail and continue on to summit Mount Storm King. 

How to get there: Find the trailhead for Mount Storm King just outside the Storm King Ranger Station.

Mount Ellinor Trail

Olympic National Park Hikes | Mount Ellinor Trail
Mount Ellinor Trail image by Exotic Hikes via Flickr
  • Distance: 6 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 3,385 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

As one of the tallest mountains on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula, Mount Ellinor offers stunning panoramic views of the peninsula and on a clear day you can see out to Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.  

There are actually two trails to take you to the summit, a short but very steep trail or a longer trail with a more gradual incline. Take the Lower Trailhead for a 6-mile round trip that starts with an easy grade though an old growth forest, then climbs with gentle switchbacks. A Northwest Forest Pass is required at the Upper Trailhead, which is a shorter 3.2 miles round trip with steep switchbacks the entire way. 

How to get there: To get to the trailheads you’ll follow Route 119 from Hwy 101 until you reach Forest Road 24. A right at Forest Road 24 will take you 1.6 miles and then a left on Forest Road 2419. You’ll reach the lower trailhead in 4.9 miles. Parking is limited, but not usually very crowded. To get to the Upper Trailhead, continue for another 1.7 miles and turn left of Forest Road 2419-040. Go until you reach the end of the road and you’ll run into the Upper Trailhead as well as a picnic table, bathroom facilities and some beautiful views.

Sunrise Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles

  • Distance: 5.5 miles out and back
  • Elevation: 2,017 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

Experience more stunning views over Hurricane Ridge on this slightly more difficult hike along the Klahhane Ridge towards Mount Angeles. The hike starts on the High Ridge Nature Trail, a paved trail climbing up to a nice viewpoint on the ridge. From there you will be rewarded with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range. You’ll continue east along the ridge towards Mount Angeles on the Sunrise Point Trail, ending at an overlook with a great view of Mount Angeles. 

Note: Most people turn around when they reach the start of the Mount Angeles climb (where the trail ends). The climb to the summit of Mount Angeles is an unmarked Class 3 scramble and should not be attempted without proper experience and climbing equipment. 

How to get there: Find the trailhead for the High Ridge Nature Trail just outside the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center (a sight in and of itself with breathtaking views of the dramatic landscape). 

Klahhane Ridge to Lake Angeles

Olympic National Park Hikes | Klahhane Ridge to Lake Angeles
Lake Angeles image by Sean Coffelt via Flickr
  • Distance: 12.6 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 4,514 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

This hike is long for a single day, but well worth it for the views of the picturesque Lake Angeles from atop the ridge. As an extension of the Sunrise Ridge Trail, you’ll begin your hike from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center and follow the Klahhane Ridge Trail beyond Sunrise Ridge towards the alpine lake. 

The trail gets pretty narrow and has a streep accent, which makes it a lot more challenging in the wintertime. Throughout the summer, however, you will find the hike surrounded by wildflowers. 

How to get there: Find the trailhead for the Klahhane Ridge Trail just outside the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center.

Royal Basin – Royal Lake

Olympic National Park Hikes | Royal Basin - Royal Lake
Royal Basin image by Florian Mair via Flickr
  • Distance: 15.8 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 3,802 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

The high country of Upper Royal Basin in Olympic National Park is defined by rocky slope, milky blue tarns and wildflower-dotted subalpine meadows flanked by 7,000-foot peaks. Topped off by one of the most beautiful and accessible waterfalls in the backcountry, hiking to Royal Basin Falls is one of the best little-known gems in the park. 

The hike starts at the Upper Dungeness Trail and connects with the Royal Basin Trail after just about a mile. The nearly 16-mile hike takes stamina if it is to be completed as a day trip, and can easily be turned into an overnight backcountry hike if you obtain a camping permit. 

Note: This hike requires you to drive nearly 19 miles of dirt roads to get to the trailhead. It also requires a backcountry permit, even if you aren’t planning to camp overnight. 

How to get there: Take Forest Road 2880 (a steep and winding gravel road) across the Dungeness River and past the Dungeness Forks Campground. In another 0.9 miles go straight at the intersections onto what is now Forest Road 2870. 

Continue for 2.5 miles and bear right at the intersection to stay on 2870. In another 4.9 miles, stay left at the fork to stay on 2870. In 1.6 miles, you will cross the Dungeness River again and find the parking lot for the Upper Dungeness trailhead. 

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Multi-day backcountry hikes

Below are some of the best multi-day hikes for backcountry hiking and camping. Keep in mind reservations are highly recommended as permits are required for backcountry camping in the OP and there are a limited number of permits available. 

Enchanted Valley Chalet via East Fork Quinault River Trail

Enchanted Valley Chalet | Go Wander Wild
  • Distance: 30.6 miles, out and back
  • Elevation: 4,642 ft
  • Rating: Difficult
  • View Trail Notes

This hike will take you through lush, old growth forests, across rustic bridges scaling the river below, and ultimately to a majestic wide open valley. Aptly named, the Enchanted Valley is known as a great place to spot wildlife, like black bears and elk, and makes an epic multi-day hike.

How to get there: The Enchanted Valley trailhead is quite remote, making it essential that you plan your trip to Olympic National Park with this hike in mind. Make your way to the Quinault Ranger Station, which is located in the southwest region of the Olympic Peninsula. Continue for about 6 miles on the road along the Quinault River which will soon turn to gravel past the station. The road dead ends at Graves Creek Campground, which is a great place to spend the night before your hike. The campground is just ¼-mile from the trailhead.

Looking for campsites inside and outside of the national park? Our advice is to download The Dyrt, an app that’ll take your camping game to the next level. Use this link to get 90 days of the Pro Membership totally free (no strings attached)!

High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin Loop

Olympic National Park Hikes | High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin Loop
Seven Lakes Basin image by Meagan via Flickr

For a tranquil trail and idyllic scenery, take the High Divide Trail to the stunning subalpine basin known as Seven Lakes Basin. The basin itself has more than 7 lakes (who named this thing!?) and is teeming with wildlife from black bears roaming to mountain goats grazing. It’s a picturesque place to spend a few nights in the backcountry if you want to get away from the crowds. 

How to get there: This hikes begins on the same trail as the Sol Duc Falls. Follow the Sol Duc Road to its end just beyond the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, where you’ll find a parking lot and the trailhead. Once you’ve reached the falls, you’ll continue on the Deer Lake Trail, then head south from Deer Lake to the High Divide Trail. 

Things to know about backcountry camping in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park Hikes | Hurricane Ridge

Backcountry permit: You’ll need to obtain a wilderness permit if you want to do any backcountry camping in Olympic National Park. The fee for this permit is $8 per adult, per night, plus a $6 non-refundable reservation fee. Limited reservations become available 6 months in advance on a rolling window (so it’s a good thing to plan ahead!). 

The permit is easily obtainable online from the U.S. National Park website. You can pick up your permit at one of the nearby ranger stations in Port Angeles or at the Quinault Ranger Station, which is close to the trailhead for hiking the Enchanted Valley.

Bear canister: It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to carry a bear canister to keep all of your food and toiletries while in the backcountry on the OP. You can bring your own (this is the one we have), or you can rent one free of charge at the same place you get your permit. 

Bear spray: Bear spray is another must if you go into the backcountry. Additionally, some people like to carry a bear bell (especially if you’re hiking and camping solo). If you don’t bring a bell, just be sure to talk loudly when you’re hiking on trails without crowds.

What to pack for hiking in Olympic National Park

  • Rain gear: Doesn’t matter what time of year, it’s always good to be prepared in rainy Washington!
  • Battery pack: Keep your electronics charged while hiking and on the road!
  • Water bottle
  • Bug spray: We prefer the natural stuff, but you do you.
  • Comfortable hiking clothes (lots of layers!)
  • Sturdy waterproof shoes: We’re obsessed with Chacos, and they were pretty much all we wore during our trip in Olympic National Park. They are good for long walks, hiking, beaches, and can get wet.
  • Sunscreen & hat: Even if it’s cloudy
  • Headlamp: If you’re camping, this should be a must in your packing
  • Camera
  • Hiking snacks
  • AllTrails Pro (or a physical map)
  • Hiking backpack
  • Bear spray: It’s highly recommended to carry this on any overnight hike
Hiking Packing List | Go Wander Wild
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Olympic National Park Hikes | Go Wander Wild
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We want to hear from you!

What hikes in Washington’s Olympic National Park do you love the most? Are there any you think we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

One thought on “The 20 Best Olympic National Park Hikes

  1. Linda Bibb says:

    My husband and I had a chance to visit ONP a few Thanksgivings ago. We loved it and saw a lot, but only had one day. It’s a good start, but even though some of the routes were closed for the winter, that just didn’t cut it. Agree with you that the park deserves 2-4 days. Maybe 2 in the winter, but if I were to go back, I’d go in the warmer months and give it the full 4 days.

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