Julie United States 2 Comments

One thing that makes Olympic National Park so unique is its wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems. In this one park, you can hike to mountain peaks, stroll through lush, temperate rainforests, and explore the rugged, rocky coastline. In this post, we list 17 of the best hikes in Olympic National Park…17 great ways to explore this wonderful national park.

About this Hiking List

The hikes on this list are organized by geographical location. There are four main regions to Olympic National Park: the northern area of the park (which includes Hurricane Ridge), the Pacific Coastline, the temperate rainforest, and Staircase. Also on this list is one very popular multi-day backpacking trip into the interior of the park.

All of the distances are round trip unless noted otherwise.

Important Note: Several of these trails are currently closed due to COVID-19 because they are located on Native American land. Get updates on the national park service website. 

 

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each hiking trail. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

 

Best Hikes in Northern Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge Trail to Hurricane Hill

Distance: 3.2 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Total Ascent: 700 feet | Time: 2 hours

This hike is our top choice on Hurricane Ridge if you are visiting Olympic National Park with kids. As this wide trail heads along the ridge, it slowly gains elevation, but it is nothing too strenuous. There are a few switchbacks at the end of the hill as you climb up to the final peak, but your reward is a spectacular view of Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Ridge Photo

View of Hurricane Ridge from Mount Angeles

Getting to the Trailhead: Park in the lot at the end of Hurricane Ridge Road. DO NOT park near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. This will add 2.4 miles to your hike. The trailhead is marked on the map above.

Sunrise Ridge via the Sunrise Point Trail

Distance: 3 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Total Ascent: 800 feet | Time: 2 hours

For more stunning views over Hurricane Ridge, this is another relatively easy hike to consider.

This hike starts on the High Ridge Trail right from the main Hurricane Ridge parking lot. It climbs up to a very nice viewpoint and then heads east towards Mount Angeles. At this point, the name of the trail changes, and just to be confusing, it has two different names: the Sunrise Point Trail and the Klahhane Ridge Trail.

This entire hike is beautiful, as you are hiking along a ridge with panoramic views the entire way. This hike ends at an overlook where you have a great view of Mount Angeles.

Best Hikes in Olympic National Park photo

Sunrise Point Trail

 
Trail to the Overlook

View of Mount Angeles from the trail. The white line marks the short, easy trail to the overlook on the Sunrise Point Trail. The trail to Mount Angeles is the red line (the next hike on this list).

Klahhane Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles

Distance: 6.5 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 2,551 feet | Time: 4 to 6 hours

This hike is an extension of the Sunrise Ridge Trail mentioned previously. If you like the idea of climbing to the highest peak in the Hurricane Ridge area and the chance to have one of the best panoramic views in Olympic National Park, put this hike on your list.

Starting at the Hurricane Ridge parking lot, you will head east on the Klahhane Ridge Trail (aka the Sunrise Point Trail) to Sunrise Ridge. Keep going beyond Sunrise Ridge. After a moderate descent, the real fun begins. To get up on top of Mount Angeles, it is an extremely steep hike with some tricky rock scrambling thrown in, just to really keep things interesting.

Hike to Mount Angeles

On the Klahhane Ridge Trail with Mount Angeles in the distance.

 

Mount Angeles Rock Scrambling

Final climb up Mount Angeles

 Hurricane Ridge Panorama

View from Mount Angeles

From the top of Mount Angeles, the views are unbeatable. On a clear day, you can see Puget Sound, Vancouver Island, the mountains of Olympic National Park, and Mount Rainier.

Kara in Olympic

On the hike back to Hurricane Ridge

Marymere Falls

Distance: 1.8 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: 200 feet | Time: 1 hour

This is a short, sweet hike to waterfall that is tucked away in an old growth forest. For most of the walk, the trail is flat, fast, and beautiful. Ancient moss-covered trees loom overhead and you will cross several bridges that span creeks and streams.

To get to Marymere Falls, the walk ends with a short but strenuous uphill climb to a viewpoint of the waterfall.

Marymere Falls Trail

Marymere Falls Bridge

Marymere Falls

This is a great hike for families and those who want to walk through an ancient forest. The hike to Marymere Falls also makes a nice add-on to Mount Storm King, since they share the same trailhead.

Getting to the Trailhead: This hike starts at Lake Crescent next to the Storm King Ranger Station.

Mount Storm King

Distance: 4.65 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 2,130 feet | Time: 3 to 5 hours

The hike to Mt. Storm King is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, and it is also one of the most popular. This is a short but grueling hike that ends with a spectacular view of Lake Crescent.

Mount Storm King

Storm King Rope

On this hike, it is a steep, relentless climb up to Mount Storm King. Just before reaching the summit, where the trail somehow gets even steeper, you’ll pull yourself up using a series of ropes. Then it’s one final, short scramble to the peak of Mount Storm King.

You can add Marymere Falls onto the beginning or end of this hike.

Sol Duc Falls

Distance: 2.25 miles miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: 320 feet | Time: 1 hour

Sol Duc Falls is a waterfall that is located in the temperate rainforest of Olympic National Park.

To get here, take Sol Duc Road to the end. From the parking lot, it is an easy 2.25 mile round trip walk to the waterfall.

Sol Duc Falls Trail

Sol Duc Falls hikes in Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Falls

High Divide Trail & the Seven Lakes Basin Loop

Distance: 19 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 5,000 feet | Time: 10 to 14 hours or as a backpacking trip

This hike can be done as a big day hike or as an overnight backpacking trip. Starting at Sol Duc Falls, you will hike past Deer Lake and then enter the subalpine region. On this hike, you get to see more than seven lakes and there is a very good chance that you will spot black bear and other wildlife along the trail.

If you plan to camp overnight along the trail you will need a permit.

Best Hikes along the Pacific Coastline

Cape Flattery

Distance: 1.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: 200 feet | Time: 1 hour

Cape Flattery is the northernmost point of the continental United States. It is located at the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The trail alternates between a gravel trail, dirt trail, and boardwalks. It ends with three viewpoints of Cape Flattery.

Cape Flattery hikes in Olympic National Park

mabahamo/shutterstock.com

Shi Shi Beach

Distance: 6 to 10 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: Minimal | Time: 4 to 6 hours

The hike to Shi Shi Beach is typically done as a long day hike or an overnight backpacking trip.

Shi Shi Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Olympic National Park. It is here that you will see tide pools and the rocky pinnacles that make this beach so unique.

Shi Shi Beach hikes in Olympic National Park

william p teed/shutterstock.com

To get here, you will need to do some hiking…6 to 10 miles round trip, depending on how far down the beach you will go.

The beach is located in Olympic National Park but access to the beach is on the Makah Reservation. To visit Shi Shi Beach, not only do you need to pay the Olympic National Park fee but you will also need a Makah Recreation Pass.

Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Wall

Distance: 3.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: Minimal | Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Hiking to Hole-in-the-Wall is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park. It is short and easy to hike (the beach is the hiking trail), plus the views are amazing.

Rialto Beach

Hole in the Wall

To visit Rialto Beach, park at the Rialto Beach parking area, which is located next to the beach, and then walk right out to the beach. Head north to go to Hole-in-the-Wall, where you get to see the sea stacks sitting along the coastline.

Third Beach

Distance: 3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: 400 feet | Time: 1 to 2 hours

The La Push Beaches are a group of three beaches that are located near the community of La Push. These beaches are named First, Second, and Third Beaches, with First Beach being the northernmost beach.

Third Beach is the most remote of the La Push beaches. To get here, it is a 3 mile round-trip hike through a forest. For the most part, it is a flat, easy hike, but it is a rather monotonous walk through the trees.

However, once you get to the beach, the view is very nice.

Third Beach Trail

Third Beach hikes in Olympic National Park

Third Beach

Ruby Beach

Distance: 6 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: Minimal | Time: 3 hours

This easily accessible beach is a very popular destination in Olympic National Park. It gets its named from the ruby-colored crystals in the sand.

Ruby Beach with Fog

Ruby Beach hikes in Olympic National Park

On the quickest of visits, you can simply park in the large parking area and then walk downhill to the beach. To turn this visit into a hike, walk north along the beach until you get to the Hoh River (6 miles round trip).

Best Hikes in the Hoh Rainforest

In the Hoh Rainforest, there are two trails that start at the same parking lot. Both of these are very easy walks and they are essential experiences to have in Olympic National Park.

Hall of Mosses

Distance: 0.8 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: Minimal | Time: 30 minutes

The Hall of Mosses trail loops through some of the oldest trees in the area. As its name implies, it is also one of the best places to capture photographs of the moss hanging from the trees.

Hall of Mosses Trail

Hall of Mosses

Spruce Nature Trail

Distance: 1.2 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: Minimal | Time: 45 minutes

The Spruce Nature Trail is a 1.2 mile loop which features more views of the rainforest and the Hoh River. This trail tends to be less crowded than the Hall of Mosses. It is possible to see black bear on this trail.

Spruce Nature Trail

Spruce Nature Trail hikes in Olympic National Park

Best Hikes in Staircase

Staircase Rapids Loop

Distance: 2.8 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Total Ascent: 285 feet | Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

On this short, easy hike, you will walk along the North Fork of the Skokomish River, through a temperate rainforest, with views of waterfalls and rapids.

With waterfalls, dense forests, and fallen trees, this is a beautiful place to explore. What makes it even better is that we saw a total of three people when we did this hike.

Staircase Rapids Loop

Staircase Rapids Bridge hikes in Olympic National Park

Waterfall hikes in Olympic National Park

The views are similar to what you get at the Hoh Rainforest, with enormous trees covered in moss and lichen, but with far fewer people, this was a much more enjoyable experience for us.

Mount Ellinor

Distance: 3.2 or 6.2 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Total Ascent: 2,400 or 3,300 feet | Time: 3 to 5 hours

Mount Ellinor is one of the tallest mountains on the eastern side of Olympic National Park. Your reward is panoramic views over the Olympic Peninsula and out to Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.

There are two ways to get to the peak of Mount Ellinor…a short and incredibly steep hike or a longer hike with a more gradual ascent.

This was a hike that was high on our to-do list, but drizzly weather and low-lying clouds created unfavorable conditions. We are hoping to do this hike on our next visit to Olympic National Park.

East Fork Quinault River Trail to Enchanted Valley

Distance: 26 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 2 to 4 days

Hike to the historic Enchanted Valley Chalet on an overnight backpacking trip.

This trek starts near Lake Quinault. For 13 miles, you will hike the East Fork Quinault River Trail through old growth forests until you reach the chalet. Bear, elk, coyote, mountain lion, and deer can sometimes be spotted along the trail.

This is typically done as an overnight backpacking trip. With a permit, you can camp at Enchanted Valley, Pyrites Creek, O’Neil Creek, or Pony Bridge.

Note: The national park service is considering dismantling and removing the chalet. Learn more here. 

Our Recommendations

Our favorite hikes are the Klahhane Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles (amazing views of Olympic National Park with some fun rock scrambling), Staircase Rapids Loop (a highly underrated hike through old growth forests), and the Mount Storm King + Marymere Falls combo.

The classic hikes for first-timers are Hurricane Hill, the hikes in Hoh Rainforest, and Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Wall.

If you want a short, easy hike, we recommend the Staircase Rapids Loop, Rialto Beach, Hall of Mosses, and Sol Duc Falls.

If you want to leave the crowds behind, hike to Mount Ellinor, do the Staircase Rapids Loop instead of Hoh Rainforest, hike the Klahhane Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles, and hike Shi Shi Beach, camping overnight.

Before you go, get updated trail and road conditions on the national park service website.


If you have any questions about the best hikes in Olympic National Park, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Washington:

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Comments 2

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      Author

      As for right now, you can save this as a PDF from your browser and then print it if you like. Currently, we do not have a copy for sale. We are turning some of our posts into printable PDF versions so I’ll put this one on my list. Cheers, Julie

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