Wild Sights in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a collage of superlatives. Inside the park, you’ll find the Northern Hemisphere’s largest temperate rain forest and the world’s largest wild herd of Roosevelt elk.

Glacier-capped Mount Olympus rises nearly 8,000 feet, fringed by alpine meadows, forests and 57 miles of pristine coastline.

Most visitors begin at the Port Angeles Visitor Center, then drive 45 minutes to Hurricane Ridge Road. At nearly a mile high, Hurricane Ridge surveys spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks and doubles as a small ski or large sledding hill. Another easy drive from Port Angeles is the 30-minute jaunt to Lake Crescent, a 12-mile-long glacial lake.

To the south stands the Hoh Rain Forest and its 88-site campground. Consider this your base camp for nibbling off bits of the Hoh River Trail, a 17-mile path that hugs the edges of Mount Olympus. Expect plenty of peace and quiet: just 3.2 miles from the park’s Hoh Visitor Center, you’ll discover what’s been dubbed the “One Square Inch of Silence.” Insulated by old-growth trees and miles of surrounding wilderness, the space is considered the quietest place in the Lower 48—yet another Olympic superlative worth shouting about.

Find other things to see and do on the Olympic Peninsula.

—Amanda Castleman

Photo by Doug Dolde

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