Mountains, rainforests and beaches all in one day?
You betcha. In Olympic National Park, the diversity of landscape is something to behold. From the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the mossy, temperate Hoh rainforest to the wild, sea stack dotted Pacific coastline, you can have your head in the clouds in the morning and your feet in the sand by sunset. Dozens of hiking trails and wide open beaches provide endless exploration and wildlife sightings, so keep your eyes open for bald eagles, seals, sea otters and even the occasional whale. Whether you're in the park to hike, camp or just savour the solitude, this protected park is a wonderland of Washington's most iconic scenery.
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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Olympic National Park is located on Washington's Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The park covers 1,442 square miles (2321 km).
Olympic National Park makes a great weekend getaway, but you will definitely need a car to get around. If you're travelling from within Washington, or a neighbouring state like Oregon, driving yourself is the best option. The closest available airport is Sea-Tac International Airport which is about 2.5-3 hours from the park's gateway town of Port Angeles. Most major cities in the United States and internationally offer flights into Seattle.
Once you've acquired a car, you'll want to connect to Highway 101. 101 creates a 300-mile loop around the Olympic Peninsula that encircles the park, making it easy to access the various forests, beaches and mountain attractions.
The diversity of Olympic National Park is on display as the seasons change, with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. The best time to visit the park for hiking, backpacking and exploring in good weather is during the summer months of June-August.
If you're looking to avoid crowds, the coastline and rainforest areas in the park are open year-round, but some of the higher elevation areas will be closed off for weather concerns. Hurricane Ridge remains open on weekends in the winter for snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding, while the rugged coastline looks particularly wild in the winter months.
No matter what time of year you're visiting Olympic National Park, you'll want to pack sturdy hiking shoes, waterproof layers and a reusable water bottle. The park has a varied climate, so while you might be in shorts and a t-shirt on the coast, you'll probably need warmer layers to explore the alpine peaks. Washington is notoriously wet outside of the summer months of June-August, so proper rain gear is always a good idea, and sunscreen, a camera and a daypack will be helpful year-round.
Internet access and mobile phone service are spotty to nonexistent within the park. In neighbouring towns like Port Angeles or Forks, you'll be able to find a connection, and most accommodations within the park will have Wi-Fi.
Yes, there are black bears in Olympic National Park. When travelling to any wilderness area, it's always good practice to stay alert on trails, practice safe camping by using a bear canister to store food and keeping a clean campsite.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.