10 Must-Do Hikes in Olympic National Park | Hiker’s Choice

Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park stands as a pristine natural wonderland, captivating adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and diverse ecosystems, this national park offers unparalleled hiking opportunities that will leave you in awe. From rugged mountains to ancient rainforests and rocky coastlines, Olympic National Park is a hiker’s paradise that beckons explorers from around the globe.

With over 600 miles of well-maintained trails crisscrossing through the park’s vast expanse, you’ll be treated to a remarkable range of landscapes and experiences. Each trail offers unique charm, unveiling hidden treasures and incredible natural wonders.

The park’s dense temperate rainforests are a sight to behold, where ancient trees covered in moss and ferns create a mystical environment. These lush trails lead you through a canopy of towering evergreens, where shafts of sunlight filter through the branches. This illuminates the forest floor and reveals a stunning array of plants and wildlife.

And then there is the rugged coastline, where dramatic cliffs meet the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. You can explore sandy beaches, rocky tide pools teeming with marine life, and iconic sea stacks that rise majestically from the shoreline. The coastal trails offer a chance to witness breathtaking sunsets and encounter wildlife such as seals, otters, and bald eagles.

So sit back and relax as we discuss 10 of Olympic National Park’s best hikes!

1. Hurricane Hill Trail

A beautiful summer day along the Hurricane Hill Trail in Olympic National Park
A beautiful summer day along the Hurricane Hill Trail in Olympic National Park.
  • Distance: 3.2 miles (round trip to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Time: 2-3 hrs 
  • Ascent: 650 feet from the trailhead at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the summit of Hurricane Hill
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

Hurricane Hill is a popular hiking trail offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca

The trail begins at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and ascends through subalpine meadows, leading you to the summit of Hurricane Hill. This 3.2-mile round-trip trail is moderately difficult but accessible for hikers of various skill levels. 

It’s especially renowned for its vibrant wildflower displays during summer, adding bursts of color to the picturesque landscape. You can expect encounters with wildlife such as deer and marmots along the way. 

There are breathtaking vistas at the summit that stretch across the Olympic Peninsula, making it a must-visit trail, especially if you are a photographer.

2. Sol Duc Falls

A hiker gazes down from the bridge to view the stunning Sol Duc Falls
A hiker gazes down from the bridge to view the stunning Sol Duc Falls.
  • Distance: 1.6 miles (round trip) 
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate 
  • Hiking Ascent: Minimal ascent, mostly flat terrain 
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

This hike offers a beautiful waterfall nestled amidst the lush temperate rainforest of the park. Hence, it’s a popular destination for nature lovers. The trail to Sol Duc Falls is approximately 1.6 miles long and offers a relatively easy hike. 

As you meander along the trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees and vibrant moss-covered rocks. The hike leads you to a stunning waterfall, where the Sol Duc River cascades down a series of rocky steps, creating a mesmerizing display of water and mist.

3. Lake Quinault Loop

Lake Quinault Loop trail hike through a serene, lush, and mossy rainforest
The Lake Quinault Loop trail provides you with a peaceful hike through a serene, lush, and mossy rainforest.
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Hiking Ascent: Minimal ascent, mostly flat terrain with some gentle inclines
  • Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Link to Trail Map: USDA.gov

This moderate trail allows you to explore the lake’s diverse landscapes, including old-growth rainforests, tranquil shorelines, and serene meadows. Spanning approximately 3.8 miles, the hike provides a scenic experience with breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. 

Along the way, you will marvel at towering trees, spot wildlife, and enjoy the peaceful quality of this natural gem. The Lake Quinault Loop is a great hiking option showcasing Olympic National Park’s pristine beauty.

4. Mount Storm King

Stunning view of Mount Storm King rising above Lake Crescent
Stunning view of Mount Storm King rising above Lake Crescent.
  • Distance: 4.1 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Hiking Ascent: 2000 ft. Steep ascent with rocky terrain and narrow ledges
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

This trail leads you through dense forests and steep switchbacks, offering stunning views of Lake Crescent and the surrounding mountains. With a distance of approximately 4.1 miles (round trip) and a steep ascent, this is the perfect trail if you’re an experienced hiker looking for a thrilling adventure. 

As you climb higher, you’ll encounter rocky terrain and narrow ledges. The summit of Mount Storm King offers breathtaking views of the emerald waters of Lake Crescent.

5. Shi Shi Beach

Massive sea stacks tower over the scenic seascape along the Shi Shi Beach Trail in Olympic National Park
Massive sea stacks tower over the scenic seascape along the Shi Shi Beach Trail in Olympic National Park.
  • Distance: 8.8 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Hiking Ascent: Minimal ascent, mostly flat terrain with some muddy sections
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

This scenic beach offers a unique and breathtaking experience with its rugged coastline, dramatic sea stacks, and pristine sandy shores. Accessible via a 2-mile trail through a lush forest, Shi Shi Beach is renowned for its natural beauty and abundant tide pools teeming with marine life. 

You can enjoy long walks along the shoreline, marvel at the towering rocks rising from the ocean. The sunsets over the Pacific here are stunning. This remote, untouched part of the park is a must-visit for those seeking a serene coastal escape in the heart of nature.

6. Ozette Loop

A hiker walks along a lovely wooden boardwalk through the forest on the Ozette Loop Trail
A hiker walks along a lovely wooden boardwalk through the forest on the Ozette Loop Trail.
  • Distance: 9.4 miles
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Hiking Ascent: Minimal ascent, mostly flat terrain with some muddy sections
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

This 9.4 mile long trail leads you through forested areas, boardwalks, and coastal sections.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the rugged coastline, encounter wildlife, and explore tide pools filled with fascinating marine life. The loop also includes a visit to Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous United States. 

The Ozette Loop is the perfect hike to view varied landscapes and beautiful coastal charm.

7. Klahhane Ridge Trail

 A woman hikes along the Klahhane Ridge Trail taking in some breathtaking mountain scenery
A woman hikes along the Klahhane Ridge Trail taking in some breathtaking mountain scenery.
  • Distance: 12.6 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Hiking Ascent: 2500 ft. Steep ascent with rocky terrain
  • Time: 8.5 hours

This challenging trail takes you on a steep ascent through subalpine meadows and rocky terrain, leading to the stunning Klahhane Ridge. Here you’ll find impressive views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

As you make your way up to the summit, you’re treated to vibrant wildflowers, glimpses of wildlife and breathtaking alpine views.

8. Marymere Falls

90-foot-tall Marymere Falls cascades down moss-covered rocks surrounded by old-growth forests and bright green ferns
The 90-foot-tall Marymere Falls cascades down moss-covered rocks surrounded by old-growth forests and bright green ferns.
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Hiking Ascent: Minimal ascent, mostly flat terrain
  • Time: 1.2 hours
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

This enchanting destination offers a short and accessible hike through a lush forest, leading you to a cascading waterfall surrounded by moss-covered rocks and towering trees. The trail to Marymere Falls is approximately 1.7 miles round trip, which is perfect if you’re looking for an easier hike.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll hear the serene sounds of nature and catch glimpses of the surrounding wildlife. The grand finale is the majestic 90-foot waterfall, where the rushing water plunges into a crystal-clear pool below. Marymere Falls is a tranquil and scenic spot, perfect for a peaceful hike through some of Olympic’s most beautiful scenery.

9. Royal Basin

hiking royal basin trail at olympic np
Hiker on Royal Basin Trail
  • Distance: 15 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Hiking Ascent: 3,500 to 4,000 feet (1,067 to 1,219 meters) from the trailhead to the basin. Significant ascent with rocky and challenging terrain
  • Time: 10-12 hours
  • Link to Trail Map: NPS.gov

This 15-mile round trip through dense forests, open meadows, and rocky slopes will definitely test your hiking skills. 

However, you will experience breathtaking views of towering peaks, pristine lakes, and magnificent glaciers. The basin itself is a picture-perfect alpine wonderland, with vibrant wildflowers adorning the meadows and the sound of rushing streams surrounding you. 

This demanding hike is recommended for experienced adventurers who seek a challenging wilderness experience.

10. Hoh River Trail

Hoh River flows throughout the snow-capped Olympic Mountains
The mighty Hoh River flows throughout the snow-capped Olympic Mountains.
  • Distance: Approx. 17.3 miles (one way) 
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Ascent: Minimal 
  • Time: 3-4 days, but you can choose to hike shorter sections or turn back at any point to adjust the duration of your hike.
  • Link to Trail Info: NPS.gov

The beautiful Hoh River Trail is located in Olympic National Park’s rainforest. It is renowned for its lush rainforest scenery and access to the glacier-fed Hoh River. 

Stretching approximately 17.3 miles (one way) through the Hoh Rainforest, this trail offers a captivating journey into one of the world’s most pristine temperate rainforests. There are towering moss-draped trees, vibrant ferns, and a symphony of wildlife sounds. 

The trail follows the Hoh River, providing glimpses of crystal-clear streams and occasional glimpses of majestic peaks in the distance.

Final Thoughts

Olympic National Park offers incredible hiking trails that showcase the park’s diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes. From the panoramic vistas of Hurricane Hill to the enchanting depths of the Hoh Rainforest, each trail provides a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Whether you seek alpine adventures, coastal vistas, or serene lakes, the top 10 hiking trails in Olympic National Park have something for everyone.

With their varying distances, difficulty levels, and scenic highlights, these trails offer you a chance to connect with nature, witness breathtaking beauty, and create lasting memories. Now is the time to experience Olympic National Park’s best hiking trails for yourself! Your next great adventure awaits!

National Parks List, Map, and Complete Guide (All 63 Parks + Downloadable List & Map)

Want a FREE complete list and recap of all our US National Parks as well as downloadable maps and other great resources? Check out our US National Parks List and Map guide!

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FAQs

What is the most popular hike in Olympic National Park? 

The most popular hike in Olympic National Park is the Hoh River Trail. Known for its stunning beauty, diverse ecosystems, and accessibility, the Hoh River Trail attracts many visitors every year.

Where is the best place to hike in Olympic National Park? 

Some of the most highly recommended areas for hiking within the park include Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest, and coastal trails like Shi Shi Beach and Rialto Beach.

What is the longest trail in Olympic National Park? 

The longest trail in Olympic National Park is the Hoh River Trail, which stretches approximately 17.3 miles (one way).

What is the hardest hike in Olympic National Park? 

The hardest hike in Olympic National Park is often considered to be the Mount Olympus Summit. The climb to the summit of Mount Olympus is a technically demanding and physically challenging endeavor that requires mountaineering skills and experience. 

It involves glacier travel, steep ascents, and potentially hazardous conditions. As such, it is recommended only for highly experienced and adequately equipped climbers.

What is the less crowded hike in Olympic National Park? 

The less crowded hike in Olympic National Park is typically the Dungeness Spit trail.

What is the most beautiful lake in Olympic National Park? 

Lake Crescent is often considered the most beautiful lake in Olympic National Park.

Need an Olympic National Park hiking map?

map of Olympic National Park
For your convenience, here is a map of Olympic National Park. NPS image

How do you get from Seattle to Olympic National Park? 

  • By Car: The most convenient way is to drive from Seattle to the park. Take the Bainbridge Island Ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. From there, follow Highway 305 to connect with Highway 3 North. Continue on Highway 3 until you reach Highway 104, which will take you across the Hood Canal Bridge. From the other side of the bridge, follow signs to Highway 101, which leads to the various entrances of Olympic National Park.
  • By Public Transportation: You can also take public transportation from Seattle to Olympic National Park. Take the Washington State Ferries from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. From there, you can catch a Jefferson Transit bus or arrange for a shuttle service that offers transportation to various destinations within Olympic National Park.
  • By Air: If you prefer to fly, you can take a commercial flight from Seattle to William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles. From the airport, you can rent a car or arrange for a shuttle service to take you to Olympic National Park.

About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

Let us know what you think about our content and if you have any questions, suggestions, or have any favorite memories or tips you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Travels! Sandy

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