If I tell you that there is a place in the United States where you can hike in the mountains , walk in the forest AND enjoy the Pacific coast , all in one national park, do you believe me? We go west of Seattle to discover the wonderful Olympic National Park .
We can say that this park reconciled me with the beach. Normally, I prefer the mountains and especially mountain hiking. Not really the beach or the ocean. But that was before having had the chance to contemplate the most splendid beaches of Olympic and more generally of the northwest coast in the United States.
The park is enormous ; it takes several hours by road to cross it from west to east. It is full of beauty to discover and that is why you will prefer to be at least prepared for this visit. I show you how you can explore Olympic National Park at best , without unnecessary round trips and above all without missing themost interesting spots of the four different environments present in the park:
For each zone I give you the places that are to be seen in my opinion. Finally, you will find practical information to organize your visit and information on the different campsites.
In 1976, the Olympic National Park was recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve thanks to its tropical forests rich in giant ancient trees, its glaciers and its superb stretches of beach. In addition, the greatest density of biomass on the planet is in Olympic, hey yes! To be clearer, this means that the mass of organisms present in the park happens to be the highest on the globe. This biomass is mainly made up of hundred-year-old trees (between 200 and 1000 years old) found at Olympic. Some of these conifers are also among the largest living things on the planet.
In addition to being a national park and therefore a protected natural area since 1938, Olympic was also designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981. The primary reason for designating the Olympic Peninsula as a national park was the desire for protection of the elk population which was only 150 in 1912. Today and thanks to this protection, the elk prosper.
The main entrance to the park is in Port Angeles where the Olympic National Park Visitor Center is located. From there it is possible to go either to Hurricane Ridge or towards the coast;
To the southwest of the park is the Kalaloch Ranger Station which acts as another entrance to the park. We came back this way from Mount Rainier National Park .
Visitor centers : valid for 7 consecutive days. The national park pass is accepted.
Minimum duration of the visit : 2 days.
Opening hours : the park is open all year round, 24 hours a day. In winter, weather conditions may cause some roads to be closed. Visitor center hours can be foundon nps.gov .