• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    National Park Washington

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  • Ditch Maintenance Along Park Roads: Motorists May Encounter Delays

    Motorists may encounter delays along Sol Duc Road (9/30 - 10/1), Whiskey Bend Road (10/2), Deer Park Road (10/7-10/8), and Hurricane Ridge Road (10/9 - 10/10) due to routine cleaning of roadway drainage ditches.

  • Olympic Hot Springs Road Closed

    The Elwha Valley's Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed to public entry beyond the Altair Campground. Olympic Hot Springs is not accessible from the Elwha. The road is expected to re-open by Summer 2015.

  • Safety Advisory: Mountain Goats

    NPS has received reports of aggressive mountain goats near trails at Hurricane Ridge, Royal Basin, Seven Lakes Basin, Lake of the Angeles, & Grand Pass. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from all wildlife. More »

Euro-American Settlement of the Olympic Peninsula

Historic photo of the Anders Nylund home built around 1904

The Anders Nylund home was built in true Scandinavian style, just after the turn of the century on a slope above the Ozette River.


The westward homestead wave reached the Olympic Peninsula in the mid-19th century. The earliest settlers clustered along the coast, near Hood Canal and present-day Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and Neah Bay. In 1891 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Charles and Samuel Gilman's journey through the western Olympic Peninsula. They praised the potentially fertile soil, excellent pasturage, and abundant rainfall. Though infant colonies were established around the coastline, and isolated settlements and individual homesteads circled the inner core, their prediction that many people would come to settle never came true.

Homestead life on the remote Olympic Peninsula was tedious and hard. It began with building a cabin. Unless they used clearings maintained by local tribes, settlers expended enormous effort to clear the imposing forests for gardens, orchards and pastures. In the long, rainy winters, hunting and fishing helped feed the family. The challenges proved too much for many. But those that remained often wrote of the beauty and vast resources in correspondence to family back east. Slowly, the peninsula began to draw attention.

Did You Know?

Mt. Olympus in winter

That Mount Olympus receives over 200 inches of precipitation each year and most of that falls as snow? At 7,980 feet, Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Olympic National Park and has the third largest glacial system in the contiguous U.S.