• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

  • Spruce Railroad Trail Improvements to Begin August 5

    Spruce Railroad Trail will be closed from the Lyre River TH to approximately 0.25 miles east of Devil’s Punchbowl. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. The remainder of the trail will be accessible from the Camp David Jr. Road TH. More »

  • 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 »

  • Safety Advisory: Rabies

    Rabies has been detected in a single bat in the Lake Crescent area of the park. Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if untreated. Anyone observing unusual or aggressive behavior among park wildlife should inform a park ranger as soon as possible. More »

Coast

round, spiny purple and red urchins & orange frilly nudibranch in tidepool

Spiny purple and red sea urchins share a tide pool with the frilly orange feeding tentacles of a sea cucumber.

Olympic National Park's 73-mile long wilderness coast is a rare treasure in a country where much of the coastline is prime real estate. The rocky headlands, beaches, tidepools nurturing a living rainbow of colors and textures, off shore sea stacks topped by nesting seabirds and wind-sheared trees-all are a remnant of a wilder America. In fact, in 1988, Congress added much of the narrow coastal strip of the park (and much of the rest of the park) to a national system of designated wilderness.

Sharing Protection
The intertidal areas, where the Pacific Ocean tides shape life, are also within the boundary of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The offshore islands with their colonies of nesting seabirds and rocky haulouts for seals and sea lions, lie within the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

A Layer Cake of Life
Peer into a tidepool and your view may take in hundreds of animals crowded into an area the size of a dinner plate. Cold, nutrient-rich waters upwelling from the Pacific Ocean floor feed a food chain extending from tiny invertebrates to many-ton whales. In the intertidal, that abundance is stacked in layers determined by the tides, competition and the reach of predatory neighbors. Each species tends to thrive in only a certain narrow band of habitat, rarely straying above or below.

"Working Between the Tides"
See science in action at Olympic National Park! Click HERE for this special video, part of the Science Minute Video series.

Pacific Ocean Newsletter
This newsletter is published quarterly by the Pacific Ocean Education Team (POET) of the National Park Service.

 
offshore islands in fog are beyond eroded arch in rock cliff in front
The eroded arch of Hole-in-the-Wall, north of Rialto Beach, with rocky islands and sea stacks beyond.

Did You Know?

Mossy trees in the Hoh Rainforest

...that one criterion for the determination of a temperate rain forest is that the amount of moss and other epiphytes exceeds the weight of all the foliage (leaves and needles) per acre by at least two times.