• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • 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 »

Forests

mossy branch descends from forest of old-growth trees

Western hemlock branch in old growth Douglas-fir/hemlock forest.

" to preserve...the finest sample of primeval forests of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas fir, and western red-cedar in the entire United States..."

These are the forests of Olympic National Park described in the 1938 act establishing the park. Now the diverse forest communities of the park and neighboring wilderness areas in Olympic National Forest are even more significant as rare islands of habitat surrounded by altered landscapes.

They form a dynamic green canvas from tree line to coast. Heavy snow, avalanches, fire, wind storms, landslides and flooding all interact to rearrange the colors or reset the clock. But the resulting forests are a vibrant, ever-changing palette of greens, textures, species and ages.

Some areas nurture trees that sprouted when the Mayan culture was thriving in the jungles of central America. While youthful willows and red alders sprout and die regularly on shifting gravel bars in the park's rivers.

Ecologists often classify forests by their elevation zone. Click below to learn more about each of these forest communities.

Did You Know?

belted-kingfisher1

The Belted Kingfisher will hover in place directly over a river, lake, or pond, watching for fish before diving to catch them.