• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

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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.

  • Hurricane Ridge Road Closed to Vehicles Sunday 8/3 (6:00a - noon)

    Due to the "Ride the Hurricane" bicycle event, the road to Hurricane Ridge will be closed above the Heart o' the Hills entrance station from 6:00a to noon on Sunday August 3rd.

  • 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 »

Gray Whale

Underwater photo of a gray whale

Gray whales can sometimes be seen off the coast of the peninsula or feeding at the mouths of certain rivers.

Gray WhaleEschrichtius robustus

Identification:
Prior to protection measures in the last 60 years, gray whale population numbers were critically low due to over-harvesting. These large sea mammals usually measure between 50 and 60 feet from head to fin, and weigh over 30 tons. They are a mottled dark gray, a result of the barnacles, or parasites, that attach themselves and eventually fall off.

Habitat:
En route to summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea and other northern waters, gray whales often navigate the coastal waters of the Olympic Peninsula. Some even enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca and stay to feed for days or weeks. They can be seen feeding off the coast in late spring and summer, or feeding on bottom sediments at the mouths of the Hoh and Quillayute rivers in the summer.

Diet:
Typically, gray whales feed by scooping up bottom sediments, and filtering out the crustaceans from the sand and other debris with their baleen. They are also known to feed among kelp beds along the coast.

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Did You Know?

star-shaped purple flowers growing in a crack of a rock

That the Piper's bellflower is unique to the Olympic Mountains? Named after an early Olympic peninsula botanist, the Piper's bellflower grows in cracks and crevices of high elevation rock outcrops.