• 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 »

Olympic Marmot

An Olympic marmot holds a root in one paw

An Olympic marmot seen at Hurricane Hill, holds the root of a plant in its paw.

Ken and Mary Campbell

Olympic Marmot - Marmota olympus

Identification:
Nuzzling, playing, chirping, feeding together; the Olympic marmot is quite possibly one of the most social and gregarious mammals on the peninsula. They are endemic to the Olympic Peninsula, meaning they are found no where else in the world. The Olympic marmot is a housecat-sized rodent with a long, bushy tail. Adults can weigh 15 pounds or more before they enter hibernation in September or early October. They are often brownish in color, but may be yellow or tan colored when they emerge from hibernation in the spring, and almost black in the fall.

Family groups of one adult male, one or more adult females, and several cohorts of young share a home range of 1/2-acre to five acres. In any given year, about 30 percent of adult females produce litters of 1-6 pups. Pups initially stay close to their burrows when they emerge in late July, but by mid-August, they can be seen wrestling and chasing each other in enthusiastic play. Marmots have a sharp, piercing whistle that warns others of intruders or potential predators, and notifies hikers that they are in marmot territory.

Habitat:
Marmots occupy mountain meadows above 4000 feet. Although they are found throughout the Olympic Mountains, they are rare in the wetter southwest areas of the park. About 90 percent of Olympic marmot habitat is protected within Olympic National Park.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Olympic marmot numbers declined,
at least partly due to predation by non-native coyotes. Marmots and their habitat are also expected to be sensitive to climate
change. In recent years, marmots have also disappeared from some of the driest meadows in the northeast Olympic Mountains. In response to these concerns, in 2010 the park initiated a monitoring program that enables volunteers to record the presence or absence of marmots in many meadows throughout the park.

Diet:
Olympic marmots prefer fresh, tender, flowering plants such as lupine and glacier lilies. In May and June, they will eat roots and may even gnaw on trees. They can double their body weight in the summer and use stored fat during a seven to eight month hibernation.

The Olympic Marmot: Ecology and Research (2-page pdf)
Marmot Research and Related Links

Back to species list

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.