• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Spruce Railroad Trail Closed from Lyre River Trailhead to Devil’s Punchbowl

    The trail will be closed for improvements 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 »

Plants

bright pink flowers emerge from a low mat of green leaves

The bright pink flowers of smooth Douglasia rise only an inch or two above a dense mat of green leaves, an adaptation for growing in rocks high in the mountains.

From massive conifers over 20 stories tall, to minute clumps of pink Douglasia prying a life out of rocky peaks, the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park boast an amazing diversity of plant life.

Over 1,450 types of vascular plants grow on the Peninsula, nearly the same number as the British Isles—an area 30 times larger. In addition, hundredsof species of non-vascular mosses, liverworts and hornworts also live here.

Why So Much Diversity?
The park and surrounding Olympic Peninsula have snowy peaks that plunge to mist-shrouded coast. Misty temperate rain forest on the west side, lies only 34 miles from dry oak savanna in the rain shadow northeast of the mountains. These quick changes in elevation and precipitation mean a lot of different habitats are crowded into the area.

Click below to learn more about some of the typical vegetation at different elevations.

Though they are not true plants, many types of fungi and lichens also grow in these habitats.

Some of Olympic's plant species are not native to this area, see Invasive Exotic Plants to learn more.

 
green understory in open rain forest with straight, mossy trunks
Moss and Oregon oxalis paint the understory green amid Sitka spruce in the rain forest.

Did You Know?

dam with water flowing

Removal of two dams on the Elwha River is the second largest ecosystem restoration project in the National Park System.