• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

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  • Enchanted Valley Temporarily Closed to Camping September 1-14

    To protect contractor and visitor safety, Enchanted Valley will be temporarily closed to all public camping during the relocation of Enchanted Valley Chalet. Hikers and stock users may continue to travel through the valley, must be escorted by park staff. More »

  • 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 »

Rivers and Lakes

Dark forest lines banks of rushing river with fog bank in back.

Planned removal of two dams on the Elwha River will open up 70 miles of pristine habitat to salmon again.

Water defines Olympic National Park. In cloud form it delivers abundant rain and snow. As frozen glaciers it sculpts the peaks. In snow-melt rivulets it waters mountain meadows then feeds powerful rivers rushing to the sea. Alpine tarns perch on peaks and several huge lakes lie in the lowlands. These streams, rivers and lakes are a circulatory system—life-blood of the park's diversity.

A Wheel of Rivers
Mount Olympus, the park's highest peak, is in the middle of the range. Rivers radiate out from the central mountains like spokes on a wheel. On the park's west side, valleys are broad and U-shaped and rivers meander over wide floodplains. On other sides, the rivers are often constricted into narrow, steep-walled valleys.

Highways of Life
With protected headwaters, these are healthy, dynamic watersheds where natural processes like flooding, log jams, and nutrient cycling prevail. To learn more about the watery wealth of Olympic, click on the links below.

 
narrow trees and open slope reflected in still mountain lake water with snowy peak in background
Mount Duckabush and subalpine slope reflected in the still water of Hart Lake in the headwaters of the Duckabush River.

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.