• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    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 »

Short-tailed Weasel

A long-tailed weasel poking its head out from behind some rocks

A long-tailed weasel sticks its head out from a nest in some rocks.

Ken and Mary Campbell

Short-Tailed Weasel - Mustela erminea olympica

The Olympic short-tailed weasel is endemic to the Olympic Peninsula. Though short-tailed weasels are found elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, the ones in the Olympics do not turn white in preparation for winter. They have a brownish coat with a yellowish-colored underside year-round. These creatures are long and slender, allowing them to fit into nests and burrows of their prey. Despite their short legs, weasels are fast and strong creatures, often preying upon mammals larger than themselves. Their shorter tail distinguishes them from the long-tailed weasel.

The Olympic short-tailed weasel inhabits the lowland forests, up into the subalpine zone. Thee excellent swimmers that they are, weasels are most often found in open habitats near water, living in burrows of squirrels, chipmunks, and other small rodents that became prey to the weasel.

Weasels are carnivores, feeding mainly on small rodents. They are fast and strong, and have the capability of catching snowshoe hares which easily outweigh them. If given the chance, weasels will kill more than they can eat and store the remainder by burying it and enjoying it later.

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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.