• 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 »

Snowshoe Hare

A snowshoe hare at Hurricane Ridge crouches low to the ground.

A snowshoe hare at Hurricane Ridge

Ken and Mary Campbell

Snowshoe Hare - Lepus americanus

Snowshoe hares in the Olympic Mountains are quite unique. While snowshoe hares in other areas may molt from a brown coat to a white coat for the winter, the population in the Olympics does not. The "snowshoes," or large hindfeet, allow them to remain active throughout the winter, leaving unmistakable tracks in the snow. Many snowshoe hares become prey to larger mammals during the winter as they are one of the only small mammals that remains active above the snow cover.

Count yourself lucky if you spot one of these creatures. Though snowshoe hares are relatively widespread in the forests and subalpine regions of the park, they are quite secretive and nocturnal.

During summer months, snowshoe hares feed mainly on grasses and other greens. During the winter months, the snow cover brings them closer to conifer buds and shrub bark, which make up the majority of their diet during this time.

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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.