• 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 »

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

Identification:
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.

Habitat:
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.

Diet:
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?

Mossy trees in the Hoh Rainforest

...that one criterion for the determination of a temperate rain forest is that the amount of moss and other epiphytes exceeds the weight of all the foliage (leaves and needles) per acre by at least two times.