A bull elk in the midst of moss-covered trees.
A bull Roosevelt elk in the Hoh Rain Forest.

NPS Photo

Olympic National Park and its surroundings are home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Just offshore, whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters feed in the Pacific Ocean. Invertebrates of countless shapes, sizes, colors and textures inhabit the tide pools.

On land, some species, like raccoons, beaver and mink, live mostly in the lowlands. But others, like deer, elk, cougars and bears, range from valleys to mountain meadows. Park waters are home to some of the healthiest runs of Pacific salmon outside of Alaska. Over 300 species of birds live in the area at least part of the year, from tiny penguin-like rhinoceros auklets offshore to golden eagles soaring over the peaks.

Old Growth Refuge

The park is a rare refuge for species dependent on old growth forests, including some species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Olympic provides one of the last remaining large tracts of intact primeval forest in the lower 48 states. These moist forests provide essential habitat for northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and a variety of amphibians.

A Unique Community

The wildlife community of the isolated Olympic Peninsula is also unique. This community is noteworthy not only for its endemic animals (found only here), but also for species missing from the Olympics, yet found elsewhere in western mountains. Pika, ptarmigan, ground squirrels, lynx, red foxes, coyotes, wolverine, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and historically, mountain goats, did not occur on the Olympic Peninsula. Meanwhile, endemic species like the Olympic marmot, Olympic snow mole and Olympic torrent salamander are found here and nowhere else in the world!

Threatened and Endangered Species at Olympic

Olympic is one of the most diverse wilderness areas in the United States. Its wide variety of ecosystems provide habitat critical to the survival of sensitive species, such as wild salmon, northern spotted owls, and marbled murrelets. Olympic is truly a refuge for life at risk. It protects one of the largest remaining parcels of pristine habitat for some threatened or endangered species. Learn more about threatened and endangered species at Olympic here.

A bobcat in a forested area.
Terrestrial Mammals

Olympic National Park is home to 62 land-based mammal species.

A group of brown sea lions lounging on a rock.
Marine Mammals

The cold northern Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Coast provides a rich feeding ground for 29 marine mammal species.

A salmon swimming underwater.

Olympic National Park's 10 major rivers and the Pacific Ocean provide habitat for 37 species of native fish.

A bull frog on the forest floor surrounded by leaves.
Amphibians and Reptiles

The ponds, lakes, streams and forests of Olympic National Park provide the ideal habitat for 13 species of frogs, toads, and salamanders.

A small chickadee perches on a branch.

About 300 bird species add color and song to the diverse habitats found in Olympic National Park.

A yellow banana slug with brown spots slides across the forest floor.

Thousands of invertebrates, including starfish and slugs, call the Olympic Peninsula home.

Brightly colored purple and orange sea urchins in a tidepool.
Life in Olympic's Tidepools

Discover the underwater world at Olympic National Park's tidepools!

A small silver bull trout swims among grey cobbles.
Anadromous Fish

Several species of anadromous fish - fish that migrate from freshwater rivers to the ocean and back - can be found in Olympic National Park.

Last updated: October 17, 2022

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Port Angeles, WA 98362


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