Have you herd? A unique art installation has migrated to Olympic! Titled Conservation From Here, artist Joseph Rossano placed herds of Roosevelt elk outside Olympic National Park visitor centers in Port Angeles and the Hoh Rain Forest, and a special indoor installation at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. As with living elk, please admire without petting or riding them!
Roosevelt elk are a living legacy of one of our most celebrated conservationists, Teddy Roosevelt, for whom the species is named. The land that is now Olympic National Park was first set aside as a refuge for elk, which are still protected here today. This herd, cast in shiny, recycled aluminum, literally reflects viewers and their surroundings. It reminds us that we can all be conservationists in our own way, wherever we are.
Recreate Responsibly When You Visit Olympic
Know before you go. Download the official NPS app or visit nps.gov/olym to plan ahead.
Keep a safe distance of 50 yards or more from all wildlife. Never approach or feed animals in the park.
Follow the CDC’s public health guidelines.
Respect your limits. Be careful with challenging hikes or when trying new activities.
If you brought it with you, take it with you.
Keep it inclusive. Be an active part of making our nation’s parks and public lands safe and welcoming for people of all identities and abilities.
TRIP TIPS for your Olympic Adventures
Stop by your park visitor centers or ranger stations for information and park brochures.
Plan your travel using the park area descriptions below and the map and chart below.
Check park program schedules below for ranger-guided walks and talks.
Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area in the park. At 5,242 feet, it is located 17 miles up a gently winding road from Port Angeles.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center staff are available during open hours with information and trip planning. Picnic areas provide a chance to relax amid the breathtaking scenery. Along the trails you can take in views of glacier-clad mountains crowning miles of wilderness. Avalanche lilies, glacier lilies, lupine, bistort and tiger lilies dance beneath stunted subalpine fir trees. High-pitched whistles announce the Olympic marmot, found only on the Olympic Peninsula. Black-tailed deer feed in summer meadows and migrate downslope when cold recaptures the high country.
LAKES, LOWLAND FORESTS and RIVERS
Olympic National Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center provide information, exhibits, Discovery Room, wilderness camping permits, bear cans, park passes, bookshop and trails. Heart O’ the Hills campground, five miles south, has old-growth forest and nearby trails.
Elwha access road is washed out, but the valley is accessible by foot, bike or stock. Park at Madison Falls Trail parking. Stroll the easy, accessible trail to the falls, or walk the road and bypass trail into the valley. Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook, with dramatic views and exhibits about Elwha River restoration, is 3.4 miles one way.
Lake Crescent is a 624-foot deep shimmering glacier-carved jewel. Stroll the shore or the Marymere Falls, Spruce Railroad or Moments in Time trails. Lake Crescent Lodge and Log Cabin Resort offer restaurants, overnight lodging and boat rentals. Visitors enjoy Fairholme Campground and boat launch.
Sol Duc has many trails including Sol Duc Falls, a 1.6-mile round-trip walk from the end of the road. The campground has some reserved sites. Call (877) 444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov for reservations. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort offers warm and cool pools, food and lodging.
Ozette offers boating opportunities, a small campground on the lake and trails to the coast.
Staircase offers a riverside campground, old-growth forest and several trails.
The wilderness coast provides a dynamic scene. Lower tides expose sea anemones, sea urchins, sea stars and limpets strategically arranged on the rocks. It is important to leave tide pool animals in their homes, as moving just one animal can injure it and disrupt an entire community.
Kalaloch offers an expansive sandy beach. Kalaloch Ranger Station has information, exhibits and a bookshop. Visitors also enjoy campgrounds, Kalaloch Lodge, a restaurant and convenience store. For advance reservations at Kalaloch Campground during summer call (877) 444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov. Beach 4 and Ruby Beach are popular sites for tide pool exploration.
Mora offers a campground and ranger station less than two miles from Rialto Beach. Along the beach, you can hike 1.5 miles north to Hole-in-the-Wall. Second Beach and La Push are closed to the public as we go to print (May 2021), and may remain closed through this season.
Ozette You can reach the beach on a 3.1-mile trail to Cape Alava or a 2.8-mile trail to Sand Point; both routes are partially on boardwalk. A popular 9-mile loop combines these two trails with a 3.1-mile beach walk. Near the ranger station are exhibits and a small lakeside campground.
TEMPERATE RAIN FOREST
Drenched in over 12 feet of rain a year, west side valleys nurture giant western hemlock, Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce trees. Moss-draped bigleaf maples create a magical scene that obliterates all sense of time. Roosevelt elk may linger along riverbanks at dawn and dusk.
Hoh Rain Forest visitor center staff are available during open hours to provide information and park maps. The area offers self-guiding nature trails through primeval temperate rain forest, and a campground.
Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on the Quinault North Shore Road has intermittent staffing and nearby nature trails. The USFS/NPS Ranger Station and additional trails are located on the south shore of Lake Quinault. Throughout the valley, visitors enjoy rain forest hikes, lake activities, several campgrounds, lodging and restaurants.
Mileage chart with distances and times
Olympic National Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center (WIC) - Park information (360) 565-3130; WIC (360) 565-3100; 3002 Mt. Angeles Rd., Port Angeles, WA 98362
Elwha Valley - ROAD WASHED OUT about one mile beyond park boundary. Foot, bicycle and stock access only past Madison Falls parking.
9 miles, 0:30
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center - Follow Hurricane Ridge signs; no public phone.
22 miles, 1:15
17 miles, 0:45
Lake Crescent, Storm King Ranger Station - 106 Lake Crescent Rd., Port Angeles, WA 98362; (360) 565-2955
See page 4 for details on delays during the 3-year rehabilitation of Highway 101 along Lake Crescent.
39 miles, 1:00
21 miles, 0:30
Sol Duc, Eagle Ranger Station - 12000 Sol Duc Rd., Port Angeles, WA 98363; (360) 327-3534
16 miles, 1:00
59 miles, 2:00
37 miles, 1:30
40 miles, 1:15
Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center - 18113 Upper Hoh Rd., Forks WA 98331; (360) 374-6925
72 miles, 2:30
65 miles, 1:45
106 miles, 2:45
81 miles, 2:00
91 miles, 2:15
Kalaloch Ranger Station - 156954 Highway 101, Forks, WA 98331; (360) 962-2283
40 miles, 1:00
72 miles, 2:00
67 miles, 1:45
109 miles, 2:30
84 miles, 2:00
95 miles, 2:15
Mora Ranger Station - 3283 Mora Rd., Forks, WA 98331; (360) 374-5460
50 miles, 1:30
44 miles, 1:00
85 miles, 2:15
60 miles, 1:30
70 miles, 1:30
Ozette Ranger Station - 21261 Hoko-Ozette Rd., Clallam Bay,
WA 98326; (360) 963-2725
65 miles, 2:00
88 miles, 2:15
83 miles, 2:30
69 miles, 1:45
66 miles, 1:45
93 miles, 2:45
79 miles, 2:00
76 miles, 2:00
Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station - 913 N. Shore Rd., Amanda Park, WA 98523; (360) 288-2444
120 miles, 2:45
80 miles, 2:00
33 miles, 0:45
70 miles, 1:45
104 miles, 2:45
105 miles, 2:15
143 miles, 3:15
121 miles, 2:45
128 miles, 2:30
Staircase Ranger Station - 13921 Staircase Rd., Hoodsport, WA 98548; (360) 877-5569
126 miles, 2:45
124 miles, 2:45
170 miles, 3:45
149 miles, 3:00
191 miles, 4:15
140 miles, 3:30
120 miles, 2:45
120 miles, 2:45
109 miles, 2:45
100 miles, 2:30
MILES AND TIMES: Are we there yet?
Welcome to Olympic National Park!
Whether you are here for a day, two days, a week or more, many spectacular sights await your discovery in this vast and diverse wilderness park.
Highway 101 encircles the park and several spur roads lead to mountains, forests and coast. The center of the park, untouched by roads, offers incredible wilderness adventures.
Look for interpretive exhibits along park roadways. Pick up a self-guiding trail brochure at various park trailheads and some visitor centers. Use this chart and area map, along with the park brochure, to create countless trip combinations for a memorable vacation.
Visitor Centers and Information
Dates and Open Hours
See bulletin boards for additional programs and visit nps.gov/olym. Due to public health precautions, some visitor centers and ranger stations may limit indoor service or offer outdoor information and services at this time.
Will There Be Ranger Programs?
We hope so...but you should have a backup plan!
If we are able to offer ranger programs, visitors will be expected to follow current public health guidance and precautions during the program. We appreciate your understanding. Check with park staff, bulletin boards or at any park visitor center for ranger program schedules. You can also visit the park website (nps.gov/olym) or call the Olympic National Park Visitor Center (360-565-3130) to verify your plans, or get help making new ones!
Ozette Ranger Station - Staffed intermittently. Information available on area bulletin boards.
Mora Ranger Station - Staffed intermittently Memorial Day weekend through September 30.
Kalaloch Ranger Station - Staffed 9 am–5 pm Thursday to Monday, May 20–June 22 and daily June 23–September 30. Information and maps.
Storm King Ranger Station - Staffed intermittently Memorial Day weekend through September 30; see information on area bulletin boards.
Olympic National Park Visitor Center - Open daily.
Spring and fall hours, 9 am–4 pm; June 6–September 30 , 9 am–5 pm.
Information, maps, selected bookshop items, nature trails. Park information: (360) 565-3130. Recorded 24-hour road and weather updates: (360) 565-3131. Wilderness Information Center (WIC) - Open daily.
Spring and fall hours, 9 am–4 pm; June 6–September 30, 9 am–5 pm.
Backpacking information, wilderness permits, bear canisters. Wilderness permit reservations are online at www.recreation.gov/permits/4098362 up to 6 months in advance of the start of your trip.
HEART O’ THE HILLS
Entrance station and campground. Construction will affect Heart O’ the Hills this summer. Drivers should be cautious and expect stopped traffic at the fee booth. Please respect the reduced speed limits for your safety and the safety of others. Visitors and campers at Heart O’ the Hills Campground should expect construction activity, truck traffic and noise Monday through Thursday.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center - Staffed daily 10 am–4:30 pm in spring and fall; 10 am–5 pm May 31 to October 10. Building closes for the season October 11. Information, maps, trails. The cafe and gift shop are open weekends from May 7 to May 23, and daily May 28 to October 3; 10 am–5 pm.
HURRICANE RIDGE ASTRONOMY PROGRAMS
If safety restrictions allow, Master Observer John Goar will once again conduct his popular night sky programs at Hurricane Ridge this summer! As with other ranger-led programs, be prepared to follow current public health guidance. Check at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center for any scheduled programs. If skies are cloudy, programs will be canceled. For program status, call the park recording at (360) 565-3131 after 2 pm the day of the program.
Hurricane Ridge Astronomy Programs
Meet at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center for a one-hour astronomy program with telescopes. Look for a distant galaxy or the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Sunday June 27 through Tuesday July 13, 11 pm
Wednesday July 28 through Wednesday August 4, 10:30 pm
Thursday August 5 through Thursday August 12, 10:15 pm
Friday August 27 through Tuesday August 31, 9:30 pm
Wednesday September 1 through Tuesday September 6, 9:15 pm
Full Moon on Hurricane Hill
Learn constellations from astronomer John Goar on Hurricane Hill. Meet at the Hurricane Hill trailhead. As the sun sets and the full moon rises, hike at your own pace up the 1.6-mile, partially paved trail, climbing 700 feet to the summit. John will point out constellations at the top. Bring flashlights and wear sturdy shoes.
Friday July 23 and Saturday July 24, 9 pm
Saturday Aug 21 and Sunday Aug 22, 8 pm
All night sky programs are weather permitting! Please call ahead to see if programs will take place at 360-565-3131. An outgoing message will be updated during the afternoon.
Road is washed out.Foot, bike and stock access only above Madison Falls parking area.
HOH RAIN FOREST
Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center - Staffed 10 am–4 pm Friday to Sunday until May 23. Open daily 9 am–5 pm from May 24 through September 30. Open Friday to Sunday, October through December. Information, maps and trails.
Staircase Ranger Station Staffed intermittently. Hoodsport Visitor Information Center - Open Thursday to Monday, 9 am–4 pm. Operated by Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, off Highway 101 at 150 Lake Cushman Rd., Hoodsport. (360) 877-2021. General information, passes, maps. Olympic National Park wilderness permits and bear canisters available from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
QUINAULT RAIN FOREST
Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station - North Shore Rd. Staffed intermittently Memorial Day weekend through September 30; see info on area bulletin boards. USFS/NPS Recreation Information - South Shore Rd. Staffed daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday to Friday after Labor Day. Information, bookshop, maps. Wilderness permits and bear canisters available through Labor Day.
Holding It All Together
By Eliza Goode, Visual Information Specialist
To call the past year a reality check would be an understatement. As we try to make sense of how a global pandemic has changed our lives, we have all been taking stock of what we value, what we can live without, how we connect with one another and what we want to protect. There was a moment, early in the pandemic, when many of us found ourselves overcome with gratitude for services so “essential” that we once barely gave them a second thought: trash whisked away from our curbside, clean water flowing from the tap, grocery shelves full of life-sustaining bounty and twenty-three different kinds of chips. How did we miss it before, that these things are rather miraculous?
This is true of your national parks as well. The version you see on Instagram seems so effortless—you just get to show up and everything is laid out perfectly by nature, right? Roads carry you right to the places you want to go. Campsites nestle just where you would want to spend a night. Trails meander intuitively just the way a trail should. And when it all works, you might never consider that someone has planned and budgeted and labored to make it work. But behind the scenes, this is very much the reality.
Instagram vs. Reality
To build and maintain the roads, campgrounds, buildings and trails in a national park is a lot like keeping a city’s public works up and running. Imagine miles of toilet paper, multiple public water and wastewater treatment systems, and logistical support for remote backcountry trail maintenance, including a team of mules. Not only do the facilities, roads and trails we all use need to be serviced and maintained regularly, but there’s also work even further behind the scenes to make sure that service and maintenance are done in a way that impacts protected resources as little as possible. If that weren’t complicated enough, the administrative processes have become much more complex; regulatory requirements have increased for the water and wastewater systems, and visitation has increased for facilities that were designed for less use than they are supporting now.
Underneath It All
One such system lay beneath the picturesque meadow (above) just downhill from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. If you have visited before, chances are you snapped a picture of the magnificent blue panorama of the Bailey Range from just above this meadow, never guessing that just below ground lurked an antiquated septic system limping exhaustedly toward malfunction. It was built in 1951 and was never intended to handle waste on the scale of the millions of annual visitors Hurricane Ridge now sees. Suffice it to say that the system was well overdue by the time it was replaced in the summer of 2020!
There’s no denying that the septic replacement project disrupted some selfies and inconvenienced some visitors. In the midst of a surreal pandemic summer, folks seeking a bit of fresh air and space probably weren’t expecting to find heavy equipment tearing up the earth and massive rolls of sod in the parking lot! But the views we missed for a few weeks mean that visitors will now have access to working plumbing at Hurricane Ridge for years to come. And fortunately for park visitors, Olympic is a huge and diverse park with numerous other things to do and see! The Pacific Coast, temperate rain forest, waterfalls, rivers and lakes are all iconic in their own right.
This Is Water
There’s a parable that David Foster Wallace famously shared in a graduation speech, about some young fish swimming along. An older fish greets them with “How’s the water?” and one of the young fish wonders: “What the hell is water?” Some things are so much a part of our lives we forget that they make our lives possible. For the fish in the story, that’s water. When we visit a national park, that might be the hard work and loving care that goes into the buildings, utilities and maintenance of the place. This year has taught us all a lot about gratitude, and we hope you’ll join us in taking a moment to appreciate that the water is very nice indeed.