Lowland Forests


Lowland Forests
Magnificent old-growth forests cloak the lower elevations on the park's north and east sides, with sparkling rivers flowing through the valleys.

Explore these lush valleys in the following locations...

Heart O'the Hills
Lake Crescent
Sol Duc


On the park's east side, about a two-hour drive southeast of Port Angeles, is Staircase. The North Fork Skokomish River rushes through the valley, providing a constant murmur beneath the ancient trees.

Staircase has a campground, ranger station (open daily in summer) with exhibits and information desk, nature trails, including a wheelchair accessible trail, and trailheads for longer hikes.

Visiting Staircase

Heart O' the Hills

Five miles south of Port Angeles on the way to Hurricane Ridge, the Heart O'the Hills campground is nestled among towering groves of Douglas fir, western hemlock and western redcedar. Hiking trails are nearby, including Heart O'the Forest trail, an easy four-mile round trip walk through the ancient forest.

More information and map of Heart O' the Hills (pdf)


A short 11 miles from Port Angeles, the Elwha Valley encompasses a large portion of Olympic National Park. The river begins at the headwaters some 40 miles into the park, and drains into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Elwha Valley also has two campgrounds, a ranger station, and both long and short nature trails, including a wheelchair accessible trail. Historic Humes Ranch, Michael's Cabin, and the magnificent Goblin Gates can all be accessed by the trails in the Elwha.

Visiting the Elwha


Lake Crescent
Lying in the Northwestern corner of Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent is a short drive from Port Angeles. Storm King Ranger Station, Fairholme campground, Lake Crescent Lodge, the Log Cabin Resort, and a variety of nature trails all serve the Lake Crescent area.

Visiting Lake Crescent


Sol Duc
The Sol Duc area lies in the northwestern corner of the park. The river itself is known as one of the greatest places in the park to watch the salmon jump over the Salmon Cascades in the fall.

There is a ranger station, a campground, and a variety of trails. While some of the trails explore the lowland forests, many of them, such as the Seven Lakes Basin loop, climb to subalpine meadows.

Visiting the Sol Duc

Looking for more of a wilderness experience? Make sure to check out the Wilderness Trip Planner for details about hiking, camping, and safety during your wilderness getaway.

Last updated: March 19, 2018

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