There are so many places to go at Olympic National Park! These destinations are spread across Washington's Olympic Peninsula, and have separate entrance roads.
Visiting During Busy Periods
Like other national parks, Olympic has seen a dramatic increase in visitation over the last few years. Olympic hosts over 3 million visits each year. Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rain Forest experience crowded conditions during busy periods throughout the year, including spring break, throughout the summer, and especially holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day).
However, there are ways to navigate and avoid some of this congestion to make the most of your time in the park. Here are some tips for visiting Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rain Forest, two of the park's most popular summer destinations.
Visiting Hurricane Ridge
When to Visit
Peak summer visitation time is from 10 am - 2 pm. To avoid the crowds, try to arrive before 10 am or visit after 2 pm on normal weekends, and after 3 pm during holidays.
Entrance Station Wait Times
When the parking area at Hurricane Ridge reaches capacity, traffic is then metered at the entrance station at Heart O' the Hills, and vehicles enter as others exit. Wait times can be up to two hours, but vary based on visitor turnover.
Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge
The Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge burned down on May 7, 2023. There are no gift shop or food services available.
Take the Bus to Hurricane Ridge
Our #1 tip for visiting Hurricane Ridge this summer while avoiding the hassle and stress of driving and parking is: take the bus! Clallam Transit offers a special summer bus route from downtown Port Angeles to and from Hurricane Ridge. Riders must have purchased their passes to the park in advance and must purchase bus tickets. Learn more here.
Disappointed to find a long wait time at the entrance station? Keep alternate destinations in mind. You can explore a less-visited area of the park, then try to return to Hurricane Ridge later in the day or evening. Some nearby suggestions are:
Visiting the Hoh Rain Forest
When to Visit
For visitors wanting a quiet experience with fewer people and a better chance to see wildlife, we suggest arriving before 10am or after 5pm, or visit in the off season. June, July and August are the three busiest months for visitation. All trails and parking lots are busy during these months.
Entrance Station Wait Times
Starting mid/late June, the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center parking area can reach capacity by 10 am daily. Traffic is then metered at the entrance station, and vehicles enter as others exit. Wait times will vary based on visitor turnover.
Please do not exit your vehicle while waiting in line at the entrance station. Exiting your vehicle and walking on the narrow road is unsafe.
Parking at the Hoh Rain Forest
Even when the entrance station is not metering traffic, parking is difficult to find between 10am - 5pm during the week. Visitors can check the overflow parking areas near the campground rather than trying to park in the main parking lot.
Parking for large RVs: There are some RV designated parking spots. However, these fill up quickly. Visitors with large RVs should try to arrive before 10am or visit in the evening unless they are camping in the campground. If you are towing a trailer, consider unhooking the trailers before visiting the Hoh Rain Forest.
No Gas or Food Services
There are no gas or food services at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. Fuel up before you visit and remember to bring your own food. Pets are not allowed on the trails at the Hoh Rain Forest.
Disappointed to find a long wait time at the entrance station? Keep alternate destinations in mind. You can explore a less-visited area of the park, then try to return to the Hoh Rain Forest later in the day or evening. Some nearby suggestions are:
Everyone is welcome at Olympic National Park! Find out how to have an accessible adventure here.
Alerts & Conditions
Don't be caught unaware! Check our Alerts & Conditions page before your visit.
Learn about operating hours, fees, permits and reservations, bringing your pet, and much more!
Last updated: February 29, 2024