Visiting in Winter

Deep snow covers Olympic Mountains in winter.

Courtesy of Bill Baccus NPS Photo

From snow-blanketed mountains to evergreen forests dripping with rain and ocean beaches pounded by winter storms waves, there are many ways to experience winter in Olympic. Although most of the areas of the park remain accessible, there are few ranger-led programs and many facilities are closed. Before your visit, check the weather forecast and current road conditions and be prepared for rain and snow. Conditions can change quickly and what starts as a sunny day can end with hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions!

Hurricane Ridge parking area in winter.
Cross country skiing is a popular sport in the high country.

NPS Photo

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is the focal point for snow and winter recreation, with opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road opens Friday through Sunday during the winter season, but storms or avalanche hazards can lead to road closures at any time. Visit Hurricane Ridge in Winter for more detailed information.
Waves crash on 3rd Beach in winter.
Winter waves crash on 3rd Beach.

Courtesty of Sheltren NPS Photo

Winter is the perfect time for storm watching along the Pacific Coast. Rain, wind, and tides combine to create massive swells that crash against the shore. Coastal beaches are relatively snow-free and a walk along a sandy beach during low tide is a great way to explore the diversity of the intertidal zone.

A log bridge crosses a ravine in Quinault Rainforest.
Log bridge in the Quinault Rainforest.

NPS Photo

The Hoh and Quinault rain forests are excellent destinations once a bit of the snow melts. Winter is the wet season and the rain forest radiates in deep, healthy greens. Be prepared to get wet though, the rain forests get an average of 12 feet of rain per year.

Last updated: October 9, 2020

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