Visiting Wilderness

"I have found that people go to the wilderness for many things but, the most important is perspective. They may think they go for the fishing or the scenery or companionship but, in reality it is something far deeper. They go to the wilderness for the good of their souls".

- Sigurd Olson


Over 95% of Olympic National Park's 876,669 acres is designated wilderness, encompassing and protecting one of the largest wilderness areas in the contiguous United States and offering visitors a chance to experience the park's amazing diversity in its natural state.

What is Wilderness?As defined by the 1964 Wilderness Act, a wilderness is " area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." The Wilderness Act created our National Wilderness Preservation System and provides the means for Congress to designate "wilderness areas," our nation's highest form of land protection. Today millions of Americans enjoy wilderness for hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, mountaineering, solitude, and more.

Planning Your Wilderness Trip While planning your wilderness trip, keep in mind this remnant of wild America is undeveloped and fragile. Make sure you are familiar with safety requirements and regulations before you go.

Sun pokes through the fog and trees.
Wilderness Trip Planner

Plan your back country wilderness trip here, to include places to go, rules and regulations and safety.

Olympic National Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.
Wilderness Permits and Reservations

The Wilderness Information Center is located in the Olympic National Park main Visitor Center in Port Angeles.

Mountains with some snow and a blue subalpine lake on a sunny day.
Wilderness Travel Basics

Are you prepared for what you will encounter on your hike? Read these travel tips to help prepare for your trip.

The Hoh River Trail surrounded by lush green rain forest.
Wilderness Trail Guide

Find more information on wilderness trails at Olympic National Park.

A bear-proof canister sits on a rocky area with snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Wilderness Regulations

Before you travel into the wilderness, be sure you know and follow wilderness regulations.

A tent sits in a mountainous area.
Wilderness Group Camping

Traveling into the wilderness with a group? Read through our safety tips and regulations first!

Two hikers travel through a snowy, mountainous landscape.
Wilderness Winter Travel

If you're planning to visit the Olympic Wilderness during the fall, winter, or spring, be prepared for inclement weather! Learn more here.

A man looks through a scope. A woman stands next to him.

Safety is the key to a great trip to Olympic National Park! Be prepared for wildlife, weather, tides, and wilderness.

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7 minutes, 26 seconds

This playful video will prepare backpackers to venture into the Wilderness areas of Olympic National Park. Viewers will learn what to pack, how to treat the natural resources with care, and how to avoid and survive the common risks and dangers of backpacking in Olympic National Park.

Last updated: March 8, 2024

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