Often referred to as "three parks in one", Olympic National Park encompasses three distinctlydifferent ecosystemsrugged glacier capped mountains, over 60 miles of wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old-growth and temperate rain forest. These diverse ecosystems are still largely pristine in character (about 95% of the park is designated wilderness)and are Olympic's gift to you.
Olympic is also known for its biological diversity. Isolated for eons by glacial ice, the waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Peninsula has developed its own distinct array of plants and animals. Eight kinds of plants and five kinds of animals are found on the peninsula and live nowhere else in the world.
Basic Information on Olympic National
Operating Hours, Seasons
The park itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Most roads remain
open year round, although several are subject to winter closure because of
snow. Some campgrounds are open year round, while others close for the winter.
Visitor center hours vary throughout the year.
How to Get to Olympic National Park
PLANE - Horizon Air (an Alaska Airlines affiliate) provoides
regularly scheduled flights to Fairchild International Airport in Port
Angeles from SeaTac Airport and from Victoria, British Columbia.
CAR - From the Seattle/Tacoma area, travelers may reach
U.S. 101 by several different routes, either by crossing Puget Sound on
one of the Washington State Ferries or by driving south around Puget Sound.
Travel time along any of these routes is approximately two-and-a-half
to three hours from the Seattle/Tacoma area to Port Angeles, where the
main park visitor center and park headquarters are located. All major
rental companies serve the SeaTac Airport. Rental cars are also available
on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Angeles, Sequim and Grays Harbor.
Weather & Climate
Olympic has a moderate marine climate with pleasant summers and mild, wet winters. Summers are generally fair and warm, with high temperatures usually between 65 and 75 degrees F. Summer is the driest season, with heavier precipitation during the rest of the year. Winters are mild, with temperatures at lower elevations in the 30's and 40's. At higher elevations, snowfall is generally heavy, with accumulations of up to 10 feet common. Closer to sea level, much of the precipitation comes as rain, with some infrequent snow fall. At any time of year, visitors should come prepared for a variety of conditions. Rain gear and layered clothing are a must. The Seattle office of the National Weather Service provides up-to-date weather information and forecasts.
The visitor center is handicap accessible.
Camping at Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park Campgrounds
The National Park Service operates 16 campgrounds with a total of 910 sites. Camping fees at park campgrounds range from $8.00 to $12.00, depending on the services and amenities provided at each one. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some remain open throughout the winter. Go to "In-Depth" to visit Olympic's expanded website for detailed information.
Things to Do at Olympic National Park
With Olympic's nearly one million acres and three distinct ecosystems, plan on spending at least one very full day to get a feeling for the park's diversity. With this amount of time, visitors often drive to Hurricane Ridge for a taste of the park's high country and mountain vistas. From there, a three-hour drive to the west will bring you to the Hoh Rain Forest, where over 12 feet of rain per year creates a stunning world of huge trees and profuse greenery. Views of the Pacific Coast and Olympic's wilderness beaches can be seen by an additional 30-40 minute drive to Rialto or Ruby Beach. Plan your day trip using our Frontcountry Planner, or an overnight backpacking trip by visiting the Wilderness Information Center.
Visitors interested in hiking or exploring some of the park's lesser-used areas should allow at least several days to see the park.
Basic orientation information, as well as exhibits and an introductory slide program are available at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles.
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