Olympic National Park is one of the many natural wonders that lie within the borders of Washington. The park is in the Northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, which is directly across Puget Sound from Seattle and the rest of Washington. The park can be classified into three distinct areas: the rainforest, the coastline, and the Olympic Mountain Range. Each of these offer some of the wildest, most pristine wilderness to still exist in the continental United States. The rainforest is temperate, and is one of only a few existing in the world. Within this area are two separate forests, the Hoh Rain Forest and the Quinalt Rain Forest, each named after the river that flows through them. Together these rainforests receive up to 140 inches of rain a year, making them the wettest areas in the continental US. Because of the abundant rainfall, the rainforest is blanketed with plant life on the floor, with mosses, ferns, and lichen covering just about everything. The forest is dominated by Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir trees, some of which tower over the forest at heights exceeding 300 feet. Naturally there is of course the amazing greennes that naturally abounds in a place receiving 12 feet of rain a year. The 73 miles of coastline is quite varied. Beaches are either sandy, rocky, or strewn with huge boulders and driftwood. Other parts of the coast have enormous majestic cliffs with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. On the coastline, animal lovers can sometimes spot puffins, auklets, and sea otters, amonger other creatures. The Olympic Mountains make up the third area of the park. These are the jagged, usually snow covered peaks you can see from Seattle when you look west. Mount Olympus is the tallest of the Olympic Mountains at 7,980 feet, and the mountain also has the third largest glacial system of any mountain in the United States. A very stunning view of these mountains, and the easiest to access is found at Hurricane Ridge, which is accessible by automobile and open from May to roughly the middle of fall.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
Lodging within Olympic National ParkEdit
1.Lake Crescent Lodge - Nestled in the woods along Highway 101 at the northern Olympic peninsula is the beautiful Lake Crescent, and the accompanying Lake Crescent Lodge. Most of the accomodations at the lodge are reasonably priced and spacious, but very sparta, as there are no telephones or TVs in the rooms. You're in the middle of the wilderness, so don't count on being able to channel surf while at the Lodge. However, with all the hiking trails and lake so close, you probably won't be spending much time in your room anyway. The nearby Mount Storm King trail is the one we recommend. Do not deceived by the short length of the trail at 1.7 miles, as it will make you work for every single foot of it. However, the stunning view of the mountains and Lake Crescent from the top are more than worth it. By the time you come down, you'll have worked up an appetite, so we highly recommend the restaurant at the lodge. You can't go wrong with the Northwest specialties of either salmon or the Dungeness crab.
Lake Crescent Lodge
416 Lake Crescent Road
Port Angeles WA 98363
1. Lake Crescent and Lake Crescent Lodge - A great place to set up as your home base while you explore the Olympic National Park. Lake Crescent is an incredible shade of turqoise blue with water so clear that in some spots you can see to depths of 100 feet. While it's very tempting to jump in, that's not recommended as the water temperature rarely rises above 60 degrees during the warmest. The lake is surrounded by mountains which offer abundant hiking opportunities. Lake Crescent Lodge is reviewed below under the "Hotels and Lodging" heading.
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to Olympic National ParkEdit
Getting there is a lot of the fun because one of the required Seattle experiences is a ride on one of the ferry boats that travel throughout Puget Sound. Keep in mind that on weekends you can spend some time waiting for space on a ferry boat, particularly in the summer. The best ferry boats to take are either the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry or the Seattle-Bremerton ferry. You can catch both ferries from downtown Seattle. For dock information, schedules and other details call 800-843-3779 or 206-464-6400. The Bainbridge Island ferry ride takes about a half an hour. From there, take Washington 305 north through Poulsbo to the Hood Canal Floating Bridge, and then take Washington 104 across to U.S. 101. The Seattle-Bremerton Ferry takes about 45 minutes. From Bremerton, take Washington 3 north to the Hood Canal Floating Bridge, which then will take you to U.S. 101.
The Washington State ferry system website link is here.
Exploring Olympic National ParkEdit
Practical information and resourcesEdit
Average temperatures and rainfall for Olympic National Park
One word - rain. 121.68 inches per year to be exact. Be sure to dress accordingly. Our recommendation is to have several layers of clothing. Be prepared for cool temperatures most of the year which will require at least a jacket, and perhaps a sweater. If you go hiking, you'll want to take off your jacket and sweater, so you'll be glad if you have on a t-shirt, or other type of shirt, under all the layers.
|Avg high °F (°C)||44 (7)||49 (9)||52 (11)||57 (14)||62 (17)||66 (19)||70 (21)||72 (22)||69 (21)||59 (15)||49 (9)||44 (7)||58 (14)|
|Avg low temperature °F (°C)||34 (1)||35 (2)||35 (2)||38 (3)||43 (6)||47 (8)||50 (10)||50 (10)||47 (8)||42 (6)||37 (3)||34 (1)||41 (5)|
|Rainfall inches (millimeters)||16.64 (422.66)||15.48 (395.73)||13.52 (343.41)||8.96 (227.58)||6.15 (156.21)||3.82 (97.03)||2.79 (70.87)||2.76 (70.13)||4.36 (110.74)||11.02 (279.91)||17.72 (450.09)||18.46 (468.88)||121.68 (3093.24)|
1. Lake Crescent Lodge Restaurant - The restaurant accompanying the Lake Crescent Lodge compensates for the ascetic accomodations of the rooms. The restaurant offers a very impressive array of entrées including salmon (naturally), Quilcene Oysters, and perhaps the local favorite, Dungeness Crab. The atmosphere is quaint and rustic, and exactly what you'd expect to find from a nice lodge made in the 1920's. One can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner while enjoying a stellar view of the almost unreal beauty of the nearby Lake Crescent. If you enjoy fine wine, then you'll especially enjoy this restaurant, as it won the "Washington Wine First Award for Fine Dining" from the Washington State Wine Commission in 2005. This is a fine dining restaurant, so it's a bit on the pricey side, but the food and service are outstanding.
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Renting Camping Gear for the Olympic National ParkEdit
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Complete tent camping packages can be rented from Olympic Camping Rentals in Port Hadlock, WA, located on the way to Olympic National Park.
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