Olympic National Park is unique among the 450-plus national park sites. Not only is it home to four of the world’s few remaining intact temperate rainforests, but it has a breathtaking coastline and incredible alpine peaks. Here’s how to make the most of 48 hours in the park.
Home to four of the world’s few remaining temperate rainforests, a breathtaking coastline and craggy mountain peaks, Washington state’s Olympic is unique among national park sites. Elevations range from sea level to 7,983 feet at Mt. Olympus. Its wild Pacific coast is speckled with tide pools and sea stacks where you can watch whales from the shore. And in the misty valleys, walk among giant trees including the nation’s largest Sitka spruce at 191 feet tall.
In light of the spread of COVID-19, trying to find out what is open and closed in our national parks is a moving target these days. The National Park Service is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make its decisions on what to keep open or to close on a daily basis.
On Feb. 2, 2021, the National Park Service announced an across-the-board mask requirement for all parks and federal buildings, commenting that the mandate is to “protect the health of those who live, work and visit our national parks and facilities,” in a statement.
“Wearing a mask around others, physical distancing, and washing your hands are the simplest and most effective public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said NPS Office of Public Health Director Captain Sara Newman.
Under the order released Feb.2, face masks are required at all times in all National Park Service buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on park service-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails. Additional public health measures may be in place at individual parks.
How to Be an Informed and Mindful Traveler
While the national parks reopening have made us cautiously optimistic about summer travel, we’ve identified 5 essential factors you should consider before you hit the road. And one last thing. Throw your propensity to assume out the window. As we’ve seen during this spring, there are no guarantees that businesses will stay open, virus cases will go down or stay-at-home orders will be a thing of the past.