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.
As of Aug. 15, 2021, following the latest science and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to promote staff and visitors’ safety, the National Park Service is requiring visitors, employees and contractors to wear a mask inside all NPS buildings and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels.
Individuals looking to get COVID-19 vaccine can visit vaccines.gov or text their ZIP code to 438829 to find a location close to them and make an appointment.
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.
1. Every state has its own rules that vary dramatically.
Each state has different quarantine orders that vary dramatically from state to state. Within states, orders can even vary from county to county or town to town. For instance, on the Olympic Peninsula, the Quileute Tribe has closed the Quileute Reservation to the general public until further notice. The Makah Tribe closed the Shi Shi Beach Trailhead to the general public until further notice. There will be no access to Shi Shi Beach from the north.
2. Not everything in the park will be open.
Just because a national park reopens does not mean everything within the park is open. For instance, not all Olympic’s hotels have opening dates. Tours and rentals in Olympic will most likely will not open. And the park may not open its full-service restaurants other than takeout menus. Be sure to check each park website to ensure that the services you need are available. Lastly, avoiding crowds and practicing Leave No Trace principles in the park are more essential now than ever with reduced park staff. We’ve teamed up with organizations and brands across the outdoor industry to help you make smart decisions on recreating to keep yourself and others healthy and to keep access to our beloved public places open. You can read more about how to #RecreateResponsibly.