Rainfall and Tides in Olympic National Park

Olympic has a reputation for rain—and true, parts of the peninsula receive 12 feet of rain every year, but summer brings warm, dry weather.
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Rainbow over Hood Canal

Rainbow over Hood Canal

It's Not Always Rainy in Olympic National Park

Olympic has a reputation for rain—and true, parts of the peninsula receive 12 feet of rain every year. Moist air from the Pacific moves east and collides with the Olympic Mountains, dropping its precipitation on the central peninsula. But summer brings warm, dry weather. Generally, Olympic has a mild, maritime climate.

The mild climate plus the rain is what creates the perfect habitat for a rainforest. The lush forests in the Quinault, Queets, Hoh, and Bogachiel valleys are some of the most spectacular examples of primeval temperate rain forest in the lower 48 states. See them in their glory during the rainy seasons in fall and winter (after snow melt).

Pack your Rain Gear

Rainfall varies widely across the park. Here’s what to expect in every season.

Olympic Coast Rainfall

Winter: 17"
Spring: 9"
Summer: 3"
Fall: 11"
Average Yearly Rainfall: 103"

Hoh Rainforest Rainfall

Winter: 18"
Spring: 10"
Summer: 3"
Fall: 13"
Average Yearly Rainfall: 135"

Port Angeles Rainfall

Winter: 3"
Spring: 1"
Summer: 0.8"
Fall: 4"
Average Yearly Rainfall: 26"

Ocean Tides

Visitors should also be aware of the tides when enjoying the coastal beaches. The coast sees two high and two low tides per day. Many headlands that provide easy walking at low tide become dangerously impassable at high tide and can strand unaware hikers.

Always carry a current tide table; you can pick one up at any visitor center. Or, you can download one here.

Related

Waterfall in Olympic National Park in autumn

Autumn in Olympic National Park

Elk bugling to show off to their harems. Huge colored maple leaves twice as big as your hand. Eagles, otters, and bobcats feeding on spawning salmon.

Cross-country skiing on Hurricane Ridge. Photo by NPS

Winter in Olympic National Park

The park is open 24-hours year round. Some roads, campgrounds and other facilities close during the winter season, but the park itself is always open!

Rainbow over Hood Canal

Average Weather for Olympic National Park

In summer, highs are around 65 to 75°F; weather is often sunny from July through September. In winter, heavy snow accumulates in the mountains.

Park visitors get advice, permits, bear cans and maps from rangers at the Port Angeles Visitor Center near the Hurricane Ridge Entrance Station

Olympic National Park Entrances

Accessed via US 101, which circles the peninsula, Olympic National Park has many entry points. Here are the six most popular.

Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park Ecosystem Zones

Olympic National Park contains four distinct and remarkable ecosystems—and even better, it’s possible to see all four in one day.

Storm waves on the Pacific Ocean at the beach

Winter Storm Watching on Olympic Coast

73 miles of coastline turn into a wave crashing show in the winter. From Nov through Feb, storms coming in from the Pacific have wind gusts up to 60 mph.

The sun breaks through storm clouds on Second Beach in Olympic National Park.

Mules Help With Weather Experiment in Olympic National Park

The Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) measures precipitation and help NASA fine-tune new weather satellites. Mules get the equipment into remote areas.

Hiking to Sunrise Point on the High Ridge Trail at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Located at 5,242 feet in the park’s northeast corner, Hurricane Ridge is accessible by car and the quickest way to reach Olympic’s alpine zone.

Olympic Coast Sea Stacks. Photo by Justin Bailie

10 Best Things to Do on an Olympic National Park Vacation

Olympic National Park and the surrounding areas are a Things to Do Mecca! You’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all in a single vacation.