2 Days in Olympic National Park

Experience mountains, lakes, beaches and rainforests, all in one national park.

Photo: Adobe Stock

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 2 days in the park.


Enjoy Scenic Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge Road.
Hurricane Ridge Road. Justin Bailie

Drive up the legendary Hurricane Ridge, home to a ski area in the winter, and enjoy incredible scenery as you ascend higher up into the park.

Hike Hurricane Hill

Mount Olympus in Olympic National Park
Mount Olympus as seen from the Hurricane Hill trail.Deposit Photos

Hike Hurricane Hill and get killer views of the Olympic Mountains. At the top see mountain goats, but keep 25 yards between you and them) and get a bird’s eye view of Port Angeles and Strait of Juan de Fuca, if it’s clear.

Soak at Sol Duc

Sol Duc Falls and Bridge
Sol Duc Falls and BridgeDeposit Photos

Head down Hurricane Hill to your car and drive to Sol Duc Valley to soak in the hot springs pools. After you dry off hike to Sol Duc Falls, a triple waterfall.

Spend the Night at Lake Crescent Lodge

Kayaking on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park
Kayaking on Lake Crescent in Olympic National ParkDeposit Photos

Built in 1915 and sitting on the shores of Lake Crescent, this charming lodge is a beautiful place to spend the night. Choose between lodge rooms, cabins or rooms in other lodging buildings. Spend some time in the lobby reading in front of the roaring fireplace and be sure to make advanced reservations for the lodge’s dining room that serves Pacific Northwest fare.


Walk Shi Shi Beach

A hiker on Shi Shi Beach. Photo by David Krause
A hiker on Shi Shi Beach. David Krause

If the tides are low before noon, hike Shi Shi Beach in the morning to explore tide pools and sea stacks which are only accessible at low tide. The beach itself is accessible during all tide levels for hiking and camping unless you want to venture past the Point of Arches. Beyond the point, you could get trapped if the tides come up.

Call the nearest ranger station, Ozette at 360-565-3130 for more information about tides and where you can pick up a tide chart. There are no visitor centers near the Shi Shi Beach trailhead.

As an alternative, if tides are low in the afternoon, first explore the Hoh Rain Forest in the morning (see below), then head west to the coast to explore the tidal pools at Rialto Beach in the afternoon. Rialto Beach is 27 miles from Forks and directly accessible from Hwy. 101.

Be sure to stop at a visitor center first to get a tide chart and to get more information about the tides, so you don’t get trapped strolling the coast if the tides come up. Dangerous areas at high tide include Hole in the Wall 1.5 miles north of the Rialto Beach parking lot.

Head to Hoh Rain Forest

The tree arch on the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh RainForest.
The tree arch on the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rainforest.Adobe Stock

Explore one of the last remaining temperate rainforests in the world and one of four in Olympic: the Hoh Rain Forest. Stroll the Hall of Mosses while you are there.

Dine at Kalaloch Lodge

Sunset view from the Creekside Restaurant at Kalaloch Lodge. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski
Sunset view from the Creekside Restaurant at Kalaloch Lodge. Gloria Wadzinski

Watch the sunset from the deck of Kalaloch’s dining room that sits right on the coast. It’s a spectacular spot to see the sun sink behind the Pacific Ocean. After dark, gather around Kalaloch’s community fire pit to share stories of the day’s adventures. Then spend the night at the lodge or one of the cabins overlooking the ocean.

Need an Olympic National Park map? Buy the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Olympic National Park map at REI.com. The map includes clearly marked trails and points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches, picnic sites, ranger stations and more printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.