We have included descriptions to give you a sense of what to expect on the trails from a relaxing stroll down a striking beach to a strenuous hike to a waterfall.
What do you most want to see in Olympic National Park?
I want to see incredible mountain views...
High country above the treeline: 1
I want to see a lush rainforest...
How far do you want to hike?
Less than a mile: 2
10-11 miles: 3
I want to see a misty waterfall...
Do you mind sharing the trail?
Away from crowds: 4
Easy access is more important: 5
I want to see coastal tidal pools and sea stacks...
North or south?
1. Hurricane Hill Trail
Get some altitude and have an alpine experience on Hurricane Ridge. A popular family hike is the 3-mile roundtrip Hurricane Hill. On clear days you will have extraordinary mountain and ocean views, including the Cascades and Vancouver Island. You may even catch sight of mountain goats near the top.
Bring along a windbreaker as the area tends to get windy. Check in at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to grab a map before hitting the trail. To avoid crowds and get a parking spot, arrive early since this area is super popular.
2. Hall of Mosses
Walk under a dense canopy of bigleaf maples and vine maples on the .8-mile loop called the Hall of Mosses. This short, .8-mile loop has educational signage along the trail, giving you insight into this beautiful rainforest. Large mammals like Roosevelt elk and smaller creatures like banana slugs live in this area, so you may be fortunate enough to catch sight of them on your hike.
3. Hoh River Trail to Five-Mile Island
For a 10.6-mile roundtrip hike without much elevation gain – less than 500 feet- hit the Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island. The trail begins at the Hall of Mosses and then continues for several more miles through dense mossy floor, past small streams and eventually to Five Mile Island. A great lunch spot, Five Mile Island offers wonderful views of Bogachiel Peak.
4. Lover’s Lane Loop
The roundtrip 6-mile Lover’s Lane Loop follows the Sol Duc River through a lush old-growth forest. You’ll cross a wooden bridge and boardwalk along the way. You’ll hear the thundering sounds of Sol Duc Falls before you see them. If you are lucky and the sun is out, you’ll see rainbows in the mist surrounding the falls. Don’t forget to look in the river for cutthroat and steelhead salmon that run in the fall and winter.
You can get to this trail by walking behind the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, which opens for the season in late March. In winter, the Sol Duc River Road can close because of snowfall, so check online before you head this way.
5. Marymere Falls Hiking Trail
This 1.8 mile roundtrip trail leads you through old-growth forest to the spectacular Marymere Falls. Stretching 90-feet tall, the falls drop into a small pool. A great outing for all ages, this trail is mostly flat and easily accessible from the Lake Crescent area.
6. Hole-in-the-Wall Trail
Take a 3-mile roundtrip walk to Hole-in-the-Wall, a sea-carved arch located 1.5 miles north of Rialto Beach. Along the way, you’ll discover incredible tidal pools full of starfish and other marine creatures, along with driftwood. Be sure to bring a tide table with you and walk to the Hole-in-the-Wall during low tide. Tide tables are available at any visitor center in the park and are mandatory. Without a tide table, you could end up trapped when the tides comes up. Take Mora Road and park at the lot right above Rialto Beach.
7. Shi Shi Beach to Point of Arches
Arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Pacific Northwest, Shi Shi Beach walk to Point of Arches is a stunning 9-mile roundtrip adventure. You start in groves of Sitka spruce, walking through the forest along often very, very muddy trails for two miles. The last section down to the beach is steep but worth the effort. Continue the last 2.5 miles to Point of Arches, which is a mile-long stretch of sea arches. Look for sea otters and creatures in tidal pools along the way.
Be sure to bring a tide table with you to avoid getting trapped when the tide comes up if you head south of Point of Arches. Tide tables are available at any visitor center in the park and are mandatory. Without a tide table, you could end up trapped when the tides comes up.
A Makah Recreation Pass is required for parking at the trailhead. One pass per vehicle is required. You can purchase one at Hobuck Beach Resort, Makah Tribal Center, Makah Marina and Washburn General Store, among other places. You can see all locations here makah.com/activities/