Olympic National Park

Olympic Peninsula

Declared a national monument in 1909 and a national park in 1938, the 1406-sq-mile Olympic National Park shelters one of the world's few temperate rainforests and a 57-mile strip of Pacific coastal wilderness that was added in 1953. The park exists as one of North America's last great wilderness areas. Opportunities for independent exploration abound, with visitors enjoying such diverse activities as hiking, fishing, kayaking and skiing.

Fees are collected year-round at the Hoh and Heart o' the Hills entry points, and from May to October at Elwha, Sol Duc and Staircase entrances. (Payment is not mandatory where there is no entrance station or when an entrance station isn't open.)

Backpackers must register for overnight stays in backcountry areas. There's a $8 permit fee per person per night, valid for two weeks from purchase. Groups are generally limited to 12. You can get permits at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, at the Hoh visitor center, or at ranger stations throughout the park.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Olympic Peninsula attractions

1. Lake Crescent

14.38 MILES

If you're heading anticlockwise on the Olympic loop from Port Angeles toward Forks, one of the first scenic surprises to leap out at you is luminous Lake…

2. Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

15.97 MILES

Here you'll find the work of many of the professional artists who live on the peninsula. The gallery is high above the city amid a 5-acre sculpture garden…

3. Museum at the Carnegie

16.4 MILES

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe runs this museum in the beautifully restored old library building. Exhibits include artifacts from an ancient tribal village…

4. Feiro Marine Life Center

16.67 MILES

Hands-on touch tanks are inhabited by the aquatic denizens of the strait. The star attractions are the giant Pacific octopi.

5. Ediz Hook

17.63 MILES

A mostly flat, easy 1-mile trail offers beach access and mountain views on a clear day, along this spit looping around the bay in Port Angeles.