Your Guide To Hiking and Camping in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula
Visitors to the Olympic National Park might be caught off guard by its nearly-million acres. It could be a bit intimidating during the first trip or two, with several variations in landscapes and ecosystems, including 70 miles of wild coastline, ice-capped mountains, and rain forests. With high peaks, green forests, and never-ending shorelines, it might be confusing to know which hiking trails to take. For guidance, you’ve come to the right place. This article will highlight some of the best hikes in the Olympic National Park and nearby campgrounds, helping you take the guesswork out of the trip. There are 185 hiking trails throughout the national park, and nine are detailed below. Also, learn where your four-legged baby can and can’t go.
Family-Friendly/Beginner Best Hikes In The Olympic National Park
These trails are easy enough for the whole family to enjoy.
Located in the beautiful Hoh Rain Forest, this 1.8 -km loop trail takes approximately 24 minutes to complete. Open year-round; this area is listed as partially paved, rocky, and lined with wildflowers. It’s kid-friendly, and there are several stopping points throughout the loop.
Campgrounds Near Hall of Moss
This trail takes about 48 minutes to finish. The 1.7-mile path runs within view of a river and waterfall. It is worth mentioning that some consider the steps to be steep.
Campgrounds Near Marymere Falls Trail
Near Lilliwaup, Washington, this area is popular for campers and hikers alike. This well-kept loop trail is a bit over two miles and highlights some breathtaking views, short bridges, and sights of the rapids. While the trail is mostly flat, there are a few hills but it’s still considered an easy trail.
Campgrounds Near Staircase Rapids Loop
Best Moderate Hikes In The Olympic National Park
Are you looking for the best hikes in the Olympic National Park for a bit of a workout? These may be the trails for you.
To participate in this moderately challenging trail, you will need to start near Port Angeles. Plan on spending about two hours on this out-and-back trail. Have the camera ready to snap some pics of downed, decaying trees, huge evergreens, and plenty of ferns and other greenery. The lush forest will provide some wet and muddy spots as well as above-ground roots, but overall it is a well-maintained route.
Campgrounds Near Heart O’ the Forest Trail
For those looking for a longer path, Ozette is for you. This 9.4-mile loop trail averages a bit more than three hours. A cave and river are visible along the way, along with plenty of wildflowers, wildlife, and a stretch of beach. Plan on going during low tide and keep in mind that the boardwalk and the beach rocks will likely be slippery.
Campgrounds Near Ozette Triangle Trail
Starting near Forks, Washington, this mildly-challenging route provides a six-mile loop that averages a few hours to complete. A waterfall, river, and plenty of wildlife add up to make an entertaining outing. It’s a relatively flat walk, with plenty of shade. Another option to begin the hike is to park at Sol Duc Falls and connect to Lovers Lane after the falls.
Campgrounds Near Lovers Lane Trail
Best Advanced Hikes In The Olympic National Park
For those wanting to push through a long trail with slippery walk spaces and difficult paths, this section has you covered. Here are the three best hikes in the Olympic National Park that are considered advanced trails.
With a starting point near Port Angeles, Washington, this challenging out-and-back route averages 3.5 hours. Views and sights will include a river, wildlife, and a rock scramble. Don’t plan on much flat land on this route, as most of it is a noticeable incline. There are ropes to climb up the side of the cliff—a steep climb but worth the challenge to take in breathtaking views.
Campgrounds Near Mount Storm King
Spend some time on this trail that is also near Port Angeles. The eight-mile, out-and-back trail is considered pretty challenging and takes nearly five hours to complete. Sharp inclines and occasional fog fill out this path. Scenic views range from a lush forest floor with streams and a waterfall to a deep forest setting with lots of downed trees. On a low-cloudy day, views at the lake at the end of the trail are picture-perfect. Don’t forget to take advantage of the resting area along your journey.
Campgrounds Near Lake Angeles Trail
This loop is a doozy, measuring in at 19 miles. It’s a great choice for making camp in the middle of the route. Hikers average a trip time of 11 hours. Views from this extended hike include a waterfall, a river, and lots of wildlife and wildflowers. The elevation gain is 5,308 ft. Even in summer, prepare for snow to be covering everything. There are amazing views of Mount Olympus and the Seven Lakes Basin.
Campgrounds Near High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin Loop
While many campgrounds within the Olympic National Forest are pet-friendly, most hiking trails are not. The following locations and trails allow dogs, however.
- The beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations (Klaloch area)
- Madison Falls Trail (Elwha)
- Spruce Railroad Trail (the north shore of Lake Crescent)
- Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek (1/2 mile)
- Peabody Creek Trail (Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles)
- July Creek Loop Trail (the north shore of Lake Quinault)
Pets are also welcome in the picnic areas, drive-in campgrounds, and paved and dirt roads. Dogs shouldn’t be left unattended and should always be on leashes. For the dog’s safety, please don’t bring them onto tidal rocks as their paws can be cut by the sharp stone, leading to infection.
Start Planning Your Outdoor Adventures
Are you ready to grab your day pack and try some of the best hikes in the Olympic National Park? For help mapping out your route for your epic Pacific Northwest getaway, look no further than RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, estimate gas and trip costs, and more—all according to your travel preferences. Get RV LIFE Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today!
Levi Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with his wife and pets since 2015.