Olympic National Park Guide 2020 : National Parks Navigator

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Olympic National Park

What to visit?

You can see the Olympic Mountains on a clear day from Puget Sound , They are the backbone of the Olympic Penninsula with the highest peak of Mt. Olympus at 7,980 feet. These are not volcanic mountains like the Cascade Range to the East but a creation of the meeting of the Pacific Ocean and Continental tectonic plate pushing material skyward. Marine fossils can be found in the mountains here. These snow capped peaks are part of an incredible wilderness that includes rivers, several lakes and rain forest. Keep in mind that access is by car on two lane roads with possible connections made with Puget Sound ferries. The main road around the peninsula is US 101. Most visitors travel in a counterclockwise direction beginning their visit at Park Headquarters at Port Angeles. The Park also includes some 70 miles of Pacific coastline.

Wildlife commonly seen are deer, elk, black bear, lynx, cougar, bald eagles, sea otter and gray whales.

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Hiking is straightforward from the multiple visitor's centers and ranger stations. Backpacking into the wilderness areas requires permits. The Wilderness Camper's Site explains the process. Hurricaine Ridge offers a hike through meadows of alpine wildflowers, past and spectacular mountain vistas.

Visitor Centers are located at Port Angeles, Hurricaine Ridge and Hoh Rain Forest. Multiple Ranger Stations are in the Park among them Elwha, Storm King, Eagle, Forks, Ozette, Mora, Kalaloch and Quinault. The park provides an overview guide. Multiple trails are located thoughout the Park.

How to get to the Park?

ACCESS: Car access is most often through Route 101 and from Interstate Highway 5 from Tacoma. There is alternative highway access from the South on Route 12. See directions and access Map. Amtrak has train service to Seattle. Sea-Tac Airport is located on Interstate Highway 5 just South of Seattle. Washington State ferries take you accross Puget Sound at various points.

Where to stay?

ACCOMODATIONS: Camping: Only the campgrounds at Kalaloch and at Sol Duc accept reservations. The remaining campgrounds are first come first served. RV camping is available at Cresent Lake.

Lodges: Rooms are in high demand so reservations are required. See Log Cabin Resort on Cresent Lake

Recomended private lodging outside the park can be found at Port Angeles , on the Pacific Coast at Kalaloch, and in the Southern area at Lake Quinault.

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