Olympic National Park is a prime destination for hikers, as it encompasses almost a million acres of land and consists of several stunning landscapes. It is situated near Seattle, making it an ideal spot for a day trip from the city, and is also conveniently close to North Cascades and Mount Rainer National Park. Exploring Olympic National Park is an unforgettable experience due to its old-growth forests, the Olympic Mountains, and its alpine lakes.
Top Hikes in Olympic National Park
Are you looking for a great place to visit in the United States? If yes, then Olympic National Park should be your first choice. This guide will show you the best hiking trails in the park – from following the Hoh River to taking a stroll through the Hall of Mosses. Let’s get started!
1. Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier
The Hoh River Trail is a lengthy and difficult hike in Washington’s Olympic National Park. It follows the Hoh River and passes through the lush Hoh Rainforest, crossing paths with wildlife ranging from elk to bears. The full 34-mile journey to Blue Glacier can be done in one day or as a multi-day backpacking trip. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center marks the trailhead’s start; after a mile of hiking, you’ll reach the Hoh River. From there, you’ll cross multiple rivers and pass through muddy patches, until you reach Glacier Meadows, which is where the path starts to become steeper. Many prefer to do a day trip up to Five Mile Island and back. For those opting for a longer journey, be sure to get your camping permit for the trail’s out-and-back route. Distance: 34 miles one-way Difficulty: Hard Elevation gain: 1,837 meters Trailhead: Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.
2. Lake Crescent Via Spruce Railroad Trail
Lake Crescent Trail is a great hiking option for families with older children looking for a relatively simple, flat adventure. The shady forests and gorgeous lake views will make your day. There’s even a tunnel or two to explore for added fun. You can access the trail from either East Beach Road or Camp David Junior Road. Once you pass through the tunnel, you’ll find the Devil’s Punchbowl bridge and take in the scenery before turning around for the out-and-back journey. Set aside three to four hours for the trek, plus extra time if you’d like to have a dip in the lake. Distance: 11.2 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 125 meters Trailhead: Spruce Railroad Trailhead
3. Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge Trail
Searching for a brief but delightful hike? Check out the Hurricane Ridge Trail, one of the most accessible hiking routes in the Olympic National Park. Often referred to as the Hurricane Hill Trail, this paved path is very well-kept. As you ascend the summit of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and Vancouver Island. Plus, you could be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a mountain goat along the way! To reach the trailhead, head up to Hurricane Ridge Road. After passing by the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center (where you can ask any questions you may have to the National Park Service Rangers), continue onto the Hurricane Hill Parking Lot. From there, start trekking northward. Despite its short distance, the path quickly gains elevation. The trail is appropriate for those with moderate fitness levels and those who don’t mind a fast pace. Distance: 3.4 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 252 meters Trailhead: Hurricane Hill Parking Lot
4. Klahhane Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles
Do you consider yourself an experienced hiker? Do you take pleasure in tackling unclear routes? If so, you’ll surely love the Klahhane Ridge Trail to Mount Angeles. This trail, however, is not suitable for those who are faint of heart. You’ll be rewarded with lush green scenery along the ridge, and panoramic views at the top of Mount Angeles. This is the tallest peak near Hurricane Ridge and it will require navigating undulating switchbacks as well as loose scree and sudden elevation changes. Prepare to spend five to six hours on this moderate to difficult trek; it’ll be worth your effort when you reach the summit and can admire the breathtaking vista of Olympic National Park. Trail distance: 5.5 miles Difficulty: Difficult Elevation gain: 615 meters Trailhead: Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
5. Spruce Nature Trail
In search of a leisurely stroll that gives you a good dose of nature? Spruce Nature Trail is just what you need. This 1.4-mile loop meanders through the Hoh Rainforest and provides plenty of old-growth trees and dense undergrowth to see. The trail is particularly known for its unique nurse log phenomenon where seedlings sprout from fallen trees, giving you the sight of both ancient-looking trees as well as baby trees just breaking through the soil. The Spruce Nature Trail’s short distance makes it a great choice to add to your itinerary, even when you don’t have much time. Just remember to bring your camera as this trail may involve some mud but otherwise, it’s one of the easiest hikes in Olympic National Park. Distance: 1.4 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 5 meters Trailhead: Hoh Rain Forest Center.
6. Obstruction Point via Deer Park
Obstruction Point is a stunning out-and-back trail in the Hurricane Ridge area. You can expect impressive views of Mount Olympus and the surrounding mountain peaks. At 13.9 miles, this trail is perfect for a day trip, and you should allow around six hours to complete the entire hike. It is challenging in sections, so consider bringing trekking poles to navigate scree and wear strong hiking boots.
We suggest starting from Deer Park Trailhead instead of Obstruction Point Trailhead due to frequent closures at Hurricane Hill. The first few miles along this trail take you through thick woodland, after which you emerge onto the ridge and are greeted by gorgeous mountain views.
Hiking the Obstruction Point Trail via Deer Park is one of the quietest hikes on Hurricane Ridge – ideal if you want a more blissful hike in nature. It is a little trickier than Klahhane Ridge but a beautiful challenge if you are up for it.
Distance: 13.9 miles Difficulty: Difficult Elevation gain: 989 meters Trailhead: Deer Park Trailhead
7. Blue Mountain Trail
Blue Mountain Trail is so easy that it is more of a scenic stroll than a hike. The 0.4-mile trail loop around the top of Blue Mountain provides gorgeous views over the national park below. It is one of the shortest Olympic National Park hikes but one of our favorite hiking trails. Not only are the views stunning, but also, the drive up to the trailhead is exhilarating. You wind your way up the mountain through dense forest on a narrow stony track with no road rail in sections. You’ll have to take your time to tackle the road safely, but that shouldn’t be an issue since the drive is so scenic.
Once you reach Deer Park Campground, take a left turn at the fork and continue up the hill for another couple of miles. You’ll reach the Blue Mountain Trailhead here, and you can enjoy the fifteen-minute hike around the summit. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, rabbits, and bears.
Blue Mountain Trail is packed with nature, not just views, and it is the perfect length for those in a rush or families looking for an easy hike. The trail is also located just outside of Port Angeles, which is ideal for those basing themselves in the town and looking for a quick morning trip. Blue Mountain Trail is enjoyable and easy – a definite for your Olympic National Park itinerary.
Distance: 0.4 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 40 meters Trailhead: Blue Mountain Trailhead
8. High Divide Trail
The High Divide Trail is also known as the ‘High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin Loop’. The trail is a challenging 19 miles that take an average of 11 hours to complete – so arrive at the trailhead prepared with lots of refreshments. Luckily, you’ll stay inspired and motivated along the way. There is tons to see, from Sol Duc Falls to the Blue Glacier and (of course) the beautiful Seven Lakes Basin. Out of all these hiking trails, the High Divide Trail provides the most attractions en route, so if you want to pack a lot into the same trail, it is an excellent option.
You’ll start at the Sol Duc Trailhead, passing the waterfalls and heading straight past to reach Deer Lake. At Deer Lake, you’ll find a sudden elevation gain and head uphill, breaking the tree line and spotting beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Next up is a striking ridge, which emerges you out into Seven Lakes Basin – one of the best viewpoints of the whole hike. From there, it is a decent back through thick forest to the Sol Duc Trailhead.
Fancy extending your experience? Apply for a campers permit and stay the night at Seven Lakes Basin. The region is incredible for stargazing, and a backpacking trip is always a bucket list experience in Olympic National Park. Plus, that way, you can split the 19 miles over two days.
Distance: 19 miles Difficulty: Difficult Elevation gain: 1,642 meters Trailhead: Sol Duc Falls Trailhead
9. Sunrise Ridge Trail
Looking for a sunrise hike? Sunrise Ridge Trail (aka Sunrise Point Trail) is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park. The trail is relatively short and requires a moderate fitness level and basic hiking experience. It gets its popularity from its incredible views, which are particularly beautiful to experience at sunrise.
The snowcapped mountains in the distance are almost always in full view, with the ridge just above the tree line. The initial section of the hike is easy, and only the steep switchbacks at the end of the trail give it a moderate rating. By this point, though, you’ll have daylight on your side and (if you packed breakfast) a full stomach.
You’ll find the Sunrise Ridge Trailhead just past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. It is easily combined with other ridges in the Hurricane Ridge region. You can continue on the trail for a mile to reach Klahhane Ridge – which has stunning views of Mount Angeles.
Distance: 6.9 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 623 meters Trailhead: Sunrise Ridge Trailhead
10. Sol Duc Falls
We’ve already briefly covered Sol Duc Falls in the High Divide Trail. But, if you don’t fancy the long-distance hike, you can always just hike to Sol Duc Falls. The gentle walk is beautiful and the perfect trail to enjoy at a slow pace. You’ll be surrounded by photogenic scenery, and you can enjoy the old-growth forest and wildlife at ease without having to march off on a 19-mile hike. Instead, you’ll treat Sol Duc Falls as your endpoint, completing a short 1.6-mile return hike.
Sol Duc Falls is lovely to see up close; the three-pronged waterfall often creates rainbows in its spray. You can sit at the wooden platform at the endpoint to relax with views over the falls. It falls almost fifteen meters – quite the sight to behold.
Distance: 1.6 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 69 meters Trailhead: Sol Duc Falls Trailhead
11. Upper Dungeness Trail to Handy Camp
Ready for another riverside hike? Dungeness River is one of the most beautiful in the national park. Plus, hiking Upper Dungeness Trail is a great way to experience one of the park’s Douglas fir forests. Some trees grow to more than 60 meters high, and there’s plenty of moss and flora to admire on the forest floor. All the while, the Dungeness River rages beside you – attracting wildlife and bird song.
The hike is rated moderate difficulty, and you’ll need average fitness levels and the confidence to tackle a river crossing. At 6.5 miles, the out-and-back trail isn’t too tiring, and you can easily complete the hike in two to three hours. You start the hike at the Upper Trailhead. The trail endpoint is the Camp Handy shelter, where you can stop for a quick picnic before returning.
Upper Dungeness Trail to Handy Camp is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park if you want a scenic half-day forest hike. It is easy to navigate and a relatively easy hike – just allow a bit longer if you doubt your fitness.
Distance: 6.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 229 meters Trailhead: Upper Dungeness Trailhead
12. Royal Basin Trail
Royal Basin Trail is one of the prettiest hikes in Olympic National Park. The basin sits at the base of an alpine valley, with lots of peaks and alpine lakes and tarns to admire. If you want a taste of remote beauty, the Royal Basin Trail is the perfect day hike to find it.
Royal Basin Trail starts on the Dungeness Trail, and you stay on the trail until you see a bridge, at which point you don’t cross and instead bear right. The following five miles alternates between hiking through thick forest paths and a few short slopes. After a river crossing by Lower Meadow Campsite, you’ll cross a log bridge and reach Royal Lake – the first of the trail’s major attractions. Royal Lake is a pretty place to stop for refreshments, after which you continue around the lake to reach Upper Basin Trail. This final section of the trail is all alpine meadows and river crossings – plus a scenic waterfall in the distance.
Royal Basin Trail is perfect for adventurous hikers with reasonable fitness levels. The diverse terrain keeps the hike exciting. You need to be up for anything – be it using a log crossing or figuring out an unclear route in the middle of an alpine meadow.
Distance: 15.8 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 1,159 meters Trailhead: Dungeness Trailhead
13. Hall of Mosses Trail
The Hall of Mosses is probably the most famous of all the hikes in Olympic National Park. If you need more proof that Olympic National Park was one of the best national parks in the US, this trail is it. In fact, this short hike is one of the best hikes in the country. You’ll walk through lush forests covered in characteristic, thick, green moss. The Hall of Mosses Trail is film-set worthy and is one of the most picturesque sections of the Hoh Rainforest.
The trail starts by the visitor center, immediately heading into the Hoh Rainforest to a beautiful section of old-growth forest and flora. You’ll cross Taft Creek (famous for Coho salmon) and wander along a small, weaving forest trail. Make sure to stop for a picture at the moss-covered archway.
The Hall of Mosses is one of the best things to do in Olympic National Park, never mind just one of the best Olympic National Park hikes. It should rank at the top of your must-hike list when visiting the national park.
Distance: 1.1 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 24 meters Trailhead: Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center
14. Staircase Rapids Loop
Staircase Rapids Loop is a short trail that follows the North Fork of the Skokomish River. Rapids are always a beautiful sight to behold, but Staircase Rapids are doubly so. The water is a bright blue, and the riverbanks are covered in green moss – creating a colorful, striking contrast. The path runs alongside the rapids, with an old-growth forest and ferns on the other side. The combination of rapids and forest is beautiful and definitely worth bringing a camera to capture.
Start the hike by walking the Staircase Rapids Nature Trail, taking a right fork after about a mile. This trail leads you to a suspension bridge (with fantastic views down the river). You follow the trail at the junction to get back to Staircase Ranger Station.
Distance: 2.1 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 65 meters Trailhead: Staircase Ranger Station
15. Rialto Beach Trail
Have you heard of Rialto Beach? What about the Hole in the Wall? Well, the Rialto Beach Trail is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, and it combines the two. The first section of the walk covers the beach itself, where you can spot the famous sea stacks and peer into tide pools as you hike. You’ll need to time your walk with low tide, as the Hole in the Wall (the trail endpoint) is only accessible when the tide is low.
For those who don’t know, Hole in the Wall is a massive hole in the middle of a vast sea stack. Hikers can walk through the hole and explore its surrounding tide pools for sea life. The Hole in the Wall was created by a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. It is a favorite natural attraction – especially among photographers.
Allow around an hour to complete the Rialto Beach Trail to Hole in the Wall, plus a little longer to enjoy the popular attraction.
Distance: 3.3 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 33 meters Trailhead: Rialto Beach Parking Area
16. Mount Storm King
Are you up for a challenge? Mount Storm King Trail is one of the toughest but best hikes in Olympic National Park. The Mount Storm King distance is deceptively low; don’t be fooled. You’ll need excellent fitness (or lots of time) to complete the hike. The elevation gain is unrelentless and constant throughout. There’s even a rope section since the trail gets that steep.
You’ll start the hike on the Barnes Creek-Marymere Falls Trail, taking a left onto Storm King Trail at 0.6 miles. It is all uphill from there.
So, what makes this hike so incredible? In a few words, the summit. You’ll have breathtaking views over Lake Crescent and the surrounding Olympic Mountains. Mount Storm King has one of the best viewpoints in the entire national park – which is a lofty title considering its competition.
Distance: 4.1 miles Difficulty: Difficult Elevation gain: 642 meters Trailhead: Mount Storm King Ranger Station
17. Moments in Time Trail
The Moments in Time Trail is the most educational of our hikes in Olympic National Park. The short walk takes hikers on a fifteen-minute stroll through an area of lakeside forest, providing informative signposts along the way. You’ll learn about Lake Crescent’s natural and cultural history, a rare opportunity on most hiking trails. The Moments in Time Trail is ideal for families or elderly hikers who want an immersive experience without physical exertion.
Of course, there are viewpoints to enjoy as well. Hikers will find lots of little pebbled beaches along Lake Crescent’s shore – perfect for a cool-down dip. Don’t miss out on photo opportunities here, as the lake has beautiful views.
Distance: 0.7 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 3 meters Trailhead: Lake Crescent Lodge
18. Enchanted Valley Chalet
If you are looking for a backpacking trip in Olympic National Park, Enchanted Valley is the prime candidate. You’ll need to obtain a Wilderness Permit beforehand, but it will be worth it to camp in the Enchanted Valley. Since the trail is so well-maintained, it is an excellent option for beginners who want to dip their toes into multi-day hiking. The Enchanted Valley hike rates as moderate only because of the distance, as there is minimal elevation gain, and the route is totally untechnical.
The hike starts on E Fork Quinault River Trail, crossing Pony Bridge and numerous streams. You’ll emerge in the heart of Enchanted Valley, right by an old disused chalet. The chalet was once a hub for tourism and exploring the Olympic Mountains by horseback and on foot, so it is somewhat of a historical symbol in the Olympic National Park. You can set up camp for the night at one of the many campsites.
You can take many other routes from the Enchanted Valley, including the Graves Creek Trail (that leads you to Graves Creek Campground) and the Anderson Moraine Trail. Don’t be afraid to spend a few days camping in the Enchanted Valley to make the most of the different day hikes.
Distance: 27 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 989 meters Trailhead: E Fork Quinault River Trail
19. Sand Point Trail
Sand Point Trail is a coastal track that runs through a beachside forest on a photogenic boardwalk. The boardwalk through the coastal rainforest is as beautiful as the endpoint itself, so take your time and snap plenty of pictures. When you emerge onto the beach, you’ll reach Sand Point – which has stunning ocean and beach views. You can admire the sea stacks, explore to find tide pools or just relax at the designated campsite area.
Many people choose to extend the hike by venturing to the famous petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks. Make sure to only do this at low tide, and you can continue past the Wedding Rocks to loop back to the Ozette Coast Trailhead via the Cape Alava Trail if you wish. Otherwise, just treat the hike as an out-and-back trail. At 6.2 miles, it is easily one of the best Olympic National Park hikes to complete in half a day.
Distance: 6.2 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 104 meters Trailhead: Ozette Coast Trailhead
Visiting Olympic National Park is an incredible experience, and these best hiking trails are sure to make your visit even more spectacular. The Olympic Peninsula is full of surprises, but the best hikes in Olympic National Park are definitely our favorite.
Try out as many hikes as possible and have a fantastic trip. For an extra special experience, check out the best cabins in Washington State for accommodation inspiration.