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Best things to do in Olympic National Park

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Where in the world: USA  /  Washington State  /  Olympic National Park

Top 15 things to do in Olympic National Park

1. Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach is the northernmost of the southern beaches in the coastal section of Olympic National Park in the U.S. state of Washington. It is located on Highway 101, in Jefferson County, 27 miles (43 km) south of the town of Forks.

Like virtually all beaches on the northern coast, Ruby Beach has a tremendous amount of driftwood. It is notable for the number of sea stacks there.

The beach is so called because of the ruby-like crystals in the beach sand.
Destruction Island is located about 4 miles southwest off the beach. The island and the Destruction Island Lighthouse can be seen from the beach.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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2. Hurricane Ridge

Ski and snowboard in winter or hike and camp in summer at Hurricane Ridge, a pristine site that affords all-encompassing views of the Pacific coastline. Sitting 1,598 m (5,242 ft) high in the mountains of Olympic National Park, in an intense wind zone, the ridge has unpredictable weather where it can snow any time of year. The drive along the ridge overlooks the Olympic mountain range with views of meadows and snow-capped peaks. Watch for wildlife here. Check the visitor center's information desk, which provides maps and tips regarding the park's facilities and regulations. A snack bar and restrooms are also available on-site.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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3. Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center

Visit , a lush, green wonderland of ferns, mosses, and trees that form a canopy covering much of the area. The temperate rainforest stretches 39 km (24 mi) along the Hoh River, and it is partially contained and protected by Olympic National Park. Explore this river valley, created by glaciers thousands of years ago, via the various trails throughout the forest. For a short hike, try the Hall of Mosses Trail, a 1.3 km (.8 mi) journey, or walk the 1.9 km (1.2 mi) Spruce Nature Trail. If you are interested in a longer adventure, take on the 27.8 km (17.3 mi) Hoh River Trail. Stop by the visitor center for more information on the trails and diverse wildlife you will have the chance to see. Campsites are available in the park, but be prepared for heavy rain depending on the time of year.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center:
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4. Olympic National Park

In Olympic National Park, ancient rainforests and ocean tidal pools at lower elevations contrast with wildflower-filled alpine meadows and snowcapped peaks. The park's 373,120 hectares (922,000 acres) include numerous hiking trails that stretch from moist, mossy, and leafy valleys up to jagged mountain peaks that hold snow into summer. Anglers cast their lines into some of the hundreds of lakes and streams that hold 37 species of fish, including coho, chinook, and sockeye salmon, while birders try to spot a few of the 250 species, including blue grouse, belted kingfisher, warblers, woodpeckers, kinglets, and sparrows. Tide pools hold colorful life forms, such as green anemones and purple starfish, while gray whales appear off the coast from March to May, and black bears, cougars, and elk roam the park's interior year-round. The lower elevations of the park remain snow-free through winter--the extra moisture during the rainy season brightens the forest's greenery.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Rialto Beach

Take in the spectacular driftwood formations at Rialto Beach, a pebbly beach contained within Olympic National Park. It can be a bit of a scramble over logs and rocks to reach the beach, depending on the tide, but you'll be rewarded with great views. The picturesque beach offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean from Washington's west coast. The driftwood, both onshore and offshore, casts interesting patterns on the ocean's surface. Photographers will enjoy spending time playing with angles and perspectives offered by the intersecting pieces.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Second Beach Trail

Stretching for 1.6 km (1 mi), Second Beach Trail takes you along a flat stretch of coast offering unparalleled views of the ocean. The offshore sea stacks attract oystercatchers, seabirds, and gulls, but the real attraction here are migrating whales (March/April and October). You will need a wilderness permit for overnight stays.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Quinault Rain Forest

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Lake Crescent

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Sol Duc Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Springs is a resort located in Olympic National Park, Washington state, that is best known for its soaking pools, hot tubs, and a swimming pool that are heated with the nearby hot springs. The resort is situated in a valley carved by the Sol Duc River.

The springs, known to local Native American tribes for their therapeutic value, first came to the attention of settlers in the 1880s. An elaborate resort opened up in 1912, and was characterized as "the most noted pleasure and health resort on the

Pacific Coast" until it burned down in 1916. The resort was rebuilt on a much less grand scale in the 1920s, and was operated into the 1970s until it ran into trouble with its thermal spring in the 1970s. These problems were overcome, and the resort was rebuilt in the 1980s. It continues to operate until this day, attracting thousands of visitors a year. Also located in the area is the undeveloped Olympic Hot Springs.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Hoh River Trail

The Hoh River is a river in the U.S. state of Washington, located on the Olympic Peninsula. About 56mi long, the Hoh River originates at the Hoh Glacier on Mount Olympus and flows west through the Olympic Mountains of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest, then through the foothills in a broad valley, emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the Hoh Indian Reservation. The final portion of the Hoh River's course marks the boundary between the coastal segment of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest, the Hoh Indian Reservation.
The Hoh's drainage basin is 299sqmi. Its discharge, or streamflow, has considerable seasonal variation, with summer streamflow averaging about one-third that of winter flows.
The Hoh is a glacial river fed by glaciers on Mount Olympus, such as the Blue Glacier. The glaciers grind rock into a fine glacial flour which turns the Hoh River a milky slate blue color. The river valley is generally broad and relatively flat, causing the glacial sediments to settle out, creating extensive gravel bars, river meanders, and the many side channels characteristic of a braided river.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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14. Ozette Loop Hike

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Hood Canal

Stretching through more than 97 km (60 mi) of unspoiled woodlands and wetlands, Hood Canal is a glacier-carved fjord that separates the Kitsap Peninsula from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. This natural waterway serves as a gateway to protected environment for marsh birds and provides access to hiking trails through lush forests. The western shore is dotted with small towns with thriving culinary and music scenes. Popular seaside activities include swimming, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and sport fishing. Seaplane tours offer a bird's-eye view of the area.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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