Home to the Olympic National Park, endless hiking trails, sandy beaches, temperate rainforests, a trail of waterfalls, and more, Washington States’ Olympic Peninsula is a summer mecca
for outdoor and nature enthusiasts.
Waves crashing on fine sand beaches, craggy, ancient trees sheltering wildlife, snowcapped mountains in the distance – the Olympic Peninsula is as entrancing as it is wild. Situated on the northwest corner of Washington State, it is truly a diverse blend of climates and natural wonders!
With crystal-clear lakes, three pristine rainforests, over 24 waterfalls, not to mention the coastal beaches, mountains, hot springs and more, the Olympic Peninsula is a slice of nature at its finest. Besides its outdoor gems, it is also dotted by a handful of small cities that boast unique cultural and community experiences.
Whether you visit for a day or a week, there’s no shortage of things to do. Here are some quintessential sights you should check when visiting this natural treasure:
EXPLORE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Declared a national monument, the Olympic National Park is definitely one of the area’s prime attractions. This 1406-sq park offers endless opportunities for adventure. Check out Hurricane Ridge, one of the most accessible mountain areas in the region. Named after its frequent winter storms, it has a number of hiking trails with panoramic views that’ll make you catch your breath.
The Hoh Rainforest is another must-see, as one of the only protected temperate rainforest in the Northern hemisphere. Both of these areas have convenient places to stay, either at their lodges or camping grounds.
You are never more than a stone’s throw away from a gorgeous, pristine beach in the Olympic National Park. Dotted with driftwood, there’s a lot to explore here, from tide pools filled with fascinating sea creatures to eye-catching arches and sea stacks. Some popular beaches include Ruby Beach, named for its sometimes ruby-coloured sand and the Kalaloch area, with its handful of beach trails. If it is tide pools you are after, check out Beach Trail 4, a dramatic pebble beach, which is also a popular place to smelt.
Lake Crescent & Sol Duc Valley
The picture-perfect Lake Crescent is another popular Olympic Peninsula destination. This glacier-carved lake is perfect for swimming, boating and trout fishing. You could choose to stay here at the Lake Crescent Lodge, one of the park’s oldest resorts. A network of hiking trails that lead to stunning waterfalls also surrounds Lake Crescent.
Speaking of waterfalls, if you only plan to visit one, make sure it is the mesmerizing Sol Duc Falls, which is renowned as one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls of the area. Sol Duc River is another must-see, with its streams of salmon. This area also offers lodging. For a more relaxing stay, check out the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, with its convenient access to hot mineral pools.
TAKE A CITY BREAK
When you’ve soaked in as much natural wonder as possible, why not take a city break? Here are two small neighboring cities to explore.
Photos by Istock. Washington Tourism, Olympicpeninsulablog.com