Hiking in Olympic National Park
Know your tides, or you might be trapped by high water. Tide tables are available at all visitor centers and ranger stations. Remember that a wilderness permit is required for all overnight backcountry visits.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Timberline Adventures. This outfitter does weeklong excursions around the Olympic Peninsula every 2 years. 800/417–2453. www.timbertours.com.
Hoh River Trail. From the Hoh Visitor Center, this rain-forest jaunt takes you into the Hoh Valley, wending its way for 17.4 miles alongside the river, through moss-draped maple and alder trees and past open meadows where elk roam in winter. Easy. Hoh Visitor Center, 18 miles east of U.S. 101, Olympic National Park, WA, 98363. www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hoh-river-trail.htm.
Hurricane Ridge Meadow Trail. A ¼-mile alpine loop, most of it wheelchair-accessible, leads through wildflower meadows overlooking numerous vistas of the interior Olympic peaks to the south and a panorama of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north. Easy. Hurricane Ridge Rd., 17 miles south of Port Angeles, Olympic National Park, WA, 98362. www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-hurricane-ridge.htm.
Cape Alava Trail. Beginning at Ozette, this 3-mile boardwalk trail leads from the forest to wave-tossed headlands. Moderate. End of the Hoko-Ozette Rd., 26 miles south of Hwy. 112, west of Sekiu, Ozette, WA, 98326. www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-ozette.htm.
Graves Creek Trail. This 6-mile-long moderately strenuous trail climbs from lowland rain forest to alpine territory at Sundown Pass. Due to spring floods, a fjord halfway up is often impassable in May and June. Moderate. End of S. Shore Rd., 23 miles east of U.S. 101, Olympic National Park, WA, 98575. www.nps.gov/olym.
Sol Duc River Trail. The 1.5-mile gravel path off Sol Duc Road winds through thick Douglas fir forests toward the thundering, three-chute Sol Duc Falls. Just 0.1 miles from the road, below a wooden platform over the Sol Duc River, you'll come across the 70-foot Salmon Cascades. In late summer and autumn, thousands of salmon negotiate 50 miles or more of treacherous waters to reach the cascades and the tamer pools near Sol Duc Hot Springs. The popular 6-mile Lovers Lane Loop Trail links the Sol Duc falls with the hot springs. You can continue up from the falls 5 miles to the Appleton Pass Trail, at 3,100 feet. From there you can hike on to the 8.5-mile mark, where views at the High Divide are from 5,050 feet. Moderate. Sol Duc Rd., 12 miles south of U.S. 101, Olympic National Park, WA, 98363. www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/sol-duc-river-trail.htm.
High Divide Trail. A 9-mile hike in the park's high country defines this trail, which includes some strenuous climbing on its last 4 miles before topping out at a small alpine lake. A return loop along High Divide wends its way an extra mile through alpine territory, with sensational views of Olympic peaks. This trail is only for dedicated, properly equipped hikers who are in good shape. Difficult. End of Sol Duc River Rd., 13 miles south of U.S. 101, Olympic National Park, WA, 98363. www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/high-divide-loop.htm.
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