A visit to Olympic National Park presents the best of all worlds, here you'll discover stretches of rugged coastline combined with ancient glacial peaks and great swathes of coniferous forests, perfect for hiking and enjoying the fresh air.
Olympic National Park hiking trails are amongst the best in the whole of Washington State and thanks to the park's proximity to
(just across the Puget Sound) day trips by ferry are the ideal way to escape the urban sprawl. Due to the park's protected location much of the wildlife and plant species that you'll find here are unique to the area, from elk and marmots to bellflowers and cinquefoils, nature lovers will be in their absolute element.
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Glacier Capped Peaks - The Olympic Range Although not the highest, the Olympic Mountains are still really impressive and if you're hoping to achieve the ultimate in snow-capped panoramic photographs then head to Hurricane Ridge and you won't be disappointed. Mount Olympus, The Brothers and Mount Anderson make up just three of several summits and no matter where you hike in the park you'll never be far away from a shimmering glacier or fir-covered slope. A word of note: as the west facing slopes of the Olympic Mountains are considered to be the wettest in Pacific Northwest USA, packing your rain-mac is definitely advisable no matter what the time of year.
The Hoh Rainforest This is not just one of the largest rainforests in Washington State but pretty much the largest in the whole of America which all adds up to an amazing chance to explore in some sublime unspoilt wilderness. A walk through this mossy wonderland is a fabulous opportunity to see some of the weird and wonderful plants and trees that call Olympic National Park home and from Bigleaf Maples to Coast Douglas Firs, you'll find yourself in a complete and utter land of the giants.
The Pacific Coastline Stretching for around 60 miles and presenting all manner of sandy beach and rocky inlet, the Pacific coastline of Olympic National Park is a great option for day trippers. With a handy 3 mile board-walk (providing adequate means of navigating a large cedar swamp) this is the perfect way to make the most of life outdoors and undertaking the 9 mile Ozette Loop trail will take you all the way from Lake Ozette to the swells of the Pacific Ocean.
Sol Duc Hot Springs After a good day's walking amongst the forests and upon the sandy beaches of Olympic National Park there's no better way to ease yourself into the evening than a good old-fashioned soak in a hot tub. Sol Duc Hot Springs is one of the park's premier health resorts and thanks to the nearby naturally heated spring water you'll be able to relax and unwind in a series of soaking pools surrounded by forests as well as a perfectly placed poolside deli.
If green is your colour then Hoh Rainforest has to be at the top of your wish list as this is Olympic National Park's numero uno rainforest and literally dripping emerald and jade from every inch of its being. Moss, ferns and lichen thrive in this sort of mild and moist environment and the Hall of Mosses Trail (which can be found near the excellent visitor centre) is abound with maple trees offering low-hanging cassock spikemoss sleeves. Although under a mile the trail takes around an hour to complete and after a slight incline it does level out fairly quickly so don't be put off as the moss-covered maples that can be found along a side path are certainly well-worth a visit.
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