Olympic National Park is the largest national park in the state of Washington. Sitting on the Olympic Peninsula, bordering the Pacific Ocean, the park is about 3-4 hours from Seattle. It is a collection of natural beauty, coming in all different forms. After living in Seattle for 7 years, this is the first time I have ever come here.
Obviously, the best hike in the park is Hurricane Ridge. About 40 minutes from Port Angeles, the ridge, sitting atop the Olympic Mountain Range, is a great way to really see the area, from a height. First, go to the visitor’s center. They have a great resource center. Ask the rangers what to do, where to go, all the rest. Although you’ll likely get the same answer I got. ‘Hurricane Ridge Trail.’
The most popular and best trail, you have to do this one no matter what. About 2.5 to 3 hours round trip, it has the best views, an awesome place for lunch at the top, and isn’t as difficult as some of the others.
On the way to the top, you will notice several patches of snow, even in the summer. Due to their position, they are there all year, every year.
Make sure you bring a few bottles of water to combat the heat, and maybe some food for lunch if you want to eat up there, which I think is a great idea, and it certainly worked for us. Getting to the top, we walked around for a little while, enjoying the scenery. We actually found a field of snow with a pond in the middle that was frozen over. How that survives summer, I don’t know.
At the top, you will notice several friendly animals. First, we saw Japing the Chipmunk, and then Albert the Deer (Naming rights to my younger sister.) You aren’t supposed to, but they are just so cute, so we fed them some our sandwiches.
After getting back down the mountain, the long hike took a toll on us, so we decided we needed a swim! The best place to swim in Olympic National Park, and quite possibly the best place in Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent is an extremely clear fresh-water lake surrounded my green mountains, with a lodge sitting on it’s shore. All of us loved it, and although the stop included me getting stuck on the other side of the lake on a paddleboard, it is well worth several hours of dedicated paddling, swimming and sun bathing.