Outbound Collective logo

7 Reasons Why Olympic National Park Should Be Your Next Destination

Wildlife, backpacking, forests, and drive through zoos make Olympic National Park perfect for anyone with a passion for the outdoors!

By: Austin Jackson + Save to a List

Olympic National Park, located in northwest Washington proves to be an excellent destination for the adventurer of any kind. With multi-night backpacking trips all the way to drive through zoos, the Olympic Peninsula is the perfect destination for families, climbers, hikers, and backpackers alike. Here are the top seven reasons to visit this National Park!

1. Mountain Goats

Photo: Austin Jackson

Hike to the Summit of Mt. Ellinor to see tons of mountain goats roaming around. Be warned, this is a leg burner, but is an excellent "bang for your buck" hike at just a bit more than three miles round trip. 

2. Beaches

Photo: Austin Jackson

Photo: Austin Jackson

Head west and hit some of the states best beaches, including Ruby Beach, Second Beach, and Rialto Beach. Even better yet, catch a sunset or camp overnight. I highly recommend checking out Second Beach at sunset, but the more beaches you can see, the better!

3. Sol Duc Falls/Hot Springs

Photo: Austin Jackson

Sol Duc Falls is a one of a kind triple waterfall that falls right in to a canyon. The hike to get there is short and easy (1.6 miles), and if you are feeling up for more of an adventure, keep going to Deer Lake (5.6 miles). After your hike, drive less than two minutes and soak in the Sol Duc Hot Springs to relax!

4. Hoh Rainforest

Photo: Austin Jackson

The Hoh Rainforest has tons of trails of all lengths that showcase its huge mossy trees and old growth forest. Trails range from 0.8 miles to the 17.3 mile backpacking trip. The rainforest receives some of the most rain fall in the country, so dress accordingly!

5. Lake Crescent

Photo: Austin Jackson

Rent a kayak, jump in on a hot day, or just admire this beautiful clear blue lake. You will be amazed how blue and refreshing the water is! If you do any hiking around the lake, this is a great place to have a picnic and play around in the water afterwards! 

6. Hike Storm King

Photo: Austin Jackson

If you are up for another steep and short hike, Storm King was made for you! This is the best view of Lake Crescent from above and requires some holding on to ropes to reach the top. Bring some lunch and have a picnic at the top, or wait until the climb down and hang out at the lake afterwards! I also recommend checking out Marymere Falls after you get back down to the bottom. It is on the same trailhead, and is less than two miles to the falls.

7. Waving Bears

Photo: Austin Jackson

If the hiking, mountain goats, lakes, or forests didn't get you, maybe this will. Waving bears! Drive through the Olympic Game Farm and watch as rescue animals flock right around your car. Roll down the windows and pet the animals if you'd like. All of the animals in the park are rescues, and many of them have starred in movies. Make sure to be on the lookout when you pass through the bears and try to catch one waving! This is a must see if you are bringing kids to the Peninsula. 

For more information on trip planning including lodging, restaurants, festivals, and farmers markets, visit the Olympic Peninsula Official Site.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


7 Photos from Fly Fishing the Olympic Peninsula

Marc Fryt

Hunger Games on the Trail to Olympic NP's Upper Royal Basin

Simanta Mahanta

10 Photos to Inspire You to Explore Olympic National Park

Nate Luebbe

Dispatches from the Field: 7 Images of Olympic National Park


Test Your Skills on a Sunset Hike to Olympic NP's Mt. Storm King

Garrett Schmidt