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Explore natural diversity in Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park stands out from all I have visited, because of the diversity. The Yellowstone is – compared to this one – pretty boring in terms of difference. Same goes for Grand Canyon, Badlands, Redwoods and the Great Smoky Mountains. They have certain characteristics that draw you into the national park. The Olympic, however, doesn’t have one major feature like a red deep canyon or geysers. In fact, this one gives you the opportunity to explore natural diversity.

View of a big blue lake with mountains surrounding the lake in Olympic National Park
The huge lake is only one part of Olympic National Park

The diversity also comes with the division of the Olympic National Park and Wilderness. If you take a look at the map of the national park, you will notice that you have a huge highlighted area in the mountain area and some smaller parts at the coastal area, which is disconnected by land. This makes this park unique and diverse at the same time.

Make Olympic National Park part of your West Coast Road Trip – Check out this perfect itinerary here!

Highest peaks in Washington

The main part and biggest part of the Olympic National Park is the mountain region. It holds the highest peak of Washington – the Mount Olympus with 7980ft (2432m). The neighboring peaks are just slightly smaller. Hint: Hiking lovers will find a lot of trails in these mountains. The website of the Olympic National Park listed all of them and will help you in choosing – Read more.

We have been at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to have a look at this marvelous scenery. The cool, fresh air on top of the mountain got accompanied by the amazing view of the mountain range – showcasing the Mount Olympus. Even in the middle of the summer season, you can still see the glaciers on the mountain tops.

Green grass in the foreground and the view of Mount Olympic and other high peaks from a visitors center in Olympic National Park
The incredible view of the highest peaks in Washington

At night time we went to the same visitor center to see the meteor shower, which was dated around these days. Many people came up here at night to see the shooting stars. For me, it was the perfect occasion to bring my skills for night sky photography to the next level. It was one of the clearest night skies I’ve seen.

Night sky with milky way and shooting stars, as well as the visitors center at Olympic National Park

It was one of the clearest nights, I’ve ever experienced.

The Milky Way at Olympic National Park is clearly visible and almost looks like clouds

Valleys and waterfalls

On the other hand, you can explore the valleys and waterfalls. We hiked to the Marymere Falls and Madison Falls – both very easy and short hikes. They are located in the North or valley side of the Olympic National Park. You mostly will encounter the old trees that are covered in thick green moss.

Moosy old tree with lots of branches covered in green at Olympic National Park
This isn’t the best example for the mossy trees, but I didn’t take many photos of the trees

Lakes and the coastal parts

There is one big major lake. The Lake Crescent is pretty large and has crystal-clear water. It’s perfect for boating, kayaking, and fishing. You will enjoy the peace, which the lake radiates.

Blue lake with crystal clear water and a rock in the shape of a box about 3ft deep in the water
I found a treasure box in the clear water 😉

The separated parts on the coast are still part of the Olympic National Park & Wilderness. Pictures of the mysterious, dusty coast with massive, rugged rocks made it around the world. When it’s low tide you can explore all the tidepools along the coast close to Kalaloch.

The foggy coast at Olympic National Park with huge black rocks and a black pebble beach
The well-known foggy coast in Washington

Further North is the Ozette Lake, from which you can hike to the coast. It’s supposed to offer spectacular views, even better than in the South. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hike the trail, because of a lack of time…

As you can see the North-West of Washington is a breathtaking place, where you can explore diverse landscapes in a “small space”. In my point of view, this is a paradise for nature lovers – and it’s so close to one of the largest cities in the U.S.!

Quick Info & Links

Where: North-West of Washington
Entrance: per car (valid for 7 days), Motorcycles
Olympic National Park – official website
Camping in the Park
Costs for camping: $15-23
Lodging in the national park
Find hotels around Olympic National Park here

 

What is your favorite national park?

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Curious who writes here?

Curious who writes here?

Adventurer, digital nomad, and freedom seeker - that's me, Nate the Nomad!
In October 2016, I packed my bags in Berlin and been roaming the world with my husband ever since.
We are slow travelers, who enjoy the freedom of the location-independent life! We love to go on little adventures and to learn about new cultures everywhere we go.

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