14 Top-Rated Hiking Trails in Olympic National Park

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Dec 23, 2023
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Olympic is one of the top destinations for hiking and the most diverse national parks in the country, comprising nearly a million acres on the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington. It's a proper choose-your-own-adventure place to visit, with glacier-packed peaks, ancient forests, and a rugged coastline. Millions of tourists head to the park each year, particularly in the drier summer months.

No roads enter the heart of the park, leaving hiking trails as the only way to discover the rugged beauty within. Great routes to follow are on all sides of the Olympic Peninsula, and memorable backpacking trips traverse the interior. Some views along the way include towering sea stacks, moss-covered trees, and glacier-capped horizons.

Olympic hiking trails cover it all. Everyone finds some magic on the trail, from family-friendly hikes through the rainforest to bucket-list adventures atop snow-covered mountains. Towns like Port Angeles and Forks offer good base camps for exploring, but the best way to get the entire Olympic experience is to spend the night at one of the park's many campgrounds.

Find your next postcard-perfect Pacific Northwest adventure with our list of the top hiking trails in Olympic National Park.

1. Hoh River Trail, Hoh Rain Forest

Hikers on the Hoh River Trail
Hikers on the Hoh River Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the few and finest examples of temperate rainforests in the United States. It's also one of the park's most popular places to visit. It's in the southwest region, a 30-mile drive from Forks. It's a popular day-use destination with a Visitor Center and a launching point for longer backpacking adventures.

The Hoh Rain Forest receives roughly 12 feet of precipitation yearly, with the heaviest downpours occurring between October and April. The result is a lush, forested landscape of plants upon plants, including an abundance of ferns, mosses, and nearly every shade of green on the spectrum. Giant Sitka spruce and western hemlocks add to this ethereal environment, including their canopies, towering more than 300 feet into the air.

Hoh River Trail
Hoh River Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

One of many great ways to experience the Hoh Rain Forest is the 17.4-mile Hoh River Trail. This iconic hiking trail follows the banks of the glacial-fed Hoh River, offering family-friendly day hikes and overnight adventures. The first 13 miles are relatively flat as the path navigates the rainforest's sights, sounds, and overwhelming presence.

For day hikes, visitors tour this part of the trail as far as they'd like before heading back. For overnight adventures (permits required), the trail continues, gaining significant elevation before reaching its terminus at the base of Mount Olympus and its Blue Glacier. Backpackers have several primitive places to pitch a tent, including gravel bars along the Hoh River.

Two other family-friendly hikes start at the Hoh River Trailhead, adjacent to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. The Hall of Mosses and Sitka Nature Trail feature a roughly mile-long looped route. Both trails travel through a rich environment with interpretive information and an accessible gravel path.

2. Rialto Beach, Mora

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Rialto Beach is one of Olympic National Park's most popular coastal destinations. It's on the north Olympic coast near the village of La Push, separating the Second and Third Beach near the outlet of the Quillayute River. Massive driftwood lines the pebbly shoreline, ultimately leading to some of the most outstanding coastal features on this side of the country. The beach is easily accessible from a beachside parking area.

The most common hiking option is heading north along the shoreline from the parking area and turning around whenever you feel like it. Sea stacks, sea birds, and a rocky shoreline define much of the time spent walking the shore. Hiking a minimum of 1.5 miles north of the parking area is recommended to reach the aptly named Hole-in-the-Wall rock formation. Here, a world of tide pools and sea stacks makes for easy photographs. This photogenic natural tunnel and the surrounding tide pools are best explored at low tide.

Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach
Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Rialto Beach is also popular for backpacking on the coast, with several backcountry campsites lining the trees opposite the ocean. And because the parking area is so close to the beach, a small congregation of spectators always gathers come sundown.

3. Hurricane Hill, Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Hurricane Ridge is an iconic destination in the park, easily accessible with an uphill drive from Port Angeles and the Olympic National Park Visitor Information Center. The high vantage point lends a spectacular skyline view of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Several hiking trails span from the main parking area and the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.

The Hurricane Hill trail spans 1.6 miles from the visitor center, gaining approximately 700 feet. Its wide, paved path caters to the crowds that gather in the summer and provides plenty of room to stop and appreciate the surrounding mountain scene.

The trail crosses through open forests with encompassing views the entire way and navigates three moderate switchbacks before reaching the top of Hurricane Hill. Be sure to appreciate the panoramic landscape before returning, including distant views of Vancouver Island on clear days.

Hikers on Hurricane Hill
Hikers on Hurricane Hill

A fire destroyed the 71-year-old Hurricane Ridge Lodge and Visitor Center in May 2023. The experience has been impacted, but the National Park Service re-opened the area to the public by the end of June. Vehicle entry is now capped and metered throughout the day, and visitors should expect zero resources like bathrooms, drinking water, or garbage disposal.

4. Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Marymere Falls is a family-friendly waterfall adventure on the park's northwest side, near the incredibly scenic Lake Crescent. The most common starting point for the hike is the Storm King Ranger Station. From here, it's less than a mile trek through an old-growth forest before reaching the 90-foot Marymere Falls.

A boardwalk wraps up and around the opposing rock formation, affording multiple vantage points of the falls. This extended viewing platform allows for several photo opportunities and plenty of time spent appreciating the immediate area. The viewing platforms all have handrails and see a lot of traffic throughout the summer, but still, parents will want to keep an eye on children while appreciating the falls.

Lake Crescent Lodge, near Marymere Falls
Lake Crescent Lodge, near Marymere Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Rather than hiking the same trail back, hikers can hop on the Moments in Time Nature Trail to make a loop back to the ranger station and parking area. This interpretive trail also branches off to connect with Lake Crescent Lodge and its brilliant shoreline.

5. Ruby Beach, Kalaloch

Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Ruby Beach presents the epitome of the rugged Washington coastline on the southern Wilderness Coast. It's a steep and paved trail from the parking lot, but it's the first accessible view of Ruby Beach that takes your breath away.

Various sea stacks tower in the distance, accompanied by the distinct squawk of seagulls. A dense collection of driftwood invites northern or southern travel along the sprawling coastline, and each changing tide reveals new discoveries.

This wild and rugged beach is an absolute pleasure for anyone who enjoys long walks beside the ocean. And with its western orientation, sunsets also tend to be nothing short of stunning.

6. Sol Duc Falls Trail, Sol Duc

Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sol Duc Falls is a popular family hike on the park's northwest side, accessible from the Lake Crescent region. The fall's proximity to the trailhead, less than a mile away, adds to its popularity. But as a churning example of the rapidly moving Olympic environment, its natural beauty also beckons the small crowds that gather on the bridge and boardwalk viewing platforms.

The short route navigates a lush forest environment encompassing towering trees and many shades of green. The falls are a picturesque attraction, and the boardwalk and viewing area provides multiple angles to appreciate the view. Expect other photographers to share the space when visiting in the summer.

Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The falls make a good turnaround point for an easy day hike, though users can continue as far as they feel comfortable. The trail begins ascending quickly after the falls, ditching at least 80% of the crowds and eventually entering the illustrious Seven Lakes Basin, with permits required for any overnight travel. Sublime alpine lakes like Deer Like are accessible within the Seven Lakes Basin with an eight-mile round trip and approximately 1,600 feet of elevation gain.

7. Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail, Quinault

Interpretive Information of the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail
Interpretive Information of the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail provides universal access to a moss-strewn landscape and a great introduction to the rainforest environment. The US Forest Service manages this lush landscape on the southwest part of the Peninsula, near the shores of Lake Quinault and the Quinault Ranger Station.

Visitors immediately encounter interpretive information and ancient trees from the bathroom-equipped parking area. The path continues for a half mile on a rolling and packed-gravel trail, following the tumbling waters of Wallaby Creek before eventually looping back to the parking area. Several interpretive plaques share information on the constantly evolving environment along the way.

For extended adventures, the Nature Trail connects to the area's more extensive Quinault National Recreation Trail System, including portions along the scenic Lake Quinault shoreline. Take some time to visit the Lake Quinault Lodge, which is celebrating its centennial in 2026, and home to the famous Roosevelt Dining Room.

8. Rain Shadow Loop

View from Blue Mountain summit
View from Blue Mountain summit

The Rain Shadow Loop and corresponding Blue Mountain summit provide equally outstanding views not far from Hurricane Ridge on the park's northeast side. The Rain Shadow Loop is accessible from the Deer Park Campground and Deer Park Road (open seasonally) and is a moderately graded half-mile hike that leaves visitors standing on top of the world.

Wide-spanning views of the national park's many resources are easy to see, including mountain peaks, forested slopes, and abundant waterways punctuated by nearby cities. For hikers looking to extend their adventures, the Rain Shadow Loop provides an excellent jumping-off point for longer hikes into the Olympic interior.

9. Kalaloch Coastal Hiking

Tree of Life, Beach 2
Tree of Life, Beach 2 | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Head to the Kalaloch area of the Wilderness Coast for a memorable beach adventure. Here, several miles of sand entice small and big adventures alike. The most common spot to access the sand is from the Kalaloch Campground, which has day-use parking available. Here, Kalaloch's beaches (Beach 1, 2, 3, & 4) stretch to the north for seemingly endless adventure.

Beach 1 and 2 along the Kalaloch coast offer easy beach walks, particularly at low tide when the beach is especially wide. It's an excellent stretch for families and anyone looking to experience the coast without trekking too far. Along this stretch, take some time to find the Tree of Life near the campground.

Beach 3 and Beach 4 offer more adventure. These beaches also offer a more rugged landscape, with vibrant tide pools to explore when the ocean is out. And beyond Beach 3 & 4, an open secret known as Beach 6 offers further adventure. Beach 6 is approximately four miles up the coast from the campground.

10. High Divide Trail (Seven Lakes Basin Loop)

High Divide Trail
High Divide Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Seven Lakes Basin Loop is one of the most popular backpacking trails in the park. It's on the park's northside and is most commonly accessed via Sol Duc Falls. The Seven Lakes Basin Loop spans approximately 19 miles, with its most stunning section on the High Divide Trail approximately halfway through. Hikers can also access this picturesque area via a turnoff from the Hoh River Trail.

The route climbs into the Olympic Mountains, eventually to the summit of Bogachiel Peak (5,474 feet). Here, if the clouds allow, an outstanding view of Mount Olympus and Blue Glacier rewards the overnight travel. And even if the clouds persist, several glistening lakes line the trail, offering scenic landscapes no matter the forecast. Black bears are also known to inhabit the plentiful meadows lining the route, alongside bountiful blueberry bushes throughout the summer.

Black bears on the High Divide Trail
Black bears on the High Divide Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Ultra trail runners may accomplish the route in a single long day, but the general public usually takes three to four days to complete the loop. Permits are required to spend the night and are hard to get based on popularity. Reservations are available on a six-month rolling basis.

Sol Doc isn't the only entrance into the Seven Lakes Basin. The Hoh Rain Forest is an alternative route, utilizing the Hoh River Trail to the Olympus Guard Station. It's a switchbacking 6.5 miles up to the High Divide Trail from the Guard Station. This route passes by the magnificent Hoh Lake. Users looking to make a point-to-point journey from Sol Doc to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center should look into the trailhead shuttles offered by the commercial Olympic Hiking Company.

11. Ozette Triangle Loop, Ozette

The Ozette Coast
The Ozette Coast

The nearly 10-mile Ozette Triangle Loop is one of the most popular coastal routes in the park despite its remote location on the far northern Wilderness Coast. It begins near the Ozette Campground at the Cape Alava Trailhead and treks into the lush forest and rugged beach landscapes from here.

After three miles of forested hiking, the ocean shore is audible before it becomes visible, and the actual introduction to the ocean is nothing short of spectacular. To complete the loop, hikers continue south on the beach to the equally scenic Sand Point and return to the trailhead via the Sand Point Trail.

The Ozette Loop has minimal elevation gain, making the 10-mile hike manageable in a day. Permits are also available to make the trip a backpacking endeavor. One of the biggest challenges of the trail is its remote location, near the northwestern tip of the contiguous United States.

12. East Fork of the Quinault River Trail, Quinault

The East Fork of the Quinault River Trail
The East Fork of the Quinault River Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This lush river trail is accessible from the Graves Creek Campground in the park's southern region. The approach includes a long gravel road from Lake Quinault, not accessible to RVs. Upon making it to the trailhead, users are ushered deep into a rainforest environment.

The 13-mile trail follows a rolling contour alongside a wild river, ultimately leading to the aptly named Enchanted Valley deep inside the park. A historic and retired mountain chalet can be found precariously close to the riverbank in Enchanted Valley, adding aesthetic value to the scenic surroundings. This iconic park architecture dates to the 1930s and is only available for picture-posing.

The length of the trail makes it a challenging marathon day hike to reach the mountain chalet and back. Most day users don't make it that far and turn back whenever they've gotten a good enough dose of the supreme nature that surrounds the trail. Backpacking permits are available for navigating the entire route over two or three days.

Enchanted Valley has a reputation for bear sightings and other wildlife, and all precautions must apply when traveling into this rugged region far from civilization. Proper food storage, hiking in groups, and making your presence known along the trail help avoid unwanted confrontations.

13. Mount Ellinor Trail

The view from Mount Ellinor
The view from Mount Ellinor

The Mount Ellinor Trail is a bit of a secret gem on the southeast side of the Peninsula. It's operated by Olympic National Forest, not the National Park, and accessible without paying any entry fees. This southeast location also puts the trailhead less than a two-hour drive from Tacoma and approximately 2.5 hours from Seattle.

Hikers wanting to visit the views afforded by the Mount Ellinor Trail have two options to access the elevated terrain. The Lower Trailhead accesses a 6.2-mile out-and-back adventure, which begins with a more moderate grade. The Upper Trailhead requires a Northwest Forest Pass to park at and enables a 3.2-mile route up and down the mountain with nothing but steep switchbacks the entire way.

Take a moment to appreciate the trail work needed to create and maintain either rugged route. The surrounding pointed horizon of the Olympic Mountains, in view the entire way, also deserves some admiration. Benches are placed strategically along the route to catch your breath and take in the elevated nature.

14. Third Beach to Strawberry Beach, Mora

Headland trail feature near Third Beach
Headland trail feature near Third Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The route from Third Beach to Strawberry Point is a popular coastal destination and bucket-list backpacking route. It's accessible from the small village of La Push, south of the Quillayute River and Rialto Beach.

The trail to Third Beach begins with a 1.3-mile trek through a tall forest before revealing the dramatic shoreline. Day hikers may be content with this short jaunt to Third Beach, including staggering sea stacks of all shapes and sizes, though more coastal splendor is found heading south to Strawberry Point.

Less than two miles after accessing Third Beach, hikers and backpackers encounter impassable parts of the shoreline. Here, rugged headland trails appear in the forest opposite the ocean. These trails circumnavigate the wake and lead to the next open beach. Two of these headland trails are needed to access Strawberry Point, and both utilize innovative features like ladders and ropes to navigate the steep terrain.

Third Beach coastline
Third Beach coastline | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

It's six miles to Strawberry Point, though it feels like more, thanks to the challenging headland trails. But the stunning and remote ocean views are well worth any effort. Anyone traveling this iconic beach route will want to set aside plenty of time to complete the hike.

Where to Stay near Olympic National Park

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • For a first-class stay in Port Angeles, lending almost immediate access to Hurricane Ridge, the Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles features pillow-top beds and an absolutely scenic location. Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and a short walk to the daily ferries departing to Victoria, British Columbia, the Red Lion also provides an outdoor pool, fitness center, and adjoining restaurant.
  • Farther east on the peninsula in Sequim, also known as the Lavender Capital of North America, Quality Inn & Suites at Olympic National Park provides instant access to the surrounding splendor and a multilingual staff to help accommodate all visitors.
  • Southeast of the park in Union, lending access to the rainforest environments of Olympic, the Robin Hood Village Resort provides an awesome vacation destination, with waterfront cottages and motel rooms. A historic property in a beautiful setting, Robin Hood Resort also provides on-site dining and electric fireplaces.

Budget Hotels:

  • A variety of affordable hotel options can be found near Olympic National Park, particularly on the east side of the peninsula. In the Lavender Capital of North America, the Econo Lodge Sequim is a popular budget option that doesn't skimp on service. Featuring great access to the north side of the peninsula, including Hurricane Ridge, Econo Lodge also provides clean rooms and a continental breakfast.
  • On the southeast side of the peninsula, closer to Seattle, the Belfair Motel has a good reputation for friendly service, clean facilities, and one of the best overnight rates around.
  • Near Belfair and closer to Tacoma, the Super 8 by Wyndham Shelton is pet-friendly and caters to the budget traveler who enjoys a comfortable bed.

Map of Hiking Trails in Olympic National Park

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