Olympic National Park is located in the western part of the United States in the northwestern part of the state of Washington. It is located on the Olympic Peninsula along the pacific coast. The park boundaries encompass an area of 1,441.6 square miles (3,733.8 sq km).
The park offers visitors three unique ecosystems through four distinct regions of the national park. The park features the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, temperate rainforest, and drier forests.
The coastal region of Olympic stretches a distance of 60 miles (97 km), however it is only a few miles deep. The beach terrain changes from sandy to wilderness to areas covered in rocks and boulders. Hiking the area is challenging because of slippery footing, vegetation, and rain forest weather.
The driftwood, sea stack boulders, forested and rugged coastline is quite picturesque. It offers photographers and artists a myriad of inspirational scenes.
The alpine areas are captivated through the Olympic Mountains toward the center of the national park. Hurricane Ridge is one of the most aesthetically majestic views of mountains. The range and mountain ridges are usually snow-capped and topped with large glaciers.
Mount Olympus reaches a summit of 7,965 feet (2,428 m). Hoh Glacier measuring 3.06 miles (4.93 km) is the largest of several glaciers atop Mount Olympus. The range away from the coastal side experiences less rain and becomes drier and displays rugged ridges. Mount Deception at 7,788 feet (2,374 m) is the highest peak in this part of the mountains.
The temperate rainforest is located in the western side of the national park, but inland from the coastal region. Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest account for this region and collectively get about 150 inches (380 cm) of rain a year.
Hoh and Quinault Rainforests are different from the traditional rainforest comprised of coniferous trees. These trees include Coast Douglas-fir, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and Western redcedar. Almost every tree is covered in some type of moss.
Wildlife includes many beloved species from the cute and cuddly to larger mammals and an abundance of predator species. The fun small wildlife includes chipmunks, muskrat, river otters, skunks, snowshoe hares, squirrel, and weasels.
Larger mammals include black-tailed deer, elk, and mountain goats on the land side with dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, whales on and along the coastal part of the park. Predators include black bear, bobcat, cougar, fox, and the lynx. There is a large variety of bird species occupying the different parts of the park.
- Hurricane Ridge
- Hoh Rainforest
- The rugged Pacific coastline
The peninsula creates a variety of unique landscapes and ecosystems that make up Olympic National Park. This makes the park a highlight for those who want to experience a variety all in one outing.
Without question taking the drive through Hurricane Ridge and capturing the various views of the majestic snow-capped and glacier topped mountains is a must. The Hoh Rainforest is also one of the most intriguing encounters with nature. It is imperative that you like the natural colors of green because the abundance of rain has created one of the greenest places on earth.
The tranquil trails through the Hoh Rainforest are truly the best way to turn off the world and escape back in time. The towering trees, fields of ferns, nurse trees, and abundance of mosses create the epitome of serenity in nature.
Britannica, Olympic National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Olympic-National-Park, retrieved September 2019.
National Geographic, Everything to know about Olympic National Park, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/olympic-national-park/, retrieved September 2019.
National Park Foundation, Pacific Wilderness, https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/olympic-national-park, retrieved September 2019.
National Park Service, Olympic, https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm, retrieved September 2019.
UNESCO, Olympic National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/151/, retrieved September 2019.