Entering Olympic National Park from the north (Port Angeles).
Olympic National Park is the United States’ 13th largest National Park, encompassing 922,650 acres, and was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Theodore Roosevelt originally designated Mount Olympus as a National Monument in 1909. The park was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site #151 in 1981 with the following description:
Located in the north-west of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the best example of intact and protected temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. Eleven major river systems drain the Olympic mountains, offering some of the best habitat for anadromous fish species in the country. The park also includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States, and is rich in native and endemic animal and plant species, including critical populations of the endangered northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and bull trout. More
Photo at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.
Olympic National Park park averages over 3,000,000 visitors per year and was the ninth most visited National Park in 2018, with 3,104,455 visitors (#1 was the Great Smoky Mountains with 11,421,200; 318,000,000 people visited US National Parks in 2018).
The joys of being OLD . . .
$80 senior pass at 62 (as of 2018).
Some Things to do While Visiting Hurricane Ridge:
We flew into Seattle on July 29 and flew out August 1, staying 2.5 days in Port Angeles. While there we hiked Hurricane Ridge (three mild but scenic trails at the top), hiked the Hoh Rainforest, visited Mayfield Falls, toured the Sequim Wild Animal Farm, and visited one of the famed Sequim lavender farms.
Hoh Rainforest - Olympic NP.
Mayfield Falls, Olympic NP.
B&B Family Farm, Sequim, WA.
Olympic Game Farm, Sequim, WA.
How to get to Olympic National Park (Port Angeles):
If one is interested in adding to the scenic trip to Olympic National Park, take the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry if you’re coming from Seattle. The Ferry runs every 1.5 hours (schedule) from the Seattle Terminal at the 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, just 13 miles north of SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). The main website for the terminal lists the space available for the upcoming six ferries. We encourage visitors to utilize the ferry crossings as this really does add to the overall experience of this exceptional journey. (Photo note: This is a photo from the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry that we took on our way back from Port Angeles and Olympic National Park. This is the closest ferry crossing to the mainland from Port Angeles but is 32 miles north of SeaTac).
We prefer the ferry to the drive.
Mt. Rainier to the south as seen from the ferry.
Mt. Baker to the north.
Generally, it is about 20 to 40 minutes faster to drive than take the Edmonds-Kingston or Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry, but, as we stated above, we much prefer the ferry.
It’s a little quicker by car.
Edmonds Ferry upper gray line and Seattle lower; car route is blue.
Where to Stay When Visiting Olympic National Park:
We stayed in Port Angeles at the Red Lion Inn on each of our two trips to climb Hurricane Ridge and one trip to Hoh Rain Forest. Red Lion rooms with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca were about $200 per night as of July 2019.
Red Lion via drone -- Hurricane Ridge in background.
Restaurant and free cruisers at the Red Lion.
That’s a wrap!