Activities & Programs
From nature walks to snowshoeing, there is much to do in Olympic year-round.
SPRING, SUMMER AND FALL
The NPS offers free programs in the summer, including coastal forest walks and beach and intertidal walks at Kalaloch. Summer evening programs are at Heart O' the Hills, Kalaloch, Hoh, Lake Crescent and Sol Duc. Talks on the mountains are offered at Hurricane Ridge. Guided rain forest walks are offered at Hoh and Quinault rain forests. Old-growth forest walks to Marymere Falls are offered at Lake Crescent. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) also offers ranger-led interpretive programs in the Lake Quinault area in summer. Check the park newspaper and bulletin boards or at visitor centers for a complete listing of times and topics.
Lake Crescent Adventures
Join Olympic Park Institute's trained naturalists for a day of fun canoeing on Lake Crescent and exploring old growth forests. The program is offered on June 23, July 14 and 28 and August 8 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration begins at 9:30 on the day of the program. Bring a lunch and clothing suitable for rain or cool temperatures. For more information go to www.OlympicParkInstitute.org.
Biking is allowed on roads, but use caution many roads are narrow and winding with limited visibility. Bike rentals are available in some gateway communities. Biking is prohibited in the backcountry and on trails, except on Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent.
Boating and Water Sports
With the ocean and so many lakes and rivers, Olympic is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, sailing, white- water rafting, powerboating and waterskiing. Boat rentals are available at Lake Crescent and from Lake Quinault Lodge. Ramps are maintained at Lakes Crescent, Mills and Ozette. Whitewater rafting is available in early summer on the Quinault, Queets, Elwha and Hoh rivers; check nearby communities for outfitters.
Olympic's 16 campgrounds offer 892 campsites. For the summer of 2007, reservations may be accepted for Kalaloch Campground only. All other campgrounds and unreserved sites at Kalaloch Campground will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a campsite call the National Park Reservation Service at (800) 365-CAMP (2267) up to five months in advance beginning the 5th of every month or visit online at www.recreation.gov. You must obtain a wilderness permit to camp in the backcountry and outside designated campgrounds. Some backcountry areas require advance reservations; call (360) 565-3100 for more information. Permits are available at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles, some visitor centers and at the ranger stations.
Fishing licenses are not necessary in the park, but Washington State fishing regulations are enforced. Get a copy of park fishing regulations at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, ranger stations or the park website. Washington State punch cards for salmon and steelhead trout are required. You can obtain cards from sports stores and tackle shops in local communities and along U.S. 101. Anglers must punch the card and fill out other information immediately after catching a salmon or steelhead trout. For ocean fishing from shore, a Personal Use Food Fish license is required.
At lower elevations, snow seldom accumulates more than 6 to 10 inches and usually does not stay on the ground for more than a few days. Head up the slopes and you'll find true winter. Call (360) 565-3131 for recorded Hurricane Ridge road and weather conditions. Guard against hypothermia by dressing for harsh conditions.
Interpreters offer guided snowshoe walks from late December through late March. These outings leave from Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Snowshoes are provided. A $5 donation helps defray repair costs. Ask at a visitor center for times and more information.
Hurricane Ridge is the center for all winter activities in the park. Hiking trails become great cross-country skiing trails. No trails within the park are groomed, but there are several options at Hurricane Ridge. Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center offers downhill and cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals as well as a snack bar. You can also downhill ski at Hurricane Ridge. Open weekends and holidays from late December through late March. For more information, call (360) 565-3130.