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Winter in Olympic National Park

01.15.18

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Winter in Olympic National Park
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  • Hobuck Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Deer fern (Blechnum spicant) and salal (Gaultheria shallon) along side of Shi Shi Beach Trail.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Shi Shi Beach Trail makes a steep descent down to the beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Shi Shi Beach north end sea stacks.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Shi Shi Beach north end sea stacks.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Shi Shi Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • View toward Crying Lady Rock and the Quillayute Needles from La Push, Second Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • View toward Crying Lady Rock and the Quillayute Needles from La Push, Second Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • La Push, Second Beach panoramic view.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • The tide pools at La Push, Second Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Sizable driftwood at La Push, First Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • View of unnamed stack adjacent to Little James Island.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • View south from La Push, First Beach, toward the Quillayute Needles.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Ruby Beach.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • View from Ruby Beach toward Destruction Island Lighthouse.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Big Cedar Tree.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Kalaloch Beach and Kalaloch Rocks.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Giant green anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) at Kalaloch Beach and Rocks.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Kalaloch Lodge and Kalaloch Creek.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Kalaloch Lodge.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Kestner Creek.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Old-growth in Olympic National Park.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Merriman Falls.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Merriman Falls.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • A moss-adorned fence near Merriman Falls in the Quinault River Valley.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Hoh Rain Forest Big Sitka Spruce.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis) near Hoh Rain Forest Big Sitka Spruce.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • The bottom drop of Hamma Hamma Falls can be seen through the trees along the river bank.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Hamma Hamma Falls can be seen in its entirety from the small side trail. Be extremely careful when exploring the area surrounding the falls. These falls have been kayaked during higher flows.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Northern view from the summit across the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Vancouver Island visible.- Winter in Olympic National Park
  • Mount Olympus (7,979 ft) and Mount Carrie (6,995 ft) rise in the distance beyond the Hurricane Ridge visitor center.- Winter in Olympic National Park
Article
Contributor

The Olympic National Park occupies over 875,000 acres of verdant woods, cacophonous shoreline, and ragged alpine terrain in the upper left corner of the continental United States. It's a wild expanse of wilderness. While it is the sixth most visited national park, it is also one of the least crowded, even though it is only a short ferry from Seattle. This expansive wonderland boasts 3,000 miles of twisting, cascading rivers and streams, 611 miles of switchbacking trails, and only 168 miles of road, and it just may be more enchanting and alluring than any other place we know. Especially in the wintertime.

There's something mystical and alluring about a lush forest kissed by frost and a frigid, misty beach all to yourself. Though much of the annual 150 inches of precipitation falls on Olympic National Park in the winter, it's well worth a visit in the off season. As an added bonus: The journey from Seattle to one of the furthest beaches, La Push, takes a mere four hours including ferry travel. 

Below you'll find a less-than-comprehensive list of the best wintertime destinations within Olympic National Park—you'll find that much of the interior is nearly impossible to access to all but seasoned mountaineers in winter. As a safety precaution, be sure to check the tide tables before embarking on a hike down any beach bordering the park—the tide has the ability to rise faster than predicted and maroon travelers against cliffs. Finally, always practice the principles of Leave No Trace, and give ornery mountain goats and other wildlife plenty of space.

Olympic Beach

The sea stacks at the north end of Shi Shi Beach. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Beaches

Lodging + Camping

 

Lake Quinault Rain Forest 

Lake Quinault Lodge. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Trails

Waterfalls

Lodging + Camping

 

Hood Canal

View of Lake Cushman from the Mount Eillnor trail. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Lakes

Trails

Beaches

Waterfalls

Lodging

 

The Northern Coast

The Elwha River. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Beaches

Trails

Lodging + Camping

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