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Elle Ossello | 01.23.2017

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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