Pets allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Priest Point Park is located just north of downtown Olympia on Puget Sound's Budd Inlet. The 314-acre park is dominated by native Pacific Northwest conifer forest,* 1 mile of Puget Sound saltwater tidal shoreline, and Ellis Creek and Cove.

The park's origins began as early as 1848, when Father Pascal Ricard of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate built a missionary near Ellis Cove. Called St. Joseph's of New Market, Ricard and three other priests settled the land, established a chapel, and started a local school to convert the Squaxin people to Christianity. Their indoctrination efforts were relatively unsuccessful, and the mission was primarily used for trade by other local natives, including the Nisqually, Puyallup and Snoqualmie tribes. By 1860 the mission closed. Forty-five years later in 1905, Priest Point Park became Olympia's first city park, and the park remains the city's largest.

The park features many miles of hiking trails, including the Ellis Cove Trail, a rose garden, a small sports field, a half-basketball court, large ship-themed playground, four picnic shelters, and public restrooms.

* As is typical of the Cascadia bioregion, the park's forest includes old-growth Douglas fir, western red cedar, bigleaf maple, Pacific madrone, salal, sword fern, lady fern, as well as numerous perennial wildflowers and mosses.

Note: To reserve any of the picnic shelters, call 360.753.8380 and visit the City of Olympia website for pricing details. All events with more than 75 people require a permit from the city.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Puget Sound beach access. Large playground. Hiking trails.


No boat ramp or dock.


Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Bird watching


Nearby Lodging + Camping


Time to get out of the house, the weekend has arrived and were off I remembered driving by this park about 6 years ago and always wanted to come back. We hiked around the loop on what I call the inner side before crossing the road and hiking on to ellis cove trail. The trail had washed out and was closed just after the long bridge. We found a different way and continued out journey taking us along Budd inlet where we stoped on the beach to eat our lunch and our little explorer, 8 months old slept in his backpack carrier as we took in the sights and explored the beach at low tide. After exploring the beach we followed the loop around and returned to priest point park where the playground was full and so was the beach as people scurried around. Overall Easy hiking well maintained trails, except the closed section,Another successful day Outdoors :)
Very family-friendly: my daughter and I have been going to Priest Point Park for years and still have not been able to taste all the delights offered. There are covered picnic areas close to the beach that include sinks with running water. Great for birthday parties or family get-togethers.
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