Olympic National Park is one of the most diverse landscapes in the lower 48. Glacial studded mountains, deep lush rainforest, and a pristine ocean environment. It’s a bit of a trip from the Bay Area or Tahoe, but an adventure that Californians simply must put on their “to do list”. Here’s a “Top 5″ to get those creative wheels turning for your next out-of-town mission.

#1. Skiing and mountaineering in the heart of the park. It’s a long approach, and coupled with the precipitous weather, and multitude of landscapes to negotiate, an ascent/descent of Mt. Olympus or on the neighboring high peaks of the range is not a gimmy. Still, it’s these attributes that make the mission so sweet, and with a season that extends into summer, if you’ve got the skills, you should plan to spend some time in the Olympic Mountains as soon as possible. Ski touring or riding the lifts off Hurricane Ridge (when they’re open in winter) is also a worthy way to to lay some tracks in the park.

#2. Surfing the coastal reaches of the park. Washington state is riddled with difficult to access surf breaks. However, score a clean session in Olympic National Park and you won’t soon forget it. The water and air around the upper reaches of the coast are profoundly clean and pure. La Push is a good bet. A gorgeous backdrop and home to the Quileute Tribe, La Push can fire when it’s on, and double as a more mellow, mushy longboard wave in summer when the swell isn’t so strong. You can camp right on the beach and watch the waves break all day, and there’s a cool eclectic mix of people to mix and mingle with.

#3. Fishing. People travel from all over the world to fish for steelhead, salmon, and trout in Olympic National Park. I’m not privy to share much knowledge the locals shared with me, but if you’re looking for some trout or salmon up there in the summer, toss a line in at the Sol Duc River. Maybe you’ll be having fresh fish for dinner.

#4.¬†Spend time in the rainforest. The deep, ancient, dank forests that surround Olympic National Park are a national treasure. The Hoh Rain forest is of particular interest, but there’s ample hiking trails, mellow nature walks, and quick pull-offs that will transcend you to another world in no time found all through the park. There are beautiful temperate rainforest ecosystems throughout the Coastal Range, from Nor-Cal to B.C., but the rainforest in and around the Hoh is the real deal. It will awe, inspire, and entertain all ages of travelers for hours on end.

#5. Camp. The easiest thing to do in the park is also one of the best things you can possibly do. Take your pick from ocean sites, to hike-in sites, to car-camping; you can’t go wrong. This is the kind of park where you can have the most unique camp spot you’ve ever had. While it’s just a matter of a night of sleep, being surrounded by old-growth Sitka Spruce, or listening to the waves gently ¬†rock you to sleep will be a night’s rest you’ll fondly remember. This one is a gimmy, so long as you aren’t trying to get a spot at sunset on a Saturday in summer, so plan accordingly, and rest those bones for whatever adventures you’ll be getting into the next day.

Photo Credit: toddyscheer.com

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  1. Anonymous says:

    #6 Hot Springs!!!!

  2. Chris says:

    We already have too many transplants here. Stay away, it’s horrible and rainy and cold. Nothing to see.

  3. Brennan Lagasse says:

    Yes to Hot springs!

    And Chris, no worries. Washington is unreal, you have such an amazing home, but nothing beats Lake Tahoe:)

  4. dirtbag says:

    the olympics are bonkers.

  5. ronron says:

    Olympics are flat, low, don’t see snow. Go to whistler or baker. You are wasting your time here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t see snow? The Olympics can get up to 70 feet a year, twice as much as Whistler with out the punks

      • ronron says:

        Don’t listen to this idiot! I was born here and spent the first 19 years of my life here. All these pics are a result of a PR campaign that failed in 1988. When people got here and found out that all we had was a gravel pit with a bunch of white marble, they were pretty bent outta shape. The only reason I still own property up there is because I have family that won’t leave.

  6. Pat says:

    the olympics suck it just rains all the time even in the summer time theres a constant cloud over the whole park, trust me ive lived here my whole life..the surf is absolutely terrible idk why californians would want to come up here to surf or do any of this stuff despite the fact that theyre all crazy

  7. PNW says:

    I’ve lived in WA all my life and have been all over the country. Hands down super cool landscape and in the summer no place better, not too hot or muggy and plenty of thing to do outdoors. I personally don’t give a shit if you transplant, you will leave eventually.

  8. Pat says:

    once again it just rains in the olympics ALL THE TIME thats why its a RAINFOREST. surfing is terrible unless you want to hike 10 miles to a break , just another shitty written article by unofficial. stay in cali

  9. Merri Wilson says:

    #7 Gray Whale watching on First Beach La Push in the springtime! #8 Biking UP the road to Hurricane Ridge! #9 Driving to the end of Obstruction Point Road marmot and wildflower watching then hiking up the path!

  10. Jackson says:

    Why is this article aimed at just people from California?

  11. Spellcheck says:

    This one is a “gimmy”?

  12. Jamie Jones says:

    Yea, f&@k California, haven’t you Californians ruined enough other places? I hear they have group therapy for Californians in the state of Washington to learn how to blend in and not be noticed as being from Cali.


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