8 of the Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with so many places to discover we created a list of all the best hikes in Olympic National Park. Just a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle, Olympic National Park provides the flexibility to visit in a single day trip, however we recommend spending at least two days. We tried our best to pack a lot into a 2 – day itinerary, including some of the best hikes in Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Ridge

Distance: variable    Difficulty: variable

Hurricane ridge is about a 40 minute drive from Port Angeles. Once you reach the top there is a visitor center and several hikes you can choose from. The hikes range from family friendly, 1 mile paved hikes, up to 8+ mile, non-paved trails, for the more adventurous hikers. Hurricane Ridge is one the best hikes in Olympic National Park for sunrises and sunsets as it’s easily accessible and the views are incredible (even on the short hikes). Keep in mind the weather on Hurricane Ridge can vary greatly from that in Port Angeles, so be prepared for foggy or snowy conditions at the top. Hurricane Hill is a great 3.2 mile (roundtrip) hike that we recommend for either sunset or sunrise.

**this hike is currently closed until 10/26/22, due to construction**

View of mountain tops on Hurricane Hill, one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park

Crescent Lake

Distance: variable    Difficulty: variable

About an hour from Port Angeles is Crescent Lake, which is a very popular destination to soak up the sun in warmer months. Crescent Lake is also home to some of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, including Mount Storm King and Spruce Railroad Trail. Mount Storm King is the more difficult hike but the views are incredible. This hike is 4.1 miles (roundtrip) with 2,106ft of elevation so come prepared for some steep inclines. While Mount Storm King hike takes you above Crescent Lake, Spruce Railroad Trail will take you around Crescent Lake. With a distance of 11.2 miles (roundtrip) this hike only has 410ft of elevation and will have views of Lake Crescent throughout the trail. Either hike is incredible and a great addition any roadtrip through Olympic National Park. 

Sol Duc Falls

Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip    Difficulty: easy

Sol Duc Falls is a quick, and family friendly, 1.6 mile hike. This is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park as it ends in a stunning waterfall.  This is another popular spot, so get here early or late in the day to avoid some of the crowds. If you’re looking for a longer hike in this area, continue on to the Lovers Lane trail which is 5.8 miles (roundtrip).

Olympic Hot Springs

Distance: 4.8 miles roundtrip    Difficulty: easy

Looking for a hike in Olympic National Park that ends in hot springs? They’ve got that too! Olympic Hot Springs are pools that are in the wilderness area and not maintained. The Olympic Hot Springs are in the Elwha Valley about 2.5 miles off of Boulder Creek Trailhead. For further information, check out the hiking trail details on Washington Trails Association.

Hoh Rainforest

Distance: 1.2 miles   Difficulty: easy

Hoh Rainforest is filled with several hikes, with ranges in difficulty, so there is something for everyone. This area is not only home to some of the best hikes in Olympic National Park, but it’s also home to some of the most unique hikes in Olympic National Park. Hoh rainforest is home to the second largest trees in North America, the California Redwoods take the number one spot. With the unique landscape, this area will get busy so we always recommend getting here earlier in the day. Once here, there is a 1.2 mile trail that will take you through a green, moss ladened, rainforest and we highly recommend it.

View of trees in Hoh Rainforest, one of the best hikes in Olympic National ParkA view of the road in Hoh Rainforest, one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park

Best Hikes in Olympic National Park: Beach Version 

 Ruby Beach

Distance: 6 miles roundtrip    Difficulty: moderate

Arguably the most popular beach in Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach. This beach is right off the highway and does not require any hiking to access, however you can hike along the beach to explore. At low tide, you can walk to the north about three miles until you reach the waters of the Hoh River. If you walk south, at low tide, you can also hike about 3 miles to Steamboat Creek. Either direction will provide stunning views of the rocky shore, iconic driftwood and seastacks you’re looking for. 

La Push Beaches

The first, second and third beaches are side by side and make up the La Push beaches. First Beach is part of the Quileute Indian Reservation, while Second and Third beach, just South of First Beach, are part of Olympic Wilderness Park. The First and Second beach involve less hiking, so if you’re looking for one of the best beach hikes in Olympic National Park then head down to Third Beach. 

Third Beach Hike 

Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip  Difficulty: moderate

Third beach is the least popular of the La Push beaches. The beach is accessible by a 3.6 roundtrip hike, which is relatively flat and easy overall. The hike is most likely the answer to why this is the least popular La Push beach. However, if you are up for the adventure, you will be rewarded with classic PNW coastal views without the crowds. This beach is often covered in fog as well, which truly adds to the classic Washington Coast feel.

Hole-in-the-Wall from Rialto Beach

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip    Difficulty: moderate

Rialto Beach is a relatively central beach and one of the closest to the town of Forks, making it easily accessible. Its shores are also rocky, but is better known for its incredible driftwood, seasick formations and the Hole-in-the-Wall hike. This hike is 3.2 miles roundtrip and mostly flat as the hike is, largely, along the beach shores. While he hike is flat, it’s rated as moderate due to the rocky walking along the shores – we highly recommend wearing hiking shoes for this. The hike ends at the famous keyhole rock formation, with stunning views throughout the hike.

An important thing to note is that this hike is affected by tides. Do not go hiking without knowing the tide schedule, once you reach high tide you will easily get stuck out past the keyhole rocks with no way to get back to the main beach until low tide. Overall, the Hole-in-the-Wall is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park thanks to the iconic beach views you won’t want to miss. 

 

Two-Day Itinerary for Visiting the Best Hikes in Olympic National Park

Not into mapping out destinations and timing of tides to see all these attractions? No problem! You can follow exactly what we mapped out!

Day One

Morning:

Arrive to Port Angeles at anytime this morning, plan for a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle or Seattle-Tacoma airport. If you can check into your hotel, we always opt for this however it’s not necessary. 

Afternoon:

Head out to Crescent Lake, about a 1 hour drive from Port Angeles. Once at Crescent Lake feel free to opt for either of the hike options, or rest up at the lake for your evening hike!

Evening:

In the evening, head up to Hurricane Ridge to get ready for a sunset hike. We recommend Hurricane Hill as this is a time-friendly option and the views are stunning at sunset. If you still need dinner after the hike, head into the town of Port Angeles – we highly recommend the Next Door Gastropub.

View of mountain tops on Hurricane Hill, one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park

Day Two

Morning:

Wake up bright and early as you hit the road before sunrise to maximize your day and ability to enjoy the best hikes in Olympic National Park. make the 2.5 hour drive to Hoh Rainforest. We spent about 1.5 hours here hiking and exploring the rainforest. 

Afternoon:

After Hoh Rainforest, drive about 40 minutes, to Ruby Beach. Enjoy the beach and walking around, but don’t stay too long as you want to take full advantage of low tide! From here drive to Rialto Beach. This was about an hour drive, but back towards Port Angeles, so it’s not unproductive! We recommend spending about 2 hours at Rialto beach, this will give you enough time to do the 3.2 mile Hole-in-the-Wall hike as well as plenty of time for photo taking. 

Evening:

As we head into the evening, prior to the sunset, head out to do either hike Sol Duc Falls or the Olympic Hot Springs. Both of these stops are on your way back to Port Angeles, so once you complete them you can head towards your hotel and get dinner back at Port Angeles. 

Looking to explore more beaches rather than more hiking? Check out our guide on all the best beaches in Olympic National Park.

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