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Olympic National Park

Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.
olympics1_445x260Dosewallips Mountains (Don Geyer)

INTRO |

href="/articles/12516">GLACIER | YOSEMITE |

href="/articles/12521">GRAND CANYON | GREAT SMOKY
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href="/articles/12525">OLYMPIC | YELLOWSTONE |

href="/articles/12527">DENALI

href="http://www.backpacker.com/august_08_olympic_national_park/destinations/12525?page=2">Entrance

Strategy |

href="http://www.backpacker.com/august_08_olympic_national_park/destinations/12525?page=3">The Trip

| Exit

Strategy

Exit Strategy

>> Clean up Get a spit shine at the Clallam County Family YMCA in Port Angeles ($1.50 for shower, $8 for a full-day pass) and save your money for a swanky hotel with an in-room hot tub in Seattle. (360) 452-9244

>> Pig out The Crabhouse Restaurant on the Port Angeles waterfront has–you guessed it–the best crab cakes on this stretch of coast. They’re made with locally caught Dungeness. (360) 457-0424, pacrabhouse.com

>> Best Dayhike: Lake Angeles-Heather Park Loop This 13-miler features virgin forest, wildflowers, one of the largest lakes in the Olympics, and climbs to views of Port Angeles, the Olympic Mountains, and the North Cascades across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Pick up the trailhead on Hurricane Ridge Road near the visitor center, outside Port Angeles.

>> Try something new You’ve seen two of the three major ecosystems in the Olympics. Now head for the coast on a sea-kayak trip along the Dungeness Spit. From the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, near Sequim, paddle seven miles to a historic lighthouse. You’ll see harbor seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and water birds. Olympic Raft and Kayak conducts guided tours and rents gear for DIY trips ($99 per person guided, $45 for an eight-hour kayak rental). (888) 452-1443 or (360) 452-1443, raftandkayak.com

Stay Dry in Soggy Country
The Olympics are part rainforest. Don’t grow mold.

>> Be flexible If the forecast calls for days of heavy rain, head to Obstruction Peak in the park’s northeast corner. The roughly 29-mile loop on the Elk Mountain, Cameron Creek, Grand Pass, and Badger Valley Trails lies entirely in the range’s rainshadow.

>> Go late Dry weather sometimes lasts into the first half of October, which also falls outside the May 1 to September 30 period when hiker quotas are enforced in popular areas like Ozette Coast and the Hoh Valley.

You’re a Tourist, Now Act Like One
Learn about the 3,300-square-mile Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary’s unique ecosystem and wildlife at the Olympic Coast Discovery Center on the Port Angeles waterfront. Staff can also tell you the best spots to see whales, shoot coastal scenes, or enjoy secluded beaches. (360) 452-3255, olympiccoast.noaa.gov/AboutUs/ocdc.html

The Stats
Acres 922,651
Miles of trail 600+
Website nps.gov/olym Phone (360) 565-3131
2007 visitation 3 million (total), 70,215 (backcountry)

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