best day hikes in olympic national park new 07

16 Best Hikes in Olympic National Park You Have to go to!

I’ve been able to explore some of the best hikes in Olympic National Park and in this article, I want to share at least 16 amazing hiking trails you have to try.

2 quick things to know before hiking in Olympic National Park:

  1. I’m going to list which trails on the list are good for day hikes.
  2. I’m also going to distinguish which side of Olympic National Park they are on as there are 3 sections of this NP: The coast (west), the northern part, and the eastern end.

Here are the 16 best hikes in Olympic National Park:

best day hikes in olympic national park new 07

  1. Ruby Beach trail.
  2. Second Beach trail.
  3. Third Beach trail.
  4. Hall of Mosses trail.
  5. Cape Flattery trail.
  6. Hurricane Hill trail.
  7. Sol Duc Falls trail.
  8. Marymere Falls trail.
  9. High Steel Bridge hike.
  10. Falls View Canyon Trail.
  11. Maple Glade Rainforest Trail.
  12. Rocky Brook Falls hike.
  13. Devils Punchbowl.
  14. Spruce Railroad Trail.
  15. Pyramid Peak trail.
  16. Striped Peak trail.

Most of these trails are great day hikes while others may take more speed or overnight trips to do. Either way, depending on which side of Olympic National Park you’re visiting, with this list you’ll know ahead of time as to which trails to try.

1) Ruby Beach trail:

ruby beach olympic national park hike 01

  • Location: Ruby Beach, in the Western part of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: Half a miles round trip (good day hikes).
  • Difficulty: Moderate.

I’ve visited Ruby Beach twice and it is one of the most beautiful beaches along the Olympic Peninsula trail. The way this trail works is that you will park at the Ruby Beach parking lot, then walk the short trail to the beach and explore the cliff areas there, then walk back to complete it.

The first time I visited Ruby Beach was when it was cold and cloudy, and thus I was unable to see the beautiful sunsets this area is known for. However, if you decide to go, you may be able to catch them there and I highly recommend you do, because the western part of the Washington Coast is perfect for that.

2) Second Beach trail:

la push beach olympic national park day hike 02

  • Location: La Push Beach, western part of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: Also 1-2 miles (good for day hiking).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

La Push Beach is very close to Ruby Beach, so you can literally explore both of these locations in just a single day. There is a trail through the woods you can take here to a place called Second Beach. The hike is short but beautiful and while you are visiting La Push, I would also recommend going to a lookout called James Island Viewpoint.

3) Third Beach Trail:

third beach trail olympic national park day hike 08

  • Location: Third Beach, on the western part of Olympic National Park too. It’s also known as Strawberry Trail.
  • Hiking distance: 6.5 miles (one way) from the parking area (this can be a day hike, but you have to go quickly).
  • Difficulty: Hard.

Third beach is further south from Second Beach and is an incredibly fun but strenuous hike. Here’s how this hike works:

  • You will be climbing up and down coastal mountains.
  • You will be using rope to do it.
  • You’ll be finding secret beaches along Third Beach’s amazing trails.
  • This will easily be a hike that takes you a whole day to do.
  • You will also be able to find beaches with waterfalls near Third Beach.
  • This area is one of the best Washington waterfall hikes.

4) Hall of Mosses trail:

hoh rain forest olympic national park day hike 03

  • Location: Hoh Rain Forest, western end of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: About 3/4 miles (very scenic day hike in Olympic National Park).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

I’ve explored the Hall of Mosses trail and it is a very family friendly trail that is extremely scenic too. You will basically be doing a short loop around mossy tree areas and it’s one of the most popular trails in all of Olympic National Park (and certainly Hoh Rainforest). To get there, you will need to get to the Hoh Rain forest visitor center. You will see the trailhead to Hall of Mosses from there.

5) Cape Flattery trail:

cape flattery trail olympic national park day hike 04

  • Location: Northern and western end of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 1/4 mile (total).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

Cape Flattery rests outside Olympic National Park, but if you’re going to explore the northern end of it, you simply have to go here. It is one of the most beautiful spots on the entire coast and has tons of sea caves and secret trails to explore.

The main one for day hikes is only a quarter of a mile long and takes you to beautiful overlooks like the one in the image here, but more exploration around the area will have you find more secret beaches, caves and other awesome spots.

6) Hurricane Hill trail:

hurricane hill olympic national park hike 06

  • Location: In Hurricane Hill, northern end of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 2 miles in and out.
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate.

Hurricane Ridge is the most popular region in the northern end of Olympic National Park. There is one main drive to get to it and the road takes you to the top of Olympic National Park. As you are on it, there will be several trail options but the best day hike one is the official Hurricane Hill Trail which is easy to spot at the end of that drive (you just drive up to the top of the road, then look for the trailhead there).

7) Sol Duc Falls trail:

Sol Duc Falls trail olympic national park day hike 11

  • Location: Northern end of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 2 miles round trip (an excellent day hike).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

Sol Duc Falls trail is also one of the the best day hikes in Olympic National Park that I’ve done (and it’s very well known too). There is a 12 mile drive you have to do into the exit to Sol Duc Falls before you get to the parking lot and trailhead to start walking there. And on the way, I do recommend you stop at a few areas beforehand to see things like salmon swimming upstream and seeing the other beautiful areas. I had no idea Olympic National Park had this, but it’s an added treat if you go to this area.

Anyway, back to Sol Duc Falls: This hike is relatively easy to walk on for most people and the waterfall itself is also quite beautiful! You can easily do this hike in a few hours. There is another trail on the opposite end of the falls, but it leads you back to the campground of Sol Duc Falls and I would recommend going back the same way you came to this spot to make sure you don’t get lost.

8) Marymere Falls trail:

Marymere Falls trail olympic national park day hike 09

  • Location: Northern end of Olympic National Park (right in the middle of Crescent Lake).
  • Hiking distance: 3 miles round trip (awesome day hike).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

Marymere Falls is a beautiful, yet simple hike through the woods and then uphill to the waterfall itself which many people take. It is kid friendly and you’ll be able to see a lot of nice rainforest areas of Olympic National Park. There are simple walks along the trail, and beautiful wooded areas to explore. What surprised me most about this area was how huge the trees were.

They aren’t bigger than the Redwoods, but they are far larger than any trees I’m used to seeing where I live, so this added beauty to the trail made the hike through it the better for us. The whole Marymere Falls trail took us about an hour, so it’s a really short hike, but highly recommended.

9) High Steel Bridge trail:

high steel bridge olympic national park hike 07

  • Location: Eastern end of Olympic National Forest.
  • Hiking distance: Less than 1 mile.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

High Steel Bridge is the first official spot I saw on my Pacific Northwest road trip in the Olympic park area, but it was right outside the national park region). You can drive up to and over the bridge, park your car and explore the region around the bridge which is a beautiful view of it, as well as a gorge underneath it, and a waterfall too.

Note: A lot of people might mistake this bridge for Vance Creek Bridge, which is actually close to it. I recommend going to High Steel Bridge over that one any day due to it’s safety (and legality).

10) Falls View Canyon trail:

Falls View Canyon trail olympic national park day hike 05

  • Location: Eastern End of Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking Distance: 1 mile round trip (good, short day hike).
  • Difficulty: Moderate.

Upon my second visit to Olympic National Park, I stumbled onto this trail head with my friend and we were very happy that we did. It’s a short, but quick hike down to a fairly skinny looking waterfall, but it does take you through the Olympic National Park forest area. We really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

11) Maple Glade Rainforest trail (Valley of The Giants):

quinault rainforest olympic national park 02

  • Location: In Quinault Rainforest, South western end of Oylmpic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 2 miles in and out.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

I only recently discovered that this place exists in Olympic National Park and it’s very close to the 101 road, if you’re coming up to Olympic National Park from the western end of it. Quinault Rainforest and specifically the Maple Glade Rainforest trail is basically more of the same kind of beauty you would expect to see across not just the national park itself, but the Pacific Northwest. It had similar views as the Hall of Mosses trail, but has giant trees that are like the Redwoods.

12) Rocky Brook Falls hike:

rocky brook falls olympic national park hike 02

  • Location: Western end of Olympic National Park, south of Port Townsend.
  • Hiking distance: 3 miles in and out.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

On my last visit to the PNW, a travel buddy of mine discovered this hike and waterfall. This is one of the tallest waterfalls in Washington I have ever seen and there is a short, but scenic hike you can take to get there. For logistics, this waterfall is actually close to Falls View Canyon trail above (although it’s slightly north of it).

13) Devils Punchbowl trail:

devils punchbowl hike olympic national park 03

  • Location: It’s in Lake Crescent inside Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 1 mile to reach it.
  • Difficulty: Very easy.

This is a short but very nice hike to a bridge that goes over a Devils Punchbowl in Lake Crescent. I’ve been to this area and you can even swim here (the water is very deep) and as you can see, the color of the water is also extremely beautiful too (very similar to Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies). There is another trail and tunnel by this region you can check out (also popular for biking) but the Devils Punchbowl is without a doubt the main thing to see here.

14) Spruce Railroad Trail:

spruce railroad trail best hikes in olympic national park

  • Location: North eastern side of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.
  • Hiking distance: 10 miles in and out.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.

Spruce Railroad trail is a very scenic hike through the northern section of Lake Crescent. It’s also the same trail which Devils Punchbowl connects to. On this hike, you will be able to walk on a road that used to be a railroad and see amazing views of the lake.

15) Pyramid Peak trail:

pyramid peak trail best hikes in olympic national park

  • Location: Top middle of Lake Crescent.
  • Hiking distance: 6-7 miles in and out.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.

This might be one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park to not just check out the mountains in general but to also get an amazing view of Lake Crescent. You can access this hike by driving to the North Shore Picnic area and finding the trailhead to Pyramid Peak there. There is a lot of ascent on this hike too.

16) Striped Peak trail:

striped peak trail olympic national park

  • Location: Salt Creek Recreation area (northern Washington Coast).
  • Hiking distance: 5-6 miles in and out (also a good day hike).
  • Difficulty: Moderate.

Not only is Striped Peak trail awesome because it gives you awesome views of the northern side of the Washington Coast and Olympic National Park too, but it’s also part of the Salt Creek Park area where you can see a lot of amazing things, including garden walks, old war areas (bunkers) and much more. So in addition to an awesome trail, you will have many more things to explore here.

Questions about doing Olympic National Park hikes:

What is the best month to visit Olympic National Park?

March through October is usually the best period to visit Olympic National Park. There are usually less tourists earlier in the year because it’s colder, but the nature is still amazing in the park.

How many days do you need at Olympic National Park?

Because it’s so large, you would need at least 4 to 7 days to explore much of Olympic National Park.

Is Olympic National Park worth visiting?

Absolutely. In addition to the nature, wildlife and more, there are also beautiful coastal areas connected to Olympic National Park worth seeing.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Olympic National Park?

It is very rare to see the northern lights in Olympic National Park but they do happen there. The best areas to see them in the park would be either on the northern coast or west side of the park.


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