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Amazing 2 Day Olympic National Park Itinerary

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Olympic National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA and is home to some really incredible waterfalls, viewpoints and hikes.

But is it worth it to visit Olympic National Park for the weekend?

Mount Storm King Ranger Station

Dave and I have spent a weekend in Olympic National Park and a long weekend there and we say yes, 2 days in Olympic National Park is totally worth it!

I have put together this 2 day Olympic National Park Itinerary to help you see the best things in the park and on the Olympic Peninsula.

Everything You Need to know about Olympic National Park

📍 Where is Olympic National Park located

Olympic National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. It is also one of the most diverse because it has mountains, beaches AND rainforests! It is located in Washington State, about a 3 hour drive from Seattle.

How to Get to from Seattle International Airport to Olympic National Park

The best way to get to Olympic National Park is by car. It is possible to get to Olympic National Park from Seattle by public transport but it takes an extra 2 hours and you are pretty stuck once you are there which makes it hard to explore.

I recommend booking a rental car on arrival at Seattle International Airport.

Girl standing on instafamous rock at Mount Storm King Viewpoint at sunset
Girl looking out from 2nd viewpoint along the Cape Flattery Trail

Directions from Seattle International Airport to Olympic National Park (Port Angeles)

If you are driving from Seattle International Airport, the best direction to drive in is via either the Tacoma Narrows bridge or by catching the Bainbridge Island ferry. This ferry cannot be booked in advance but you can check the website for real waiting time updates.

If you are coming from Downtown Seattle, the best way to get to Port Angeles is by taking one of the two different ferries. The Edmonds to Kingston ferry or the Bainbridge Island ferry as above, neither of which you can book in advance.

The next best way to see Olympic National Park from Seattle is to join a tour such as this Olympic National Park Full-Day Tour.

👀 Beautiful Must-See Spots in Olympic National Park

There are loads of beautiful places to visit in Olympic National Park, however, there are some must-see spots that you need to make sure you don’t miss.

These are:

📆 Best Time to Visit

We ALWAYS seem to visit Olympic National Park during late Spring because the weather is beautiful (still cool but sunny). The snow has usually mostly cleared and the Summer crowds haven’t begun yet.

Oh also, Spring is the best time to see the waterfalls in Olympic National Park because of the snowmelt and recent rainfall.

🛎 Where to Stay in Olympic National Park!

For this itinerary, I recommend staying in Port Angeles as it serves as a good base for day trips.

🚗 Is 2 Days Enough to Spend in Olympic National Park?

You could easily spend up to 6 days exploring Olympic National Park, however, you can see a lot in 2 days. I think it is totally worth it to spend 2 days in Olympic National Park.

🎫 National Parks Pass

If you are visiting Olympic National Park, you will need a National Parks Pass. You can purchase an annual America the Beautiful pass here for just $80 which will enable you to visit as many USA national parks as you want for a whole year.

America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

🌲 Leave No Trace

The 7 Leave No Trace principles are important to be aware of to help keep places like Olympic National Park beautiful. To remind yourself of the 7 Leave No Trace principles, check out the LNT website.

🐶 Can I Bring my Dog with me to Olympic National Park?

Dogs are allowed in some areas of the park but not all. Make sure you check the National Parks Service Website to find out exactly where your dog is allowed to go before planning your trip.

The Ultimate Olympic National Park 2 Day Itinerary

This 2 day Olympic National Park Itinerary covers the must-see views and hikes of Olympic National Park, as well as the best restaurants and coffee shops in Port Angeles. This itinerary is based on assuming that you have arrived in Port Angeles the night before and have a full day free for day 1 of your adventure.

Day 1 – Mountains and Waterfalls

On day 1, you will be heading straight up Hurricane Ridge so get ready to be in absolute AWE of the surrounding mountain views, followed by a couple of waterfalls and lakes.

Morning – Coffee Stop

First things first. Coffee!

While we were in Port Angeles, we made ourselves regulars at Fogtown.

If you know Australian’s and their picky tastes in coffees, you will understand when I saw that we are pretty fussy about where we buy our coffee from. The lattes from Fogtown were pretty good! The café is a both a drive through and walk in coffee shop but we found that walking in and ordering seemed to beat the cars that were lining up waiting at the drive through.

Morning – Hurricane Ridge Hike (Hurricane Hill)

After you’ve fuelled up on a delicious coffee, drive up Hurricane Ridge to either admire the views from the parking lot (I’m not being sarcastic here. The parking lot views are incredible), or do a hike. There are bathrooms located in the parking lot but not along the trail.

Hurricane Ridge Parking Lot
views from the Hurricane Ridge Parking Lot

The park rangers at the entrance to Hurricane Ridge will check that you have a national parks pass. If you don’t have one yet, you can get one here.

Hurricane Hill

Distance: 5.5km / 3.4 miles | Elevation: 250m / 820ft | Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours

The hike up Hurricane Hill is not too hard. You start off going downhill which I found a bit disappointing, but soon enough you will start the climb up to the viewpoint. We were there in the middle of May and the road to the trailhead was closed due to there still being some snow on the road so we had to walk an extra few km’s to the trailhead.

Views from the Hurricane Hill hike in Olympic National Park

There was not too much snow on the trail itself at this time except for at the very top but each year can be very different so make sure you are prepared for all weather.

Lunch – Port Angeles

If you haven’t already eaten a packed lunch, you can have lunch in Port Angeles after your hike. Places to try are:

  • The Roosevelt (pizza)
  • Next Door Gastro Pub
  • Kokopelli Grill
  • Sabai Thai Restaurant

Afternoon – Waterfalls

After lunch, you will be driving about 20 minutes to Madison Falls which is a short walk from the parking lot to the waterfall. The parking lot is right next to a crazy river.

River located next to the Madison Falls parking lot in Olympic National Park

Madison Falls was my favourite waterfall that we saw on our trip. It was so lush and mossy and just pretty. I also appreciated that the hike was nice and short because we did a lot of hiking that day.

Girl standing looking up at waterfall - Madison Falls in Olympic National Park

After Madison Falls, if you are keen for another waterfall, you can continue onto the Mount Storm King Ranger Station parking lot which is where you will find the trail to Marymere Falls.

Marymere Falls

Distance: 1.7 miles / 2.7km | Elevation: 315 ft / 96m | Time: 1 hour

Marymere Falls is another short but flat until the very last section hike through the forest. Marymere Falls is much harder to get a good photo of with you in it than Madison Falls.

Girl standing at MArymere Falls viewpoint

Late Afternoon – Lake Crescent

Once you have finished at the waterfalls, head down to Lake Crescent Lodge and hire a rowboat to take out on the lake or simply walk along the lake and soak up the sun (I hope the weather is kind to you and you get some sun).

Day 2 – Mystical Rainforests, Beautiful Beaches and a Vampire Town

Day 2 will have you driving quite a bit so make sure you stock up on snacks and maybe even a packed lunch before you go. You will have a chance to grab lunch in Forks on the way back to Port Angeles if you prefer this over a packed lunch.

Hoh Rainforest

Morning – The Hoh Rainforest

It is about a 2 hour drive to the Hoh Rainforest from Port Angeles so make sure you get a coffee before you leave. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the wettest places in the USA and has some of the most incredible old growth trees covered in bright green moss.

I recommend doing one of the trails, the Hall of Mosses or the Spruce Nature Trail to see the forest.

🌲 To find out which Hoh Rainforest trail is right for you, check out this guide!

Lunch – Visit the small town of Forks, where Twilight was set

Forks is the town that inspired Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight book series. I loved the books and so was pretty excited when we drove past that classic “Forks welcomes you” town sign! Forks is the perfect place to grab some lunch if you didn’t bring your own. Some places to try are:

  • The In Place
  • Longhouse Cafe
  • Blakeslees Bar and Grill

Afternoon – Rialto Beach and the Hole in the Wall

Rialto Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Olympic Peninsula. From the Hoh Rainforest, the drive to Rialto Beach is about 1 hour.

👉 Tip: Make sure you walk along Rialto Beach to the Hole in the Wall. You can get a great photo from the cliffside looking back down along Rialto Beach.

Distance: 5.3km / 3.4 miles | Time: 1-2 hours

The walk along the beach to the Hole in the Wall feels long because you are walking along the sandy beach the entire way. This walk is a great way to see the beach and very peaceful.

Late Afternoon – Sol Duc Falls

Distance: 1.6 miles / 2.6km | Elevation Gain: 226 ft / 69m | Time: 40 minutes – 1 hour

If you still have the energy and time, on your way back to Port Angeles, you could make a detour to the Sol Duc Falls trail. This short and easy trail leads you to another stunning waterfall in the forest.

Bonus Activities

If you finish seeing everything on this itinerary and have more time to spare, check out these bonus activities.

Explore the Beaches of the Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula could be an entire trip in itself, or you could spend a day exploring the beaches along the coastline. Check out this blog post for a list of the most beautiful beaches on the Olympic Peninsula.

Spend a day exploring Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery is the most Northwestern point of the Olympic Peninsula and the USA. Once you are there, there are trails that you can take to see some gorgeous views of the ocean and from some spots, you can see all of the way to Canada!

Girl looking out at Cape Flattery view

Hike Mount Storm King

Mount Storm King is one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park with an incredible view overlooking Lake Crescent. The hike is a bit of a grind, with way too many switchbacks through the forest, a fairly long rope climb and a terrifying scramble, but my main memory of it is that the view was mind-blowing!

We did Mount Storm King on the same day that we hiked Hurricane Hill but that is because we hiked up there for sunset. If you are going to hike Mount Storm King for sunset, make sure you are well prepared with plenty of food, water, bear spray and headlamps.

💭 My Thoughts

Olympic National Park is one of the most beautiful US National Parks (in my opinion) and it is quite underrated. People usually choose to go to places like Mount Rainier in Washington State and forget about Olympic National Park.

Dave and I have been to Olympic National Park a couple of times now and we will be back again because there is so much to see and do. Our favourite hike was Mount Storm King, although it was a little scarier than we were expecting. I also really loved Hurricane Ridge and had no idea how huge the mountains were up there!

Happy adventuring! 🥾

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