Olympic National Park
|Second Beach, Olympic National Park (Photodisc/Getty)|
Northwestern Washington. The Olympic Peninsula thrusts like a thumb into the Pacific, separated from the mainland by the Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park occupies the bulk of the peninsula's interior (and is surrounded by Olympic National Forest, which encompasses almost all other land), as well as a narrow strip along the coast.
From Seattle, the northern parts of the park are best accessed by first taking a ferry across the Puget Sound, then following U.S. 101 to your destination. Other areas of the park are best reached by skirting south of the sound, taking I-5 to U.S. 12 to U.S. 101.
Bus lines: Port Angeles is served daily from downtown Seattle and SeaTac Airport by Olympic Bus Lines and Tours. Reservations are recommended: Call 360-452-3858.
Airlines: SeaTac is the nearest major airport; Horizon Air (an Alaska Airlines affiliate) provides regularly scheduled flights to Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles.
Ferry Service: Car and passenger ferry service is available throughout most of the year between Victoria, British Columbia, and Port Angeles. Reservations are not available, but for more information, contact Black Ball Transport, Inc. at 360-457-4491. Victoria Rapid Transit operates a summer passenger-only ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria. For reservations and information, call 360-452-8088.
In recent years, Olympic National Park has been getting approximately four million visits annually. Most visitors come from July through September. December and January are the quietest months. Basic orientation information, as well as exhibits and an introductory slide program are available at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. The Port Angeles center is open and staffed year-round and serves as the park's primary information and orientation center.
Two other visitor centers are located in Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rainforest. Both provide exhibits and visitor information. These centers are open throughout the year (when road and weather conditions allow), but may be self-service during the winter months.
Exhibits are also located at the following ranger stations: Staircase, Storm King (at Lake Crescent), Ozette, and Kalaloch.
The park itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Most roads and campgrounds remain open year-round, although several are subject to winter closure because of snow. Visitor center hours vary throughout the year.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication