Our team built this tour to connect in a meaningful way with an extremely powerful natural place. Learn about what makes the Olympic Peninsula so unique and rich while you reconnect with the natural silence that has been part of how humans have experienced the world for millennia – though it’s being rapidly lost in our modern age.
We combine great hikes, good people, the best accommodations in the area and lots of laughs with an examination of what natural silence is, why it’s important, and what it feels like to engage with it. Olympic National Park is considered one of the last bastions of natural silence in the U.S.A. and the quietest place in North America. You’ll follow in the footsteps of Roosevelt elk and black tail deer, discover tumbling waterfalls that feed into the crystalline Hoh River, explore wild beaches at low-tide, sample up to a dozen types of wild berries and decompress under canopies of moss-draped big leaf maples spreading out overhead. Get outside, slow down, tune in, and enjoy this magical place with us.
The flow of the tour has been carefully crafted to maximize your time outside and provide quality access to as many of the highlights the National Park has to offer as possible. Each of the lodgings has accessible walks and trails nearby, providing opportunities for self-exploration. We’ll be walking, exploring and learning together each day as well – tailoring the distances and timing to you as we circumnavigate the Park. We aim to minimize transfer and vehicle time, but the Olympic National Park is massive and remote that some vehicle time is required each day. All of the hikes can accommodate a wide range of ability levels and interests.
Day 1: Lake Quinault Rainforest and Lodge
Lake Quinault. Giant Trees. Wild berries.
To the Northwest Coast natives, Quinault means “river with a lake in the middle.” It is the name of the land and lake as well as the tribe who lived there. The Quinault River basin famously holds six different species of record-sized trees. While it’s a bit of a drive from Seattle this morning, don’t worry; once we reach the lake you will be in the Big Trees before you can get out of the van! Walk the network of trails around the lodge and along the lake this afternoon to see some of the largest western red cedar, Sitka spruce, western hemlock and Douglas fir trees on the planet. Learn about the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the U.S. while you sample up to a dozen types of wild berries. Spend the night on the shores of the lake in historic Lake Quinault Lodge.
5 miles (or more), 100ft gain, 600ft elev.
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Day 2: Kalaloch – Coastal Forests and Beaches
Wild Coastline, Burl Forest. Ruby Beach.
In the language of the local natives, Kalaloch means “a good place to land.” We think you will agree. After breakfast in the Roosevelt Dining Room where “FDR” once had lunch, we will head to the coast. In sharp contrast to the soaring inland forests, forbidding-looking tangles of gnarled spruce and wind-whipped shore pines line the coastal beaches. Keep an eye out for scurrying shore birds, surf-riding scoters and soaring bald eagles as we wander across fine sands. With luck we will time our walk beneath these towering bluffs just right to reach the tide pools and rocky headlands of Brown’s Point at low tide. In the evening, the garnet-tinged sands and offshore haystacks of Ruby Beach form the perfect sunset backdrop. Spend the night along the ocean at Kalaloch National Park Lodge.
Walking Distances: 2 miles trail hiking plus 5 to 7 miles along the beach
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Day 3: The Hoh Rainforest
Ancient Trees and Mosses. Otherworldly Silence. The Hoh River.
Step into an ancient time when our presence in the forest was guided by a need to hear but not be heard. Cited as being one of the quietest places on earth, today we hike into the most famous rainforest in the park. Hoh means “whitewater,” an apt description for this boulder-strewn, braided ribbon of a river formed from the glaciers on Mt Olympus. Begin at the Visitor’s Center on the Hall of Mosses Nature Trail and continue up the Hoh River Trail to Mt Tom Creek for lunch by the river. With any luck, we will track down an elk herd along the way, but regardless: colonnades of spruce stretch toward the sky high above the canopy, big leaf maples spread out over green meadows, and lichens and mosses run wall to wall and floor to ceiling. In the midst of this silent forest, there is more biomass per acre than anywhere else on the planet. Inevitably, you will run out of different ways to describe “green”. Go to sleep with the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean outside your window again tonight at the Quileute Oceanside Resort in La Push.
Walking Distance: up to 11 miles, 300ft gain, 800-1000ft elev.
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Day 4: Wild Beaches and Sea Stacks
Tide-pooling. Beachcombing. Sea Stacks.
In addition to vast rainforests and a mountain range, Olympic National Park features more miles of wild coastline than anywhere else in the lower-48 states. Take a short drive up the coast this morning to take a hike from Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Wall. Mountains of driftwood mark the high tide line along the shore. Dally amongst the colorful tide pools, spying on sea stars, sea anemones and tiny fish. Watch for whales, sea lion, otter and pelagic birds offshore amid the sea stacks. No need to move our camp today, so we will head back to Quileute Oceanside Resort and you can spend your afternoon as you wish. Relax on the porch of your cabin with the beach at your feet or explore more beautiful beaches and rock formations within walking distance of the resort.
Walking Distance: Hole-in-the-Wall: 4 miles along the beach with options for more exploring
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Day 5: Sol Duc / Deer Lake
Waterfalls. Sub-alpine Forest. Mountain Lake.
Famous for its wild salmon and steelhead runs – fish story, anyone? – Sol Duc means “sparkling water”. Visit Sol Duc Hot Springs, where according to legend two badly behaved dragons, Sol Duc and Elwha, were imprisoned in deep caverns high in the mountains. The hot tears they weep as a result of their confinement supply the waters for the hot springs along these rivers. Hike first to photogenic Sol Duc Falls, where beams of light filter through the emerald forest canopy to play on the waters. Beyond the falls, you will have to choose whether you want to return to the resort and bathe in hot dragon tears, or continue on up the trail (literally) to Deer Lake, a tiny mountain lake set amongst sub-alpine meadows and forest where wildflowers abound. After the hike, we head down to the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to sample some of the Northwest’s best “tavern-chic” cuisine and enjoy more water views from our rooms at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles.
Sol Duc Falls: 2 miles, 200ft gain, 2000ft elev.
Deer Lake: 8 miles, 1700ft gain, 2000-3600ft elev.
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Day 6: Hurricane Ridge
Wildflowers. Olympic Marmots. Mountain Vistas. Ferry-ride.
Today we celebrate our last day with an ascent to the literal high-point of the tour – Hurricane Ridge. This land is truly shaped by wind – gusting to over 70 mph, with snows 30-35 feet deep. We climb up through alpine meadows and tree islands, dodging black-tailed deer, mountain goats and Olympic marmots (an endemic species of giant ground squirrel) until we reach Hurricane Hill. There we are met by sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains to the south and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island to the north. Following our trip into the high-country, our return to Seattle concludes with a spectacular sunset ferry ride through the Puget Sound archipelago.
Walking Distance: 5 miles, 700ft, 5100-5800ft elev.
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Olympic National Park Tour Details
- Tour Highlights
- Is This Tour for Me?
- Tour Inclusions
- Accommodations & Food
- Customizations for Your Family or Group
- Additional Information
- Tour Preparation
Enjoy stays at the finest lodging the Olympic Peninsula has to offer..
Explore the diversity of the Park in just three days: one in the rainforest, one on the beaches and one in the mountains.
Naturalist guides connect you to the story behind the scenery!
If you want to do more than just hike and see the sights, our naturalist guides will help you connect with the story behind the natural wonders of this diverse region.
This tour is suitable for all hiking abilities.
Naturalist tour leader
National Park entry fees.
Overnight accommodations – all included
We will pack our trail lunches from fresh, local, organic (where possible) ingredients.
Full breakfasts – all included.
Full dinners – including appetizers. (Alcohol at restaurants is not provided.)
Ferry fees and transportation.
Snacks, water, sparkling water, local wine, local beer, etc.
Accommodations for this itinerary feature the finest that the Peninsula has to offer: Lake Quinault Lodge (lakeside), Kalaloch Lodge (oceanfront), and Quileute Oceanside Resort (oceanfront). For our last night we use waterfront rooms at the Red Lion in Port Angeles. These accommodations were selected to minimize driving time as well as give you the opportunity to explore beaches, water views and forests on your own as well as with the group.
NOTE: Due to the remoteness of the area, the meals on this tour range from “casual diners” (our only options for two mornings/nights), to Park Lodges (two mornings/nights), to our celebratory final dinner at our favorite “Tavern-chic” restaurant on the Peninsula.
See the Customizations tab for other ideas and options for your group. We are happy to tailor the tour to suit your desires and budget!
While the infrequency of accommodations and restaurants on the Olympic Peninsula does reduce the number of available options, we offer the following ideas for creating a different experience or more economic tour for your group. We are happy to discuss these and other possibilities with you!
Substitute accommodations can be found at the 2-star Rain Forest Resort for Day One and Day Two. Alternate dining for dinner is available at the Salmon House at the resort as well. Currently, the Lake Quinault Lodge is the only place available for breakfast seating.
Cheaper, but very basic, accommodations for Day Three and Day Four can be found in Forks at the hotels the fishermen frequent. Casual dining options in town are the same as for the normal itinerary. Forks is about a 30-minute drive from the coast and 45-min. to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center.
There are also a variety of less-expensive hotels in Port Angeles for Day Five.
The hikes are easily customized (shortened or extended) to meet the desires or abilities of your group.
The tour can be shortened to 3, 4 or 5 days in duration as well. We do not recommend an overnight (2 day) tour due the travel time required getting to and from the Peninsula from Seattle. See our 3-Day Olympic National Park Hiking tour itineraries for our shortest recommended itinerary suggestions.
Inevitably, there are questions about the weather. It is a rainforest after all. The good news is, while up to fourteen feet of precipitation falls here every year, the area averages less than four inches per month during the summer. July and August are the driest months, followed by June and September.
The tour can be run virtually any time of the year, but winter months are not recommended as the daylight hours are quite short (+/- 8 hrs) and the rain can be … daunting!
If tide-pooling is on your list of highlights, the best times of the year for low tides during daylight hours usually fall between May and early August. Call for information on specific dates.
National Parks and Monuments: Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park: A Natural History by Tim McNulty (2009) Roadside Guide to the Olympic Peninsula by Christopher Chapman (2014) Ancient Forests of the Pacific Northwest by Elliott A. Norse (1990) The Final Forest by William Dietrich (1992) Cascade-Olympic Natural History: A Trailside Reference by Daniel Mathews (1988) Additional suggestions
Below is a suggested list of items that you may want to bring on your upcoming hiking tour. When packing, remember that the weather can offer surprises, especially in the mountains. Plan to dress in layers and carry extra clothing every day for lunch and rest stops.
- Hiking pants or convertible pants
- Casual clothes—jeans, shorts, sport shirts
- Dinner clothes—nice casual attire is fine
- Hiking boots suitable for rocky trails
- Casual shoes
- Hiking socks (no cotton) and casual socks
- Sweater or light jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Bathing suit for hot tubs and spas
- Camera, extra batteries, charger, and memory cards; dry bag (optional)
- Daypack with hydration system
- Driver’s license
- National Parks or Federal Recreation Lands Pass (optional; bring it if you have one)
- Reading material
- Ball cap for sun protection
- Sunglasses – dark enough for snow and bright sun
- Insect repellant of choice
- Toiletries and blister kit
- Vitamins and / or prescription drugs
- Extra set of glasses or contacts
- Small headlamp or flashlight
- Trekking poles (collapsible)
- A spirit of adventure
Additional Items for Cooler Seasons and High Elevations
- Baselayer shirts and tights
- Long sleeve fleece or mid-weight jacket suitable for active hiking
- Warm jacket for mornings and evenings
- Fleece or wool hat
- Winter gloves
- Thermal socks
- Wool sweater
- Waterproof rain gear
- Pack cover (optional)