A first-rate adventure in our favorite 1,500 square mile national treasure – spend time on foot in our favorite places in Olympic National Park! Join the Northwest’s favorite guides on an unforgettable exploration of the quiet corners of UNESCO World Heritage Site Olympic National Park.
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 Crescent + Pacific Coast
Turquoise waters. Misty Waterfalls. Driftwood Beaches. Roaring Waves.
Today will showcase water of all forms – inland sound, mountain lakes, dripping waterfalls, and thunderous ocean. After traveling aboard the Wasthington State Ferry system, wind along classic Highway 101 through the small towns of the Olympic Peninsula. Wander the shores of the illuminating Lake Crescent, one of the clearest lakes in the U.S. and replete with fantastic legends. Learn about the history of Storm King and the various explanations for the formation of this region and walk narrow forested trail that will bring you to tucked away falls. In sharp contrast to the soaring inland forests, the coastal beaches are lined with forbidding-looking tangles of gnarled spruce and wind-whipped shore pines. Keep an eye out for scurrying shore birds, surf-riding scoters, and soaring bald eagles as we wander across fine sands. An evening stroll can take you to the ancient tree of life hanging on the bluffs as the sun goes down.
5 miles (or more), mostly flat
DAY 2: The Hoh Rainforest
Old Growth Forests. Rippling Rivers. Moss Draped Trees. Natural Silence.
Cited as being one of the quietest places on earth, and truly one of the “bucket-list” destinations in the Park, the Hoh Rainforest allows us to step into an ancient time when our presence in the forest was guided by a need to hear but not be heard. Hoh means “whitewater,” an apt description for the 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 for lunch by the river, and with any luck, track down an elk herd along the way. 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 this silent forest, there is more biomass per acre than anywhere else on the planet. Inevitably, you will run out of adjectives for “green!” From the Hoh, we continue around the peninsula to Port Angeles on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Enjoy more water views from your room at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles, and celebrate a fabulous trip with some of the Northwest’s finest “tavern-chic” cuisine!
Hall of Mosses and Hoh Rainforest Trail: up to 10 miles and 800 ft. gain (optional), 800-1000 ft. elevation
DAY 3: 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 shaped by wind – gusting to over 70 mph, with snows 30-35 feet deep. We climb up through alpine meadows and tree islands, spying 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 ferry ride across the Puget Sound.
5 miles, 700 ft. gain, 5100-5800 ft. elevation