What to do in Olympic National Park

For our last trip in July, we headed northwest to the state of Washington to explore Seattle and Olympic National Park.  While here we hiked, did sightseeing, sunset watching, and stargazing.  Below is a breakdown of the trip and a few takeaways!

Know Before You Go

  • The summer months are the most frequently visited of the year at Olympic
  • The park is huge!  It stretches over 1,442 sq miles and has everything from mountains, rain forests, lakes, and beaches
  • Entrance fee into the park is $25 a vehicle (depending on where you go, i.e. Hoh Rain Forest)
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Where to Stay

There are plenty of places to stay the night in or around Olympic National Park.  You have your choice of campgrounds, hotels, motels, and lakefront resorts and Airbnb.  We chose to stay at an Airbnb right outside the park in a town called, Sequim.  Port Angeles is another nice little town if you want to stay in a more urban area than a campground!

Booking.com

What Did We Do?

Day 1

Vance Creek Bridge

Our first stop on our list was Vance Creek Bridge.  Although not in the national park it’s on your way and a really interesting place.  What you’ll find is an abandoned railway bridge that is the second tallest railway trestle in America.

Vance Creek Bridge Overview
Overview of Vance Creek Bridge

Disclosure: This area has a lot of warning signs stating you should not to hike the trail and it is really dangerous.  Go at your own risk.

Walking on Vance Creek Bridge, pretty sketchy.

High Steel Bridge

Similar to Vance Creek Bridge, High Steel Bridge is a truss arch bridge rising 365ft above the Skokomish river.  This is about 15 minutes from Vance Creek and a perfect stop before you make your way into the park.  Much more accessible than Vance Creek gives the less daring folk the opportunity to see incredible views without any risks.

High Steel Bridge
Birds eye view of High Steel Bridge.

Northern Side of Olympic National Park

1. Port Angeles and Sequim

We stayed in Sequim in a lovely little Airbnb and grabbed a bite to eat at Barhop Brewing and Artisan Pizza.  Port Angeles or Sequim is a great spot to find an Airbnb or hotel for the night if you’re staying on the eastern side of Olympic National Park.  To get there from the bridges you drive up the 101 next to Hood Canal.  Route 101 is a nice scenic drive and during the mid-summer months (July/August) the water is a turquoise color due to algae.

2. Sunset at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is on the northern side of Olympic National Park, right next to Marymere Falls.  For sunset, we snagged a front seat view at East Beach with our Banzai Unlimited inflatable lounger

Lake Crescent Sunset
Sunset at Lake Crescent with the Banzai Unlimited and some pizza!

There are two main lodging areas near Lake Crescent and reservations are booked through www.olympicnationalparks.com.

  1. Log Cabin Resort – Northern side
  2. Lake Crescent Lodge – Southern side

3. Stargazing at Deer Park Campground

My favorite part of this trip was stargazing at Deer Park Campground.  This is south of Port Angeles and a bit of drive on a dirt road up the mountain.  There is no service and if you’re driving at night (like we were) take it really slow.  The road is a switchback straight up.

Stargazing Deer Park Campground
The milky way at Deer Park Campground.

Day 2

Eastern Side of Olympic National Park

On our second day in Olympic National Park, we headed east from Sequim driving down rt 101.  Checking out Lake Crescent taking our time at the multiple viewpoints which were magnificent.

View of Lake Crescent
Viewpoint off Rt. 101 of Lake Crescent

Hoh Rain Forest

The main objective of the day was to visit Hoh Rain Forest.  Hoh Rain Forest is a forest of moss-draped trees along the Hoh River.  There are two main trails, a visitor center, and a campground.  You can knock both of them our in about 2 hours if you’re stopping to take pictures, etc.

  1. Hoh River Trail
  2. Hall of Mosses
Hoh River Trail
Hoh River Trail

 

Hall of Mosses Trail
Hall of Mosses Trail

We did a little marketing video for our Banzai Unlimited product, which can be found on Banzai Unlimited’s Instagram account.

Ruby Beach

Heading south from Hoh Rain Forest on Rt 101 brings you right to Ruby Beach.  At Ruby Beach, where you have to trek over piles of driftwood to put your toes in the sand.

Logs at Ruby Beach
Piles of Logs at Ruby Beach

 

Banzai At Ruby Beach
Marketing Banzai Unlimited at Ruby Beach

Overall Summary  

Olympic National Park is massive and there’s a lot to see.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hit every item we wanted to, some of these items include, Marymere Falls, Sol Duc Falls, and the Sol Duc Hot Springs.

If you think traveling to Washington but think the flights are too expensive, consider learning how to accumulate thousands of frequent flier points and miles without having to fly or stay at hotels!  We created an online course that teaches you exactly how to redeem flights for as little as $5.60 and we will give you a free guide to finding cheap flights!

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If you have any comments or questions, drop a comment below!

About The Author

Kevin Mathers

A washed-up hockey player, surfer, and husband currently working towards financial freedom and showing you how we do it as a couple. I started this blog initially as a personal finance blog but after getting married, Taylor (my wife and best friend) and I decided to switch gears into the travel world sharing our experiences with you along the way.

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