Olympic National Park – Washington

High mountains, rainforest and coast

According to Acronymmonster, Olympic National Park is located in western Washington state. The Olympic National Park was established in 1938 and was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1976. The sanctuary is located on Washington State ‘s Olympic Peninsula. North of the peninsula is neighboring Canada. Towards the western coast of the peninsula, the national park is joined by the Olympic National Forest, which reaches down to the sea. The Olympic National Park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Up to three million tourists come to the unique protected area in the north-west of the USA every year. The size of the Olympic National Park is 3,734 km².

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Ecosystems in Olympic National Park

There are numerous biotope types and different ecosystems to discover in Olympic National Park in western Washington State. Around the mountain region there are extensive forest areas with a rich flora and fauna. The coastal region is mostly covered in fog, the rocks on the coast are very rugged. The approximately 100 km long Pacific coast of the national park is literally strewn with driftwood. Swimming in the sea here is like a test of courage, since the water of the Pacific is very cold there. Beyond the immediate coastal area is an extensive coastal temperate rainforest,which is mostly shrouded in fog, at least near the coast. There are small and larger rocky islands in many places off the coast. Some of them are true bird paradises.

Flora and fauna

The national park’s largest mammals are moose, Roosevelt elk, and mule deer. Bobcats, cougars, coyotes and black bears also roam the region. The diversity of flora and fauna, some of which are only found endemic in the Olympic National Park, is very large overall. The different climate zones and ecosystems range from the high mountains of the Olympic Mountains to regions with extremely humid coastal fog rainforests to untouched special biotopes on the beach of the Olympic National Forest on the Pacific. The bird world is to be regarded as particularly rich in species and worthy of protection.

Glaciers, plenty of water and nature

The heart of the Olympic Conservation Area is formed by the high Olympic Mountains. with Mount Olympus. Numerous glaciers can be found in this high mountain region. During the summer, icy mountain streams of meltwater tumble down and irrigate the plains. The entire Olympic Peninsula can be described as very rich in water; countless rivers and streams drain the region. The Olympic Peninsula is considered the rainiest region in the USA. The more than sixty glaciers in the national park have formed a rocky landscape through their water drainage, which directs the water into the valleys towards the sea. The wildest and most beautiful streams and waterfalls can be found along the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The Quinault Rainforest Loop is a 45-kilometer loop around Lake Quinault. This trail is highly recommended for nature lovers; as there is a good chance of seeing animals such as bald eagles, moose, deer and maybe black bears.

The humid Hoh Rain Forest – mosses and ferns in Olympic National Park

Hoh Rain Forest – rain forest

In this very humid forest area of ​​the Olympic National Park you will find huge trees that are up to 500 years old. The largely originally preserved coastal rainforest is a popular destination for tourists. The forest floor is literally littered and shrouded in deadwood and moss, lichen and ferns. Forest fires are very rare here due to the high humidity of this ecosystem. Due to the high humidity, long moss beards have formed on the branches of the trees, a habitat for countless microorganisms. The hemlock is common here. The Hoh River, fed by melting glaciers, flows through the rainforest. The Hoh Rain Forestreceives copious amounts of rain during the winter months. A year-round 72-site campground is located at Hoh Rain Forest. The Hall of Moses Trail, Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Lake Trail and the longer Hoh River Trail lead through the temperate rainforest.

Colorful starfish on Shi Shi Beach at low tide in Olympic National Park

Some of the numerous highlights in the national park

Lake Crescent is a rather lonely lake in the national park. Those looking for peace and relaxation should visit the Lake Crescent region. Hurricane Ridge is a plateau, or rather, a lush green and colorful mountain meadow (alm) in spring and summer. In the summer, countless colorful wildflowers and herbs grow there, providing food for the numerous insects and pleasing to the human eye. If you are lucky, you may spot deer, marmots or even black bears while hiking through the region. Sol Duc Hot Springs has hot springs that may be used for bathing. Kalaloch Beachis an approximately 50 km long sandy beach on the Pacific. Many tourists stay mainly in this area of ​​the national park. The bird world and the life on the water and under water is particularly rich here. You don’t come here for swimming, but rather for the spectacular sunsets.

Olympic National Park