We just say “the Olympics” when we talk about our rainy national park, a bumpy line of peaks we can see over the Sound. Named for the home of the gods, Olympic National Park reigns as the fifth most visited national park in the country. Its three million annual visitors rank just behind blockbusters like Yosemite and Yellowstone.

It helps that Olympic National Park is in pieces: one big round blob encompassing the peaks and rain forest, then a sliver that runs a third of the length of Washington’s Pacific shore. Visitors stream into the meadows of Hurricane Ridge, the sands of Kalaloch, and the forest canopies of Hoh—or all three. 

It took two Presidents Roosevelt to preserve the nearly one million acres of Olympic National Park. Today it cradles forest creatures you won’t find anywhere else, rare temperate rain forest where winters drown in up to 14 feet of rain, and the largest unmanaged elk herd in the world. But now the park faces dwindling federal funding, and the challenge of removing dams that have gummed up its rivers for a century. Zeus may have lived on Olympus once upon a time, but these days the Olympics, and the expansive lands that make up Olympic National Park, are our treasure and our responsibility.

In This Feature:

Olympic National Park

10 Top Places to Visit in Olympic National Park

Whether you're hiking, camping, boating, or all the above—these are the must-visit places for your trip's itinerary.

  • Published 07/22/2011

Olympic National Park

Follow the Park Ranger (On a Bear Hunt)

Olympic National Park ranger Susannah “Sanny” Lustig leads us on a bear hunt.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Olympic National Park

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Summer Things to Do

Stargaze at Hurricane Ridge, swim in the mineral pools of the Sol Duc Valley, or rock climb Mount Cruiser.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Park Trails You Don’t Know

The best hiking trails you don’t know in Olympic National Park.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Poet of the Park

Tim McNulty serves as unofficial poet laureate of Olympic National Park.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Slideshow

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Art of the Park

Peter Malarkey, Steve Davis, Eirik Johnson, and N.P. Bank Note Company present the Olympic Peninsula through different lens.

  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Places to Stay in the Park

The best places to stay in Olympic National Park.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: The Marmot Brigade

This summer, more than 100 volunteers will scour Olympic National Park for evidence of Marmota olympus, our own special marmot.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Where the Wild Things Are

A field guide to the animals of Olympic National Park.

  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Art of the Park

Peter Malarkey, Steve Davis, Eirik Johnson, and N.P. Bank Note Company present the Olympic Peninsula through different lens.

  • By Allison Williams
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Essential Rain Gear

Essential rain gear for Olympic National Park.

  • By Lisa Han
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Saving the Park

Helping to preserve Olympic National Park: Washington National Park Fund, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, Student Conservation Association, Friends of Olympic National Park, and Olympic Park Institute.

  • By Annie Rose Favreau
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

Insider’s Guide to Olympic National Park: Timeline of Olympic National Park

A history of Olympic National Park.

  • By Julia Scherzinger
  • Published 07/22/2011

Article

The Elwha's Last Dam Summer

It began 25 years ago as a radical idea: destroying two dams to save the Elwha River. It ends this month as a commonsense solution. Gentlemen, start your jackhammers.

  • By Bruce Barcott
  • Published 07/22/2011