According to existingcountries, Olympic National Park is located in the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington state. It covers an area of 3492 square kilometers and is a kind of pearl among the national parks of the United States. In the Olympic area, completely different types of landscape are found in close proximity to each other. Wild and inaccessible mountains, alpine meadows, glaciers, coniferous and rain forest, enchanting beaches, lakes and watercourses are characteristic.
Due to the high humidity, the park is shrouded in coastal fog for most of the year. The primeval forest located here is perhaps the only temperate primeval forest of its kind. Over three thousand millimeters of precipitation falls here annually, which is approximately six times more than in the Czech Republic. Therefore, water is found here in almost all its forms – in the form of the sea, fog, rivers, streams, numerous waterfalls and even hot springs. However, the climate becomes drier towards the interior.
The Olympic Mountains range between 1,500 and 2,400 meters above sea level. The peaks are therefore covered with snow for most of the year, and the rocky slopes are also covered by over 60 glaciers. Except for the mountain tops, it rarely freezes in winter. Summer, on the other hand, is cooler and the mercury on the thermometer rarely exceeds 26 degrees Celsius. The park is only about 145 km from the city of Seattle, so it is easily accessible. It is open to tourists all year round and also provides ample accommodation facilities. French lumberjacks at the beginning of the 20th century were responsible for the discovery of this area. Olympic has been a national park since 1938.
The only main road passes through the park, along which grows the Big Cedar Tree, which is a huge cedar with a circumference of about 20 meters. The crown of an old tree provides shelter for many species of animals. The park also features massive Sitka spruces, western Hemlock conifers and Douglas firs. If you take the Hoh River Trail, you will reach the very heart of the dense and impenetrable vegetation called the Hoh Rain Forest. It is the biggest tourist attraction, because this section of the forest is the greenest part of the reserve. The Hoh Visitor Center is located nearby. The Hoh River Trail is 48 km long and ends at Glacier Meadows at the foot of Mount Olympus. If you plan to climb to the top, you must first register at the visitor center.
Another winding path leads through the so-called Hall of Mosses to the interior of the impenetrable forest, where almost no sunlight penetrates the dense treetops. Fallen logs often replace the soil here, and new ones grow directly from the decaying wood. If you need to stock up on food or gas during your wanderings through the park, or stay overnight in a cheaper motel, visit the port of Port Angeles, which is a kind of gateway to the park. From here, the road also rises to Hurricane Ridge – the high point of the reserve with a panorama of sixty active glaciers and the highest mountain, Mount Olympus, which reaches a height of 2427 meters above sea level.
Many hiking trails also cross the Sol Duc Hot Springs area, where you’ll even find a pool that’s heated by the thermal springs. With a bit of luck, you can observe herds of moose here. Other interesting places in the park include Ozette, Mora, Kalaloch and the Queets Indian settlement.