Best Time to Visit Olympic National Park

Plan your visit to Olympic National Park: Best times for wildlife, hiking, & stunning views. Ideal travel tips for families & solo adventurers alike.

Tobi Miles
July 5, 2024
Plan your visit to Olympic National Park: Best times for wildlife, hiking, & stunning views. Ideal travel tips for families & solo adventurers alike.

Olympic National Park stands out as one of the best getaway locations in the world—and rightly so! From beautiful rain forests to lush river valleys to amazing wildlife and astonishing views, the park simply has it all. So when is the best time to visit Olympic National Park?

The best time to visit Olympic National Park is July through August, when temperatures are most pleasant, averaging highs of 23°C/ 73°F and lows of 10°C/ 51°F. Despite the occasional summer rush, hotel prices are fairly reasonable and stay around $55 to $90 per night. You will be able to enjoy the park's iconic wildlife.

The Olympic National Park is filled with many exciting activities and incredible adventures that keep visitors thrilled and entertained. It packs various exotic places that add to the park's breathtaking natural experience. And these unique qualities are what make it a perfect destination to visit any time of the year.

When Should You Not Visit Olympic National Park?

Olympic National Park is a great place to visit all year round. Thanks to an endless list of activities, many things are available to do every month.

However, December through January is arguably the worst time to visit the Olympic national park when winter is at its peak. Daily temperatures are usually quite cold; usually around 1°C/ 33°F. Popular spots like Hurricane Ridge are mostly closed or restricted during these winter months.

When is the Cheapest Time to go to Olympic National Park?

The cheapest time to visit Olympic National Park is November through April, when tourist visitations drop drastically, and prices begin to fall. The freezing cold during the first few months sees a fewer crowd in the park. This is a great opportunity for visitors to save up to 20% on hotel and flight fees.

You can also visit the park during the off-season when the weather is slightly more pleasant. While accommodation fees might not be as cheap as in the winter months, you would still get less expensive deals than in summer.

What Time of Year is the Best Weather in Olympic National Park?

January: Skiing and Snowboarding

January is the best time to engage in some winter sports and activities when the weather is at its coldest. Daily temperatures drop really low, averaging highs of 5°C/42°F and lows of -1°C/30°F. During this period, you will discover several snow-capped mountains in the park suitable for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Grab your winter sports gear and hit the slopes at Hurricane Ridge for some thrilling Skiing or Snowboarding activity. The park is open to skiing enthusiasts and even beginners. There's a ski lesson available for those new to this winter sport.

Hurricane Ridge has various slopes for different skill levels. So whether or not you're good at the sport, there's a slope that suits your ability. The wild backcountry terrain and level Meadows are also great places for snowshoeing.

  • Skiing And snowboarding at Hurricane Ridge
  • Snowshoeing in wild backcountry terrain and level meadows.

February: Hike along Marymere Falls

February is a great time to visit Marymere Falls when the winter season slowly ends. The weather is normally cool, with temperatures at an average high of 5°C/42°F and lows of 0°C/32°F. It's also a lovely time to hike along the Marymere Falls trail and explore the pristine forest.

The Marymere Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Peninsula region. This location is usually quite magical during this time of the year, providing a stunning view from its endpoint. Hiking along the trail is refreshing and short—about 0.9 miles(1.44km).

Enjoy a spectacular view as you walk through flowing streams and virgin forests. An early morning hike through this trail is a great way to start your day at the park.

  • Marymere Falls trail
  • Marymere Falls at Northwestern Corner

Related Read: 25 Best Waterfalls in Washington State

March: Hoh Rainforest

March is a wonderful time to visit one of the most beautiful places in the Olympic National Park— the Hoh rainforest. Temperatures get warmer as we enter the spring season, averaging daily highs of 8°C/46°F and lows of 1°C/34°F. There are low tourist visitations during this period, allowing you to enjoy a quiet experience in the forest.

The forest is filled with beautiful trees and vegetation, which becomes more evident when the snow has melted. The annual rainfall ranges from 100 to 150 inches, giving the forest a greener and more colorful view.

An early visit will give you the perfect opportunity to soak yourself in the lush and captivating atmosphere of the rainforest with fewer people around. It takes about 18 miles to get to the rainforest from Route 101. The forest is usually open to visitors from 10 am to 5 pm.

  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Hoh river trail

April: Visit Ozette Lake

April is the best time to check out Ozette Lake when the weather is warmer and pleasant. Temperatures are usually around an average high of 11°C/52°F and a low of 3°C/37°F. As the snow melts, you'll get a better view of the stunning landscapes. Soak in the brighter scenery by paying a visit to Ozette Lake.

Go for a mountain hike along the Ozette loop, which is a rewarding trek for those who fancy glacial journeys and tours. The Ozette triangle trail is quite easy to navigate— connecting the coast to the beach and the islands. Hiking through this loop takes about 9.2(14.8km) in one day.

You'll enjoy hiking along this crowd-free and pristine part of the park. Take some time to enjoy the beautiful tide pools and Lake. There's even a campground if you intend to spend the night.

  • Lake Ozette Loop trail
  • 3-Day Olympic Backpacking- Ozette Coast
  • Canoeing on Lake Ozette
  • Fishing and Kayaking at Lake Ozette

Related Read: 15 Best Campgrounds in Olympic National Park

May: Kalaloch Beach

May is the best time to visit Kalaloch Beach in the park as the weather gets hotter and we approach the summer. Daily temperature levels rise around an average high of 17°C/62°F and a low of 6°C/43°F. The warm weather is a great excuse to get your feet wet and experience the exotic views of the beach.

Take a 15-minute coastal walk to reach the chic shores of Kalaloch Beach. Here you'll discover rocky islands and coasted rocks.

Many visitors enjoy early morning beach walks up to the iconic Kalaloch Tree of Life. This is one of the spiritual spots in the park and an excellent location for meditation and self-reflection.

Also, take some sunscreen along as you'll surely need it. Lots of it.

  • Kalaloch Beach- Olympic Wilderness Coast
  • The western side of the Olympic
  • Enjoy a calm period of mindfulness, solitude, and spiritual awakening at Kalaloch Beach.
  • Beach walk to the Kalaloch tree

June: Elk Spotting

The summer period in June is the time for some wildlife watching when the weather is most pleasant, and the park's wildlife becomes more visible. Temperatures are usually around average highs of 18°C/65°F and lows of 8°C/47°F. This month is an exciting time of the year as you can spot various fascinating wildlife.

The park is home to species such as the Roosevelt Elk, Olympic Marmot, Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Olympic Chipmunk, Snowshoe Hare, and black bears. These animals are commonly spotted on the western side of the Olympic National Park.

Stroll along the Olympic National Rainforest to spot some Elks and Black bears. These large mammals become more conspicuous in the river valleys this month.

Be sure to keep a safe distance while spotting the Roosevelt Elk. There's an excellent elevation suitable for wildlife watching in Olympic National Park.

  • Elk Spotting at the Olympic National Park
  • Wildlife viewing tours
  • Wildlife spotting at Hoh rainforest

July: Hurricane Ridge

July is the best time to visit Hurricane Ridge when precipitation levels are at their lowest. The weather is usually quite humid, with temperatures ranging around an average high of 23°C/73°F and a low of 10°C/ 51°F. This is a lovely time to make a stop at the park's most popular place and enjoy.

Hurricane Ridge is a common destination in Olympic National Park and sees regular visits due to its easy access. It's one of the most popular locations visitors look forward to visiting. From the Straits of Juan de Fuca to the famous Mt. Olympus to 3,500 miles of stream and rivers, there are a lot of fascinating sights to admire in this spot.

Enjoy a scenic drive to the top of the Olympic Mountains(5200ft), where you'll be able to get a bird's eye view of the entire park. Stop by the Hurricane Ridge visitor center to grab a map highlighting directions of the park's trails, geography, and history.

Enjoy amazing park views as you hike along the Hurricane Ridge trail. Returning to the parking lot takes about 3.2 miles.

  • Visit the Hurricane Ridge Center for directions.
  • A scenic to the Strait of Juan de Fuca
  • Hurricane Ridge trail Hike

August: Wildflower Peeping

As summer begins to reach its peak, the month of August becomes a great time to go wildflower peeping in the park. The weather is usually warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging between a daily average high of 24°C/76°F and lows of 11°C/52°F. The park experiences wildflower bloom during this period, adding a kaleidoscopic touch to the landscapes.

While this isn't a popular activity in the park, wildflower peeping can be quite an enjoyable experience for nature lovers. Like wildlife watching, you can spend some time admiring the lush and vibrant displays of blooming wildflowers in the park. This specular transformation gives you something to feast your eyes on.

You can go wildflower peeping in the following regions:

  • Olympic National Park
  • Hurricane Ridge
  • Deer Park
  • Hoh Rainforest

Related Read: 30 Top Treehouse Rentals in Washington

September: Visit Port Angeles

September is a great time to explore other parts outside the park when the weather is mild and suitable for a journey. Temperature levels begin to peak, ranging between 20°C/69°F and 9°C/ 49°F. A trip to the town of Port Angeles should be one of the top things to do on your list.

Port Angeles is one of the closest locations to the park. The region is a superb location for various activities such as hiking, whale watching, kayaking, and biking. It also has a rich history with an amazing culture and friendly residents.

It takes about 6 miles to get to the area and return. You can also book accommodation in the city, which will still be close to the Olympic National Park and Hurricane Ridge.

  • A visit to Port Angeles- located on the northern side of the Olympic National Park.
  • Bella Italia Italian Restaurant
  • The Dungeness Spit wildlife refuge
  • Inn-based Hiking

October: Biking the Olympic Discovery Trail

October is the best time to bike along the Olympic Discovery Trail when the weather is pleasant for some outdoor activities. Daily temperatures drop from the previous month, falling between an average high of 14°C/57°F and lows of 6°C/42°F. There are fewer tourist visits during this period, which makes popular park trails decongested for outdoor sports.

The Olympic Discovery Trail is a biker's dream route as it extends long enough for biking, hiking, and walking. This location is hugely popular thanks to various fascinating views you'll find along the way.

The trail is about 135 miles from Port Townsend. You get 40 miles of paved roads, making biking the Olympic Discovery Trail much more fun.

  • Biking Olympic Discovery Trail- located on the northern side of the park.
  • Mountain Biking Olympic National Forest

November: Lake Crescent

November is the best time to check the Lake Crescent Lodge as the weather becomes cold and cool. Daily Temperatures are usually between an average of 8°C/46°F and 2°C/36°F. The park gets fewer visitations due to weather changes, so hotel and flight fees are typically much cheaper.

A visit to the Lake Crescent Lodge is one to add to your list of things to do at the park. The Lake offers many fun-filled family activities such as kayaking, fishing, canoe paddling, and swimming. It's a great place to enjoy the area's solitude with fewer visitors.

The Lake Crescent is a unique place that contains several rare fish species. So feel free to grab your fishing equipment and catch some Beardslee strouts and Crescent.

  • Lake Crescent Lodge- is located at the northwestern corner of the park.
  • Fishing, kayaking, boating, and paddling at the Lake.

December: Star Gazing

December is a great time to enjoy a beautiful stargazing experience as we approach the freezing winter. The weather is usually extremely cold, with temperature levels around an average of 4°C/40°F and -0°C/32°F. The park is generally crowd-free during this time of the year, with many tourists returning home for winter celebrations.

The dark night skies at Olympic National Park are simply mesmerizing as it transforms into a mystical view of glowing stars. This allows you to experience a scintillating display of the stars during the late night hour. This is an enchanting experience for astrophotographers and sky lovers.

Watching the stars phosphorescing in the night is one of the most beautiful things to do in the park. Find a comfortable spot to lay down and gaze into the magical night skies of Olympic National Park. Remember to grab a winter coat to avoid catching some cold.

You can enjoy this breathtaking stargazing experience at the following places:

  • Olympic National Park.
  • Deer Park
  • Hurricane Ridge

Related Read: Western National Parks Road Trip: U.S.A

How Many Days Should You Spend at Olympic National Park?

There is an extensive array of things to do at Olympic National Park, which sometimes makes it difficult to decide how long you should stay.

Nonetheless, a minimum of three days should be enough time to explore the various fantastic places and fun activities in the park. Start your getaway experience with visits to Hurricane Ridge, the magical waterfalls, and the pristine Hoh rainforest.

Pick up a map of the Olympic National Park at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor's Center for detailed information on directions and places to visit. Hike and explore the various park trails filled with lush rainforests and amazing landscapes.

What is The Best Time to Visit Olympic National Park With Family?

July through November is the best time to visit Olympic National Park with family when the weather is still suitable for some outdoor activities. Daily temperatures remain cool and peak around the 20°C/ 69°F range. Most park trails and activities are still accessible during this period.

Take a scenic family drive to Lake Crescent or Hurricane Ridge and engage in activities like paddling, fishing, and kayaking. You'll also discover many family-related activities at Olympic National Park Lake Quinault Lodge.

When is The Best Time to Visit Hurricane Ridge?

The best time to visit Hurricane Ridge is the late afternoon in the summer and fall seasons when the weather is warm and pleasant. Hiking along Hurricane Ridge during this time of day allows you to experience the beautiful glowing light in the park. This view is most glaring in late July.

Hurricane Ridge opens throughout the day between May and October. The area is usually closed or restricted during winter due to freezing weather conditions.

What is the Best Month to Visit Olympic National Park to Avoid the Crowds

October through December are the best months of the year to avoid crowds in the park due to the reduction of tourism visits. You can also take advantage of cheap hotel fees, usually around $60 to $90 per night.

Summer is typically the busiest time of the year. However, the crowd begins to reduce as precipitation levels rise and the park experiences regular rainfalls and snow. Despite this generally unpleasant weather condition, there are still many fun things to do in Olympic National Park.

When is The Best Time for a Winter Trip to Olympic National Park?

December to January is the best time to make a winter trip down to Olympic National  Park. Check out places like Hurricane Ridge for a lovely hiking experience along its many trails. Enjoy exciting skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding adventures at the Ridge.

Despite the weather transition, you'll still discover many fantastic activities and places to visit. The park's diverse ecosystem offers many benefits that make a winter trip to the Olympic Peninsula worth the visit.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
July 5, 2024 11:02 AM

Tobi Miles is a University of Florida graduate turned globe-trotting culinary explorer and digital nomad expert. As the founder of "Bytes & Bites," he combines his passion for international cuisine with practical advice on remote work, inspiring others to experience the world through food and cultural immersion. With 32 countries under his belt and a knack for uncovering hidden culinary gems, Tobi is redefining the intersection of work, travel, and gastronomy for a new generation of adventurers.

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