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Olympic National Park, WA

What to Do in Olympic National Park A winding path threads through an old forest of mossy trees to a waterfall tumbling gracefully down a rocky cliff. Picture-perfect and magically serene, the hike to Marymere Falls is Olympic National Park in one easy-to-do nutshell and is one of the top things to do.

The beauty of Lake Crescent can change from moment to moment, based on the time of day and quality of light. This deep blue lake, created by glaciers and framed by forested mountain peaks, is one of the park's most dramatic things to see.

Well-equipped adventurers willing to embark on a grueling hike are rewarded with eye-popping vistas of Olympic National Park's rugged interior. But a much easier alternative is to drive along the crest of lofty Hurricane Ridge , where a series of overlooks offers sweeping views across the upper Elwha Valley into the park's wilderness heart.

Sol Duc Hot Springs is one of Washington's few hot springs resorts. The mineral water bubbling up from the earth is said to cure all manner of aches and pains—and a leisurely dunk might be just the ticket after a bracing hike through the pristine Sol Duc River Valley.

“Primeval” perfectly describes the Hoh Rain Forest , best known of the park's rain forest valleys. Massive Sitka spruces and western hemlocks tower above a jungle of dense undergrowth, lush ferns and tree branches coated with moss. Hike the Hoh and you'll see every conceivable shade of green.

Cape Alava, the westernmost mainland point in the lower 48, faces the vast open Pacific. It's definitely off the beaten path—first a drive to the remote town of Ozette, then a rugged, slippery hike to the ocean. But trekking the palpably remote and utterly beautiful beach is an unforgettable experience. If you're looking for adventurous things to do in Olympic National Park, don't miss a trek to Cape Alava.

You don't have to drive or hike as far to get to Rialto Beach, but this is a similarly wild and wonderful destination, strewn with driftwood and polished stones and edged by soaring conifers. Fittingly, it feels like the end of the earth.

Surrounded on three sides by water, the Olympic Peninsula doesn't lack for marine views. A really outstanding panorama is the drive to the tip of Ediz Hook, a long, skinny sandbar protecting Port Angeles Harbor. Look back across the harbor for a view of Port Angeles rising in a series of terraces against a backdrop of snowcapped mountain peaks.

It's not officially part of Olympic National Park, but Port Townsend is a park neighbor—and one of the Evergreen State's coolest little towns. Wander along the historic waterfront and soak up the maritime flavor of “Washington's Victorian seaport.” There are plenty of fun places to go in town.

Fine dining isn't the number one reason to visit Olympic National Park, but that doesn't mean the park lacks fine restaurants. Dinner at The Roosevelt Dining Room in the Lake Quinault Lodge is a gustatory delight—especially if you're lucky enough to be here for a breathtaking lake sunset.

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Olympic National Park, WA

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