Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Quick Facts

Olympic National Forest

Washington

(360) 956-2300

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Located in Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, lies the Olympic National Forest comprised of over 632,000 acres. Hike in a temperate rain forest, drive along scenic Lake Quinault, gather clams from Hood Canal, and enjoy the changing scenery from the Olympic Mountains to the sea. The Olympic National Forest offers a wide variety of camping experiences and settings. Hike-in and boat-in sites are available as well as traditional vehicle camprounds. Camp next to a peaceful lake, a rushing stream or in a dense conifer forest. Camp in the Olympic rain forest or hike to a beautiful backcountry lake.

Map of Olympic Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 47.810338, -123.069882

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    There are five large lowland lakes on the Olympic Peninsula. All five are over 1,000 acres in size. Lake Quinault, Wynoochee Lake, and Lake Cushman are in or adjacent to the Olympic National Forest, while Lake Ozette and Lake Crescent are in the Olympic National Park.Boating opportunities are available at each lake. All five lakes have boat ramp facilities available.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain bike opportunities on the Hood Canal Ranger District vary from steep challenging trails to narrow gravel roads. By combining trails and roads the bicyclist can create loop trips that offer a variety of settings, including forests, streamsides and panoramic vistas.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The Highway 101 auto tour provides the traveler with a great opportunity to see temperate rain forest; saltwater beaches including Hood Canal, Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Olympic Mountains; cascading rivers; and large lowland lakes. These are the five major landscape settings on the Olympic Peninsula. It can be driven in a long day without many stops or it makes an ideal two or three-day trip.

    This scenic 320-mile loop is one of the most scenic routes in Washington State. The tour can begin at any point and includes U.S. Highways 101 and 12 and State Route 8. There are several towns along the way for gas, food, maps, lodging and shopping. There are also Forest and Park Service information offices as well as campgrounds, picnic sites and view points along the route. Olympic National Forest's headquarters in Olympia, just two miles off Interstate 5, is a great place to start the tour.

    The Quinault Auto Tour: The Pacific Ranger District, Quinault office located on the west side of the Peninsula on the east shore of Quinault Lake, offers an auto tour around Quinalt Lake and through the beautiful Quinault Rain Forest. Start the 31-mile tour from the FS Quinault Office (located on the South Shore Road, maps and brochures are available). Traveling northeast from the office, the tour meanders through an outstanding rain forest setting of towering trees with lush, green, draping mosses and lichens and ferns scattered throughout the forest floor. Gatton Creek Campground offers picnic areas and access to the water's edge. Further up the road which parallels the beautiful Quinault River is the Colonel Bob Wilderness trailhead and Merriman Falls. Keep your eyes "peeled" for views of magnificent Roosevelt elk and don't miss a small, but breathtaking waterfall at the Olympic National Park boundary, 9.8 miles from the beginning of the tour.

  • Camping

    Olympic National Forest offers a wide variety of camping experiences and settings. Hike-in and boat-in sites are available as well as traditional vehicle camprounds. Camp next to a peaceful lake, a rushing stream or in a dense conifer forest. Camp in the Olympic rain forest or hike to a beautiful backcountry lake.

    All campgrounds in the Forest are on a first-come-first-serve basis with overnight fees. Most sites have tables, cooking grills, drinking water, toilets and offer recreational activities such as swimming, boating and nature trails. Garbage service is not always available.

  • Fishing

    There are five large lowland lakes on the Olympic Peninsula. All five are over 1,000 acres in size. Lake Quinault, Wynoochee Lake, and Lake Cushman are in or adjacent to the Olympic National Forest, while Lake Ozette and Lake Crescent are in the Olympic National Park. Fishing and boating opportunities are available at each lake. A state fishing license is required for fishing except at Lake Quinault where a Quinault Tribal fishing license is required. A license is not needed to fish at Lake Crescent and Ozette in the Olympic National Park, but National Park fishing regulations must be followed.

  • Hiking

    Olympic National Forest is surrounded on three sides by saltwater and is noted for its marine climate, lush rain forests, Roosevelt elk and rugged, mountainous terrain. The Forest has over 250 miles of trail, half of which are at low elevations and can be enjoyed year-round.

    The Forest has 8 Nature Trails. These trails are special recreation paths and are generally located near developed recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas. All 8 of these Nature Trails have signs that provide interpretation of the Forest's unique features or history.

  • Horseback Riding

    Hundreds of picturesque equestrian trails await visitors to Olympic National Forest. The Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail is ideal for stock, being relatively flat and paralleling the Skokomish River through majestic stands of old-growth trees. The Lower and Upper South Fork Skokomish Trails together are 15.2 miles in length to the Olympic National Park Boundary. Beyond the boundary the trail is not suited for stock. Pass is required at trailhead.

    The Duckabush Trail proves to be a more challenging stock trail meandering through the Brothers Wilderness Area. Traveling is easy for the first 2.5 miles before the grade increases and the trail becomes quite steep with loose rock--from 700' to 1,700' elevation going over the Big Hump area. The trail becomes more moderate as you move west toward the Park boundary. Overall travel is 6.7 miles to the Olympic Park boundary, where you can travel another 4 miles to 10 Mile Camp. Pass is required at trailhead.

    Dry Creek Trail is good and relatively flat going along Lake Cushman to a viewpoint of Mt. Rose. The incline starts 1.4 miles from the trailhead for 5 miles--from 907' to 3700' elevation. A switchback occurs 4.2 miles at Dry Creek Crossing, bearing to the right, through a stand of old-growth trees. The climb continues to the pass between Dry Mountain and Prospect Ridge, at which point the trails plateaus and descends to Forest Service Road #2353-200. Pass is not required at trailhead.

    LeBar Horse Camp is the only campground on Olympic National Forest that is open to stock users and it is limited to those camping with stock.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is permitted in the Olympic National Forest. In fact, many hunters prize the forest for its backcountry hunting opportunities, and for the ability to hunt without having game harassed or habitat degraded by motorized vehicle use. The regulations for hunting on the Olympic National Forest falls under the jurisdiction of Washington State. Refer to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for the most up-to-date hunting.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic sites on Olympic National Forest are located at other developed recreation sites including campgrounds and a cabin. There is no fee for picnicking at a designated picnic site. However, if you park a vehicle at a campsite within a campground then a camping fee is required. Be sure to picnic at a picnic site when in a campground to avoid a fee.

  • RVing

    RV camping spots are available in most developed campgrounds.

  • Water Sports

    Salt water surrounds the Olympic Peninsula on three sides. Even the saltwater beaches on the Olympic Peninsula offer a diversity of landscape settings. The Pacific Ocean to the west, the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the north and the canals, bays and fingers of the Puget Sound to the east. Each offers different recreation opportunities and settings. For example, one can try surf fishing and beach combing for glass floats along the Pacific Ocean beaches; or walk the Dungeness Spit along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca while keeping an eye out for many different kinds of water foul inhabiting or migrating through the unique Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge; or shucking oysters and digging for geoducks on the saltwater beaches of Puget Sound.

    There are five large lowland lakes on the Olympic Peninsula. All five are over 1,000 acres in size. Lake Quinault, Wynoochee Lake, and Lake Cushman are in or adjacent to the Olympic National Forest, while Lake Ozette and Lake Crescent are in the Olympic National Park. Swimming and boating opportunities are available at each lake.

  • Winter Sports

    Ample opportunities await winter enthusiasts during the snowy season. The popular area known as Hurricane Ridge provides alpine and Nordic skiing availability. The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club runs a not-for-profit alpine ski area which gives ski lessons, rentals, and lift tickets. The alpine area has two rope tows and one poma lift. Backcountry skiers often make their way down to the main Hurricane Ridge Road then get a ride in a car back to the top.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round.

Directions

Driving

The Olympic National Forest is located on the Olympic Peninsula with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north and Puget Sound to the east. The Forest surrounds much of Olympic National Park. The Forest is within 35 air miles of downtown Seattle and less than 120 miles via I-5, US Highway 101 and other State and Forest routes.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(360) 956-2300

Links