1. The Coast
The Washington coast is unmatched. With wildlife everywhere you look, raging seas and unique rock formations, there are so many spots on the Olympic Peninsula that should not be overlooked . Visit the classics: La Push, Ruby Beach, and Kalaloch, and if you have time, stop by Cape Flattery up in Neah Bay or Salt Creek Beach near Joyce. The Ozette Triangle loop is a terrific place to go if you’re looking for a good walk and a bit more solitude. While you’re there, make sure to check out the ancient petroglyphs made by ancestors of the native Makah at Cape Alava. Most of the carvings in the rock are thought to be around 300 to 500 years in age
2. The Olympics
The Olympic Mountains are breathtaking and offer so much, especially if you are willing to work for it! There are countless hikes that will take you to gorgeous alpine vistas. Marmot Pass, Lake of the Angels, and Mount Ellinor are beautiful but difficult day hikes (or overnighters) and are all accessible along the Hood Canal. For those looking for an easier option, Hurricane Ridge is a spectacular area near Port Angeles you can drive up to and just walk around and take in all the gorgeous mountain views. There are also lots of trail options up there, for all skill levels. Summertime is usually an ideal time to hike, and in winter it becomes a skiing area.
3. Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent itself will draw you in with its bright blue sparkling water in summertime or its moody and foggy appearance the rest of the year. If you want to see a birds eye view of the lake and aren’t afraid of a steep hike, Storm King is a good option. It is one of the most popular hikes in the area and for good reason — the view is magnificent. For a less strenuous hike, Marymere Falls which is accessible along the same trail is a moderate and short hike that will lead you to a beautiful waterfall. The Spruce Railroad trail is another nice option for an easy walk around the lake. Places to stay around the lake include Log Cabin Resort and Lake Crescent Lodge.
4. Hoh Rainforest
You will feel as though you have just stepped into a fairytale when you visit the Hoh Rainforest. It’s what PNW dreams are made of. With a variety of walking paths and hikes for all lengths and skill levels, you aren’t going to want to miss seeing all of the bright green moss draping the forest. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a herd of elk. The Hoh is accessible year round, and while you may get nicer weather in the summertime, the rainier months are when you will see it in its true rainforest glory.
5. Sol Duc Hot Springs/Olympic Hot Springs
There is nothing more relaxing than a warm hot spring, especially in the typically gloomy weather of Washington. You have a couple of options if you’re looking for a good rejuvenating soak on the Olympic Peninsula. Sol Duc Hot Springs is a resort worth stopping at if you are headed out to the coast or the Hoh Rainforest. You can rent cabins there or just pop in for the day. Olympic Hot Springs is the more secluded, natural version of the Sol Duc Hot Springs. However, you will have to work for it since the road is currently closed and it is a 18 mile round trip hike.
6. High Steel Bridge
Right near its more famous (but not legal to access) counterpart, the Vance Creek Bridge, High Steel Bridge is tucked away up a logging road near Shelton. The trestle stands almost 400 feet tall, making it into the top twenty highest bridges in the United States. If the bridge itself isn’t interesting enough, it has as a magnificent view of the Skokomish River below. There are guardrails so it isn’t quite as scary as it looks, but still be sure to exercise caution!
7. Rocky Brook Falls/Murhut Falls
Rocky Brook Falls is a perfect waterfall to stop at if you’re just passing through the Hood Canal. It’s not too far off of the main highway and is just a quick walk from the parking area. It is not very well marked, but if you find it you will be in for a beautiful treat. Murhut Falls is another waterfall around the same area. It is about a one and a half mile hike if you are searching for a bit more of an excursion.