One of the most naturally beautiful parks in the country, there’s no question why Olympic National Park is also one of the most visited in America. Full of ancient forests and spectacular landscapes, this national park located in western Washington is home to a variety of off the beaten path treasures to explore.
Take the East Fork Quinault River Trail through the gorgeous wooded Quinault Valley, a less-trafficked alternative to the popular Hoh Rainforest. If you’re feeling up for it, continue on this trail 13 miles until you reach Enchanted Valley!
Ozette Archeological Site
Located on the Makah Reservation nearby Olympic National Park, this fascinating archeological site reveals the remains of a historic town from 1560. Once covered by a mudslide, this town had been completely forgotten until its excavation revealed houses, utensils, and Native American artifacts which are now on display by the Makah Tribe at the Makah Cultural and Research Center.
Tree of Life
Found along the coast of Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Campground is this unique natural phenomenon. The Tree of Life is a giant spruce tree perched precariously between two cliffs. A stream has corroded the earth that once connected the cliff ends, leaving the tree’s roots completely exposed in the empty space, creating a “root cave”. This unusual and strikingly beautiful wonder is a hidden gem worth visiting.
Olympic National Park’s extensive wilderness coastline is vastly underrated and not widely visited. Head just north of Realto Beach to Cape Johnson to experience untouched wildlife, ancient rock formations, and boundless empty beach. Check the tides before you go as they will impact your trip to Cape Johnson significantly.
High Steel Bridge
Visit the High Steel Bridge on your way into the Olympic Peninsula if you’re feeling brave and adventurous! This truss arch bridge offers spectacular (if nerve-inducing) views of the breathtaking waters of the South Fork Skokomish River that lies below. Be sure to keep your wits about you and proceed with caution when visiting the bridge.