Think winter in western Washington means staying indoors? Think again! Olympic National Park offers plenty of wintertime recreational options, from casual strolls to strenuous hikes. Whether you’re looking for magical views of snow-covered mountains, quiet walks through mysterious, deep green woods, or a beachcombing adventure, the Olympics have something for everyone—year-round! Remember to be a smart hiker and come prepared with the Ten Essentials to maximize enjoyment and safety on the trail.
1. The Upper Dungeness River: The Upper Dungeness River is an easy, scenic stroll through towering, moss-draped old growth Douglas fir. The trail parallels the Dungeness River for most of its length. Sheltered Camp Handy offers an ideal turnaround point at 3.2 miles; intrepid hikers can keep going. If you’d like a shorter walk, you can turn around at 2.6 miles where the trail crosses the river.
2. Marymere Falls: A mere 0.8-mile walk from the Storm King Visitor Center at Lake Crescent takes you to this 90-foot waterfall. You’ll soon see why the gorgeous Marymere Falls are a hugely popular year-round destination for Olympic National Park visitors.
3. Spruce Railroad Trail: While the full trail is an eight-mile ramble, hikers can turn around at any point on this easy walk along the shores of stunning nine-mile-long, 600-foot-deep Lake Crescent. On clear days, you can see forty feet down into the gem-like waters of the lake—and enjoy the lake’s balmy microclimate, which often ensures it’s warmer and drier than the surrounding area! The trail’s most scenic section is only a mile in, offering breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding peaks from Devil Point.
4. Hurricane Ridge: While not technically a hike, Hurricane Ridge is an ideal central point for a variety of wintertime activities, including snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. Or just enjoy the incredible view of the snow-covered Olympics from the cozy warmth of the snack bar!
5. Coastal beaches: The park offers 73 miles of Pacific coastline—and no two miles are alike! Mora and Rialto beaches are just an hour’s drive from Port Angeles; here, rocky beaches and wind-carved rockoutcroppings are an ideal backdrop. Sandy Kalaloch beach is perfect for a picnic, and Lake Ozette is a popular entry point for a variety of trails, including a three-mile boardwalk.
More information about wintertime hiking around Sequim: