Interesting facts about Olympic National Park

olympic national park

Olympic National Park is a United States National Park located in the state of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula.

The park encompasses 373,383 hectares (922,650 acres) of land.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument on 2 March 1909.

It was designated a national park by President Franklin Roosevelt on June 29, 1938.

In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1988, Congress designated 95% of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.

Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems which are sub-alpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific Shore.

Little has changed since its first traces as a home of Native American tribes and, later, its first settlements by Europeans in the late 1500s.

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Within the center of Olympic National Park rise the Olympic Mountains whose sides and ridge lines are topped with massive, ancient glaciers.

The Olympic Mountains formed over 30 million years ago.

Mount Olympus which rises to 2,428 meters (7,965 feet) is the crown jewel of the Olympic Mountains. Standing high above the other summits, Mount Olympic is the center of the Olympic National Park.

olympic national park mount olympus

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year. At an elevation of 1,598 meters (5,242 feet), Hurricane Ridge offers views of mountains, wildflowers, deer, black bear, marmots, and other wildlife.

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The coastal portion of the park is a rugged, sandy beach along with a strip of adjacent forest. It is 117 kilometers (73 miles) long but just a few kilometers wide, with native communities at the mouths of two rivers.

Ruby Beach is one of the most well known and highly anticipated beaches to visit along the Olympic National Park coastline. The beach is so called because of the ruby-like crystals in the beach sand.

ruby beach

Shi Shi Beach (pronounced shy shy) stretches 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) south to Point of the Arches (National Natural Landmark), a complex of sea stacks, grottos, arches and tide pools at the northwestern-most tip of the continental United States.

point of the arches

The western side of the park is mantled by temperate rainforests, including the Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest, which receive annual precipitation of about 380 centimeters (150 inches), making this perhaps the wettest area in the continental United States (the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii gets more rain).

The Hoh Rainforest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Always green, and almost always wet, Hoh Rain Forest is one of the most popular places in Olympic National Park.

hoh rainforest

The Quinault Rainforest is located in the valley formed by the Quinault River and Lake Quinault. The valley is called the “Valley of the Rain Forest Giants” because of the number of record size tree species located there.

quinault rainforest

Lake Crescent 4 hectares (10 acres) natural lake located at an elevation of 180 meters (600 feet) is a pristine area that provides visitors with an extraordinary place for recreation and relaxation.

lake crescent

Sol Duc Falls is an absolutely breathtaking Northwest waterfall. With lush greenery all around and rushing, pristine mountain water, and great hiking trails, it is a must-see destination!

sol duc falls

There are 270 kilometers (168 miles) of roads and 983 kilometers (611 miles) of trails in the park. There are a total of 64 trailheads.

There are over 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) of rivers and streams in Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park and its surroundings are home to a wide variety of wildlife.

olympic national park squirrels

Animals that inhabit this national park include squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, six species of bats, weasels, coyotes, muskrats, fishers, otters, beavers, foxes, mountain goats, martens, black bears, lynx, moles, snowshoe hares, shrews, and cougars. Whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea otters swim near this park offshore.

There are in total 56 mammal species, including 24 marine mammal species.

There are also 300 species of birds, and 20 amphibian and reptile species, and 37 native fish species.

Some endangered species living within the park, including the spotted owl and the bald eagle. In total there are 22 species on the endangered species list living in Olympic National Park.

There are more than 650 archaeological sites in Olympic National Park.

There are 130 historical structures to be found in the park, as well as almost 500,000 museum artifacts.

60 named glaciers sit on the rugged Olympic Mountains, with 250 Glaciers Unnamed.

More than three million people a year explore the unspoiled terrain of Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park is the 7th most-visited National Park in America.

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