Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive, Olympic National Park

4.6
#3 of 9 in Scenic Drive in Washington State
The Olympic Peninsula is the large arm of land in western Washington that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the east by Hood Canal. Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, and Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point, are on the peninsula. Comprising about 3600 square miles, the Olympic Peninsula contained many of the last unexplored places in the contiguous United States. It remained largely unmapped until Arthur Dodwell and Theodore Rixon mapped most of its topography and timber resources between 1898 and 1900.GeographyThe Olympic Peninsula is home to temperate rain forests, including the Hoh, Queets Rain Forest, and Quinault. Rain forest vegetation is concentrated primarily in the western part of the peninsula, as the interior mountains create a rain shadow effect in areas to the northeast, resulting in a much drier climate in those locales.The Olympic mountain range sits in the center of the Olympic Peninsula. This range is the second largest in Washington State. Its highest peak is Mt. Olympus.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
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TripAdvisor
  • This is one of the most scenic drives in the US. However, you need to use something like Google maps or another route calculating device to give you an estimate of how long it will take to drive betwe...  more »
  • We did a daytrip from Port Angeles to Forks and back. Unbeknownst to us since we didn’t think to check the Department of Transportation website, major roadwork is currently underway along two sections...  more »
  • Maps are misrepresenative; 20 miles does NOT repeat NOT equal 20 minutes. Beautiful drive to be sure, but watch the clock.  more »

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Where to stay in Olympic National Park

Many visitors to Olympic National Park choose to pitch a tent at one of 16 campgrounds, many of which stay open throughout the year. The park also offers a mix of lodge rooms, motel rooms, and cabins thanks to two lodges and two resorts. On the Pacific Coast, the Kalaloch Lodge stands as the most isolated of these. If you prefer to rest your head outside the park, consider staying in Port Townsend. This artsy waterside community northeast of the park offers plenty of inns and bed and breakfasts, but they fill up quickly in summer, so reserve ahead if possible. Port Angeles sits a bit closer to the park and offers more functional accommodations in the form of motels and hotels, though you'll also find waterfront inns and cottages in the area. Communities on the park's western side offer a rustic vibe, but they also take more time to get to if you're coming from Seattle.
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60 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 53 days in United States & Canada BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Washington State BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Seattle, Olympic National Park & Mount Rainier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 28 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in United States BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS July, teens, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 20 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM CANADA December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Washington State BY A USER FROM CANADA November, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Seattle, Olympic National Park & Mount Rainier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Seattle, Olympic National Park & Mount Rainier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Seattle, Olympic National Park & Mount Rainier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Seattle, Olympic National Park & Mount Rainier National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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