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The Ultimate 2 Days in Olympic National Park Itinerary

Full of incredible and remote mountains, gorgeous temperature rainforests and a wild coastline with beaches and sea stacks, Olympic NP is our absolute favorite park in the US (so far) and we visited on several different weekend and week long trips over the years. Below you can find the ultimate guide to spending 2 days in Olympic National Park.

Even if you don’t have two days, you can adjust this itinerary to help plan one day in Olympic National Park or use the things to do at the end of this article to plan 3 days in Olympic National Park. If you have time I would recommend spending at least 3 days or more in Olympic National Park, but with only 2 days, you can still see the highlights and enjoy the 3 different environments found in the park.

2 Days in Olympic National Park
2 Days in Olympic National Park

Overview of Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is large, remote and can be broken into 3 distinct areas: mountains, rainforest and coast. The best way to get around the different areas is by car and you will need to enter the park separately depending on which section you’re visiting. While there are towns with places to stay and restaurants, the Olympic Peninsula is relatively sparsely settled and remote. This is a great and wild place to camp. You can also read more below about the best time to visit, but don’t be surprise by cool temperatures year round and significant rainfall.

Mountain Region: this is by far the largest part of the park and while you can access the mountains from the area around the park, the interior section of the Olympic Mountains is very remote. The best way to get up into the mountains is by driving up to Hurricane Ridge.

The Rainforest and Lakes: Coming from the mountains down to the coast, you will find the temperature rainforest. There are actually 4 different rainforests with the most famous being the Hoh Rainforest. Some places in these rainforests receive 12 feet of rain a year!!! The best way to see these parts of the park is by visiting welcome center and day hiking.

The Coast: The coastal region of Olympic National Park is a thin stretch of park that stretches along the immediate Pacific coast. This region includes beautiful and wild beaches and a long hiking trail that stretches along the coast. See more about the best beaches in Olympic National Park.

See our guide to Visiting Olympic National Park for general planning information.

Highlights of this 2 Days in Olympic National Park Itinerary

There are many many excellent places to see in Olympic National Park and you can see a list of the best activities and sites below, but this is a quick list of the things you don’t want to miss in the park:

  • Hurricane Ridge with incredible mountain views
  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Obstruction Point
  • Deer Park & Blue Mountain
  • Lake Crescent
  • Storm King
  • Rialto Beach (or one of the other beaches along the coastal walk)
  • Olympic Discover Trail
  • Sol Duc Hot Springs

Details of this Olympic National Park 2 Day Itinerary

All the Olympic National Park itineraries described below assume that you will be spending 2 days and 2-3 nights in the area. If you plan to arrive on the morning of the first day, you should try to get an early start. You can see suggestions further in the post about where to stay, but you should plan to stay along the north coast (at least for the first night) near Port Angeles.

Day 1

Start early and drive up to Hurricane Ridge. The drive from Port Angeles takes 40 minutes or more up 17 miles on a windy mountain road. Once you reach the ridge you are rewarded with an incredible view out across the Olympic Mountains.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular spots to visit in the park and it can get crowded – getting an early start means you can beat the crowds. Once at the viewpoint you have 2 options.

#1 – Walk the Hurricane Hill Trail – this 3.2 mile trail is popular and offers tremendous views of the mountains. On a clear day you can easily see out across the water to Victoria and out to the ocean.

#2 – If you want something a bit off the beaten path and aren’t afraid of driving of roads with a steep drop off, you can also drive out to Obstruction Point and hike. The road to get here is narrow and dirt with very steep drop offs to one side. We have driven on many roads like this and this was one of the scariest. However – you are rewarded with a gorgeous hike and many less people.

From the parking lot, the trail follows the ridge and you can hike as far as you like on an out and back route.

Hiking from Obstruction Point: 2 Days in Olympic National Park

Madison Falls and Marymere Falls

After enjoying the ridge, descend back the way you came and make a quick stop at Madison Falls and/or Marymere Falls. Madison falls is a pretty waterfall and a very short walk so worth a stop. Marymere is a pretty 90 foot waterfall but is slight longer to get to with a hike of about 1.8 miles.

Storm King and Lake Crescent

If you aren’t too tired, spend the afternoon hiking to the top of Storm King. The view from the top of this challenging hike looks out across Lake Crescent. The hike is 4.4 miles and gains over 2,000 feet of elevation. The hike has some drop offs on one side and some ropes to help you with the steep section. Overall this is a great hike!

Other Options for Day 1 of your 2 Days in Olympic National Park: Sol Duc Falls and Hot Springs Resort or Devil’s Punchbowl.

Enjoy the sunset from Devil’s Punchbowl, or head towards where you are spending the night to enjoy dinner or set up your tent. You can either stay in Port Angeles or head further west towards Forks for the night.

Day 2

Your second day in the National Park will be full of rainforest and beach sites. Just like day 1, make sure you get an early start.

Rialto Beach

If you are motivated and an early riser, try to get to the beach for sunrise. Even though the beach faces west it’s a great way to start the day. Several of the beaches along the coast can be reached by car, while most need a short walk to get to them.

Stretching along the coast is a hiking trail that connect many of the sites. At Rialto Beach, you can simple enjoy the view, or walk from here to Hole in the Wall (about 4 miles). This is a popular place to visit. Since you have a lot more walking to do today, you can also just enjoy the view of the stunning sea stacks and if you visit at low tide check out the impressive intertidal zone.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Checking out the Intertidal Zone

Visit Another Beach

With 2 days in Olympic National Park, you have enough time to visit one of the other beaches along the coast. These beaches are all beautiful and some are easier to access then others.

First Beach: This is the easiest beach to access and doesn’t involve any hiking. The beach itself is beautiful with sea stacks and piles of driftwood. Since there is easy access, this also tends to be the busiest beach.

Second Beach: Second beach is a long stretch of beach that can be reached via a 1 mile trail (each way) the trail follows a series of switchbacks down to the coastline so does have some elevation gain on the way back up. This is probably my favorite of the 3 beaches.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Second Beach – even beautiful when it’s overcast

Third Beach: This beach has the longest hike (3.6 miles). While this is the most remote, it offers similar views as Second Beach. It is also usually the least crowded.

Hoh Rainforest

Grab some lunch and then head to the Hoh Rainforest. The Hoh rainforest is a popular spot and for good reason. Within this part of the hike, you can find incredible old-growth trees, dripping moss and a complete feeling of abundant growth. Start with a stop at the Visitor Center and a walk on the short 0.8 mile walk on the Hall of Mosses.

After enjoying this trail, head out for a walk on the Hoh River Trail. This is a very long trail (18.5 miles) so you can hike it as an out and back and simply hike as far as you want to go. The trail is one of my favorite hiking trails and takes you through the rainforest, past waterfalls and finally to Blue Glacier. Make sure to look down to see Banana Slugs!

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Visiting the Hoh Rainforest

Other Options for Day 2: Watch the sunset at Ruby Beach or head further south to visit Quinault Rainforest.

After a full 2 days in Olympic National Park, spend one last night or head on to your next destination.

How to Spend One Day in Olympic National Park

If you only have 1 day in Olympic National Park, you can still see the highlights, but won’t have as much time for hiking and exploring. Like the 2 day Olympic National Park itinerary above, you will want to rent a car and try to stay out on the Peninsula one or two nights. You can’t really do a day trip to Olympic National Park from Seattle as you won’t have time to really see anything.

Start your 1 day Olympic National Park itinerary early and drive up to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Walk around and enjoy the sweeping mountain views, then hop back in your car and drive back down and take route 101 west past Crescent Lake.

Visit the coast and stop at one of the beaches. Rialto and First Beach are the easiest access or if you are ready for a walk, hike the short distance down to second beach.

In the afternoon head to the Hoh rainforest. Spend some time on the short Hall of Mosses Trail and then complete your day by hiking out on the Hoh River Trail.

With this one day Olympic National Park itinerary, you still hit the 3 main sections of the park but will spend more time driving than hiking.

How to Spend 3 Days in Olympic National Park (or more)

If you have the time, I highlight recommend spending at least 3 days in Olympic National Park. This gives you time to do a hike in each of the different environments (mountains, rainforest, and coast).

For your 3 day Olympic National Park itinerary, do the first day of the 2 day in Olympic National Park Itinerary listed above, starting at Hurricane Ridge. On the second day, head straight for the beach and hike into either Second of Third Beach and spend the night camping on the beach. This is an amazing experience and since Second Beach is a short hike you can even carry gear in your hands if you need to.

Spend the day enjoying the beach, hiking along the coast, and spend the night sleeping to the sound of the waves.

On your third day, hike back to your car and finish the day by exploring the Hoh Rainforest on the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Hoh River Trail.

This is almost the exact itinerary we did on our most recent visit the Olympic National Park and we loved every part of the 3 days on the Olympic Peninsula.

With more that 3 days: If you have more days in Olympic National Park, you can spend additional time hiking some of the trails in the mountains of the National Park, drive down the coast and stop at one of the other rainforest areas, or spend more than one day hiking and camping along the coast.

You can scroll down to see more information on the different things to do in Olympic National Park. You won’t see some longer hikes in the park on this list, but you can see a list of the best hikes in Olympic National Park at Earthtrekkers.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Hanging out near a river in the summer

Things to Know about Visiting Olympic National Park

Below you can find some general information and tips to help you plan your Olympic National Park itinerary, no matter how many days you are visiting.

Tips for Visiting Olympic National Park

  • Pack layers: The weather in the Olympic National Park tends to be cool and wet so it’s important to pack lots of layers. If you wait for it to stop raining, you may never get out to explore, so your best best is to be prepared.
  • Start early: Starting early gives you the best chance to see the sites and avoid the crowds. Over 2 million people visit this park each year and some of the areas can get crowded.
  • Get the America the Beautiful Park Pass: this pass allows you to get into all the National Parks and many other sites as well. The pass will allow you to come and go from the park and if you are interested in exploring some of the other nearby National Parks (like Rainier and Northern Cascades) you can simply use the same pass. See more about purchasing the pass here.
  • Be prepared to drive: the park is large and spread out and you should plan for a few hours drive between some of the sites.
  • Practice Leave no Trace: always leave National Parks the way you found them by packing out your trash, staying on the trail and respecting all signs and wildlife.
  • Consider camping: camping is a great way to see Olympic National Park and you will find many campgrounds to choose from.

Are 2 Days in Olympic National Park Enough?

One of the most common things people wonder is how many days to spend in Olympic National Park? While this article is all about how to see Olympic National Park in 2 days, ideally you should plan to spend 3 or more days in the park. Many of the best things to do in the park involve long hikes into the backcountry. The only way you’ll have time to check out these hikes and the popular sites is to spend 3 or more days in the park.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Second Beach in the fog

Best Time of Year to Visit Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a open year round, although depending on the season there may be road closures due to weather. You can check for closure information on the official National Parks Service page. Below you can see a table with the average weather conditions by month in the Hoh Rainforest – make sure to take note of the average rainfall .

2 Days in Olympic National Park

Spring: This is a great time to visit if you want to see the rainforest in all it’s glory. Note that Hurricane Ridge may be closed depending on the snowfall, but the rainforest will be coming alive following the winter rain.

Summer: Summer typically has the best weather conditions with warm temperatures and less precipitation. IT is also the most popular time to visit the National Park. If you are planning to get up into the mountains or spend a night camping on the beach, summer is the best time to visit Olympic National Park.

Fall: Fall is also a great time to visit Olympic National Park and you can enjoy mostly warm temperatures and less rainfall (especially earlier in the fall).

Winter: Winter is a quiet time to visit the park – make sure to bring your raincoat and enjoy the lack of crowds.

Where to Stay in Olympic National Park

There are many campgrounds near Olympic National Park and 4 in the park where you can make reservations in advance: Fairholme, Kalaloch, Mora, and Hoh Rain Forest.

If you are looking for a cabin or hotel nearby, check out:

The Cabins at Beaver Creek: A great option for families with cabins about 30 miles from Sol Duc Hot Springs.

Juan De Fuca Cottages: Located in Sequim, this is a great option with a beach, game room, and BBQ set up.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites North Sequim: This is a good location in Sequim and includes breakfast and a pool.

Olympic Lodge: This lovely lodge is close to the mountains and near Port Angeles. This is a great lodge that includes breakfast.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Second Beach

How to Get to Olympic National Park

The best way to reach Olympic National Park is to fly into the Seattle Tacoma Airport, rent a car and drive out to the Peninsula after taking one of the ferries across Puget Sound. Ferries run often and take just 30-40 minutes to cross the Sound. You can also drive directly to Olympic National Park from the South. Below are some common driving times to help you plan (remember that the park is spread out, so the driving distances will change depending on where in the park you are heading:

  • Mount Rainier to Olympic National Park: 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Seattle to Olympic National Park: 3 hours
  • Northern Cascades to Olympic National Park: 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Portland to Olympic National Park: 4 hours
  • Vancouver to Olympic National Park: 4.5 hours

How to Get to and Around Olympic National Park

The best way to get around Olympic National Park is by car. Driving distances can be quite long between the different sites and there is no park shuttle to get you around.

Map of Things to do with 2 Days in Olympic National Park

Best Things to See in Olympic National Park

Below you can see a list of some of the best activities in the park that you can use to adjust or plan your own 2 days in Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Ridge and Hurricane Hill Trailhead: Located high in the mountains, you can drive right to Hurricane Ridge. From here you can hike the roughly 3 mile hike to Hurricane Hill on a large and well maintained trail.

Obstruction Point and hiking Trail: From Hurricane Ridge, drive the narrow and treacherous road out to Obstruction Point. There is a small parking lot here and an incredible hiking trail that gets far fewer visitors than Hurricane Hill.

Madison Falls: This is a very short 0.2 mile walk to get to incredible falls. An easy off the road attraction.

Olympic Hot Springs: This is a beautiful and natural hot springs. Currently the access road is closed so in order to get tot he hot springs you will need to hike or bike almost 20 miles.

Marymere Falls: a 1.7 mile hike that take you to a beautiful waterfall.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: Rent a cabin, stay at the resort or stop by for the day for a chance to soak in these hot springs.

Storm King: This is an excellent and hard hike. The trail is 4 miles as an out and back and gains over 2,000 feet of elevation and takes you to a lookout over Lake Crescent.

Sol Duc Falls: A 1.6 mile out and back hike to a waterfall – the hike is through some beautiful forest.

Devil’s Punchbowl: This 2.4 mile hike takes you out along the shoreline of Lake Crescent and is considered easy.

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Hiking on Hurricane Ridge

The Beaches in Olympic National Park

First Beach: A lovely beach made famous from the Twilight movies. You can drive right to the beach and scramble over the driftwood to get to the beach.

Second Beach: In our opinion, this is the best beach in Olympic National Park. Second Beach can only be reached by hiking under a mile downhill to get to the water. You will find a long stretch of beach, piles of driftwood, and incredible views of the offshore sea stacks.

Third Beach: To get to Third Beach, you will need to hike 2.8 miles round trip. The beach is beautiful and there are sea stacks offshore.

Rialto Beach: This is a beautiful beach that you can drive right to. Consider watching the sunset here or spending the night camping on the beach.

Ruby Beach: A pretty beach about 30 minutes south of Fork that you can drive to.

Other Amazing Beaches: Kalaloch Beach., Beach 2, Sand Point, Shi Shi Beach

2 Days in Olympic National Park: Camping near the Hoh Rainforest

Visit the Rainforests

Hoh Rainforest: The most popular rainforest in Olympic National Park, you will find a large visitor center and several excellent hiking trails including the Hall of Mosses and the Hoh River Trail

Quinault Rainforest: A beautiful rainforest that is the entry point to longer mountain hikes. You can also do a short scenic drive and stop for some short hikes.

In Summary

You truly need at least 3 days to visit Olympic National Park, but if you only have 2 days in Olympic National Park, you can still see the highlights and enjoy some of the best hikes in the park. Start your 2 days in Hurricane Ridge and Crescent Lake and finish you last day by enjoying the beaches and the Hoh Rainforest.

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