If you’re planning a trip to Olympic National Park this year, you might ask yourself: what’s the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Olympic National Park in Washington state is July and August. The summer months offer great weather, lush sights, and views of wildlife. There are also no campground or road closures and plenty of activities to get up close and personal with nature.
Grab your hiking boots and hit the trail this summertime at Olympic National Park. This article will lay out all the top reasons why you should visit in July or August, and as a bonus, we’ll teach you how to avoid crowds.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Olympic National Park?
While the Olympic National Park is always open 24 hours a day all year round, the best time of year to visit is in the mid-to-late summertime.
July and August are the most popular months to visit for many reasons, including:
- Great weather
- All campgrounds and roads are open
- Gorgeous sights and wildlife
- Summertime ranger-led activities
The weather at Olympic National Park is very unpredictable throughout the year.
It is common to experience snowfall or heavy rain in late May or June.
The summer months of July and August give you the best weather possible.
It sometimes rains in July and August, but not nearly as much as in the spring or early summertime.
You will also encounter gorgeous, lush green views in the late summertime after the heavy spring and early summer rains.
Not only is the scenery in full swing during this time, but the beautiful wildlife of the area comes out to soak up the sun.
You can see Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer, and more regularly along the river valleys!
Summer Festivities at the Olympic National Park
The summertime at Olympic National Park is full of life and opportunities for you to get out there and become part of it!
Rangers regularly host activities every summer season to help you learn more and engage with the beautiful nature around you.
Olympic Telescope at Hurricane Ridge
In this night sky event, you’ll head up to Hurricane Ridge with a Master Observer for a full evening of star-gazing and astronomy.
You’ll get to identify the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way, the planetary nebula M57 (sometimes called the “Ring Nebula”), and more.
You won’t have to make reservations for this event.
The Olympic Telescope experience is free, but you will have to pay an entrance fee to get into the Olympic National Park.
If you don’t want to miss this great summertime activity, plan to hit it on a night that will not be cloudy- if cloud cover becomes a problem, they cancel the event for that night.
Hoh Rainforest Guided Walk
If you want a truly immersive experience, you won’t want to miss the summertime 9-hour hike through Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach.
The first stop on this guided adventure is a two-hour drive around Lake Crescent and Forks, then deep into the Hoh Rainforest.
Once in the rainforest, hikers have around two hours to explore the mossy trails and ancient evergreens.
Next, you’ll hop back into the car to stop at Fork. After a short visit at Fork, you’ll experience a short detour to the pacific coast’s Rialto Beach.
You’ll have one to two hours to explore this coastal beach wilderness. Take in the coastal forests, massive sea stacks, and gorgeous driftwood logs.
This in-depth guided hike costs $108 per person, plus the fee to get into the Olympic National Park. If you prefer to take the experience alone, you can order a self-tour for $500.
If you are going with a small group, you can purchase a group tour for 1-6 people for $600 or pay $700 for 7-14.
Potential Negatives of Visiting During the Summer
You always want to be informed when planning a vacation, including knowing the pros and cons.
Being among a large crowd of fellow visitors is the main drawback.
Because it is the best time to visit the park, most people plan their trips during the late summer season.
Three-quarters of the park’s average annual visitors populate the area during those summer months.
However, don’t let the idea of large crowds make you miss out on this gorgeous time.
Here are a few steps you can take to avoid large masses of people during your trip:
- Plan ahead: Know what you want to see and where you want to go. It’s a big park, so you will likely miss out on things you want to do if you don’t have a plan.
- Start your day early: The later it is, the more the park fills up.
- Go backpacking: Most people head to the park to get in touch with nature. If you want to avoid the crowds, go deep into the wilderness.
- Make reservations: Plan to attend guided tours that have only a select amount of people on them. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also have a knowledgeable guide with great gear and taste delicious meals.
There are always gorgeous sights to behold at Olympic National Park, but if you want the best weather and the most possibilities, you’ll want to hit the park during July or August.