The months of July and August are ideal for visiting Olympic National Park as it is these times, you get the most pleasant weather.
The weather is normally pleasant during the day, with temperatures in the mid-70s, all roads (limited public transportation), and park facilities are open, so you can see why the peak season for tourists is in the summer.
Preventing deforestation in the temperate Hoh Rainforest is a significant factor for preserving land on the Olympic Peninsula.
With the HOH rainforest weather, the region encounters an average of 150 inches of rain. The average rainfall in July and August is significantly lower than in other months. However, packing your rain gear can be wise.
Winter months and the off-season are long, and snow can linger at the highest elevations, yet you can get a unique look at the HOH rain forest without the high temperatures.
After reading our guide on the Olympic National park, best time to visit can be made apparent based on your trip requirements.
If you want to be remote, you’ll find the closest major airport is Seattle Tacoma International airport, and from there, you need to make your own way into the region that has almost non-existent phone coverage. (Read 5 Best Hiking Trails in Oregon)
When Should I Go to Olympic National Park?
The first thing to remember is that Hurricane Ridge Road is closed during the winter on all days except Friday through Sunday and holidays that fall on Mondays.
Hurricane Ridge provides convenient access to the Olympic Range and is one of the park’s most popular destinations, so plan your visit appropriately.
Second, keep in mind the crowds; the summer is the busiest time of year, and the crowds tend to thin out in the fall. Finally, and maybe most crucially, examine the weather.
Because the rainforest settings of Olympic National Park can receive up to 140 inches of rain each year, you’ll want to travel during a season when you’ll be able to see everything you want to see.
The weather at Olympic National Park can change dramatically, especially as you go from one place to another. The current weather for Hurricane Ridge, the Quinault Rainforest, and Rialto Beach can be found here.
Is September A Good Time To Visit Olympic National Park?
The most fantastic experience when hiking in Olympic National Park can be the spring and summer when the weather is the most pleasant. However, snow can appear in the high country as early as September, so if you want to go up in the Olympic Range, plan your vacation for the spring or summer.
Expect to wait to get into parking lots, especially at Ruby Beach, Port Angeles, and Rialto Beach in the summer months. Before embarking on any path, check the hiking trails condition to see how the weather affects the route.
Olympic National Park has nearly 600 miles of trails, so there’s something for everyone, if the weather permits. Trails range in difficulty from in the lower elevations to steeper for highly difficult, so no matter what your level of expertise or ability, you’ll be able to find one that suits you.
A guided day trek is recommended, where a local and expert guide will take you on the finest of the best and share their knowledge of the region’s wildlife, geology, and cultural history.
Summer is the most excellent time to backpack in the Olympic Peninsula because it is the driest season of the year, and most of the snow from higher elevations has melted.
Trails in the high country are usually available by May or June, and routes through the rainforest are especially lusher after a wet spring.
In the summer, it’s also wonderful because it’s warm during the day and cools at night, making it ideal for sleeping under the stars. (Read 5 Best Hiking Trails in Ohio)
Here are some suggestions for summer visits:
- Get up early and hit the trail; the earlier you get up and hit the trail, the more time you’ll have to yourself before others arrive. Likewise, the earlier you go out and about, you are more likely to witness wildlife.
- Plan of time so you don’t end up crisscrossing the park. You may get the distance and time between each park section on the park’s mileage chart.
- Be flexible; be aware that it may be crowded, parking spaces fill up, and you can face long lines at admission stations. You can find webcams for the park’s most popular destinations on the park’s website.
- Explore the park’s off-the-beaten-path sections, including Deer Valley and Quinault Valley.
Is October A Good Time To Visit Olympic National Park?
The ideal periods to avoid the crowds are in the fall and winter. Summer is the busiest season, but when the weather turns wetter, the crowds thin. Even if the weather isn’t ideal in the fall and winter, there are ways to enjoy the park despite the rain:
Here are a few things you will find at this time of year.
- In October, fall colors burst forth, bringing a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows to the ordinarily green environment.
- The considerable precipitation falls creating rushing waterfalls and rapidly flowing rivers, with over 3,500 kilometers of streams and rivers and over 10,000 waterfalls.
- The rainforest’s thick canopy keeps the ground and pathways from becoming soaked even when it rains in the lush forest.
- At the coast, the gloomy weather of early fall makes a beautiful setting for photography.
- Hit the slopes at Hurricane Ridge, which is only seventeen miles from sea to summit.
- Take in the peace of this magnificent park without the crowds of people on a night sky trip.
- If you can only visit Olympic National Park in the summer, you will still be able to enjoy the tranquility and avoid the crowds.
Olympic National Park combines mountains, rainforest, and shoreline. Each of these habitats supports a distinct fish population. If you want to fish for rainbow trout in Olympic National Park, head to the mountains.
Thousands of years ago, Lake Crescent was formed by a landslide and hosts two distinct kinds of trout: Crescenti and Beardslee. Spring and summer are the best times to fish here. The Elwha River was recently restored to its natural state, with both dams removed by 2004.
If you want to fish the park’s rainforest, you’ll catch Winter steelhead. Winter steelhead are best caught in the spring. Waiting until spring allows the water to warm and the fish to become more aggressive.
Unless you are fishing in the Pacific Ocean, you do not need a Washington State recreational fishing permit. However, when fishing for steelhead or salmon, you must have a Washington State capture record card.
Lake Ozette and Lake Crescent are perfect for stillwater kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding.
Boating is most fantastic from late spring with warmer temperatures until early October. However, precipitation has diminished by late spring, and the weather is mild during the day.
The temperature can vary by 10 to 20 degrees between the coast and the mountains. If you want to go on a multi-day canoe or kayak journey, you can get wilderness permits and camp along the coast and beneath the mountains. Lake Crescent also rents kayaks, canoes, and SUPs.
Olympic National Park has 56 animal species and nearly 300 bird species. When and where you visit the park impacts the wildlife, you can see. The best times to see wildlife on the Olympic Peninsula are listed below:
The Olympic Coast is a fantastic place to see whale migration in the spring and summer (October-November). Kalaloch, Rialto, and Shi Shi Beach are great places to see whales. Listed here are species you may observe to see them migrate when standing on the beaches of La Push or the others where they pass. (Read The Best Tent Camping In Arizona)
- Orca whale: Summer and fall
- Harbor porpoise: Summer
- Gray Whale: Spring and fall
- Humpback whales: Spring
You have easy access and little trouble spotting the following on dry land.
- Seen year-round, Roosevelt elk inhabit montane and tropical rainforests. The abundance of food in the Hoh Rainforest makes it a popular area to see elk. The rut, or elk mating season, begins in September.
- Olympic marmot is a charismatic species found only on the Olympic Peninsula. They are regularly spotted nuzzling, chirping, and playing together near Hurricane Ridge. The ideal time to watch marmots is before they hibernate in the summer.
- Mountain goats have been sighted on the Olympic Peninsula since the 1920s. From October through December, they put on quite a show.
Late spring is the best time to visit the higher elevations, including Hurricane Ridge hiking and animal viewing trips. Olympic National Park animals such as the Olympic Marmot, Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Olympic Chipmunk, Snowshoe Hare, Black Bears, butterflies, and nesting birds come alive as the snow melts.
As the days become longer and the snow melts and Olympic National park wildflowers are in blossom. Flowers will continue to bloom as long as the soil remains moist, and Hurricane Ridge, with an altitude of just over 5000 feet, sees peak blooms as early as the end of June.
However, because seasonal average temperature influence snowfall and snowmelt, the peak wildflower season fluctuates from year to year.
Many natural berries ripen in the lowlands during the summer, attracting Olympic rainforest creatures, particularly birds. And photographers often visit the Olympic National Park between mid-July and mid-September because of the park’s consistently sunny weather.
In September, Chinook (King), Pink, and subsequently Coho salmon migrate and spawn in Olympic National Park rivers.
On Elwha River hiking and dam removal trips, you can learn more about the world’s most significant river rehabilitation efforts.
Twenty-two wildlife species have been discovered feeding on salmon carcasses around the Olympic National Park, and Bald Eagles will follow such feeding. People claim the Olympic National Park is noisy at night when feeding on salmon, and it makes it a challenge to sleep next to a river.
Olympic National Park: September and October
Locals say autumn offers the best weather to see wildlife in Olympic National Park. In September, the Olympic National Park rainforest is alive with the sounds of bugling Roosevelt Elk.
No journey to Olympic National Park is complete without seeing these iconic rainforest animals. En route to the Hoh Rainforest, you’ll see Roosevelt Elk against a backdrop of gorgeous Big-Leaf and Vine Maples.
Snow rarely arrives until October, so fall is a terrific season to explore the high country. Black Bears and other species in Olympic National Park will continue to forage in the mountains as long as the food is available.
Aside from wildlife observation, the best time for exploring Olympic National Park’s mountains is the fall. Uncommon birds, including Golden Eagle, Merlin, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and Western Meadowlark, can be seen regularly from late August to early October.
In the fall, and the rainy season, when the humidity rises, iconic Olympic National Park rainforest species like Banana Slugs, snails, and amphibians cross pathways again.
Winter in Olympic National Park
Plan your Olympic National Park rainforest trip in the winter if you want to be alone in the parking lot. Aside from two weeks around Christmas and New Year, you can very much pick your lodging and plan your trip around the Olympic National Park weather.
This is when the ultra-green temperate rainforest comes alive, if you are around Fairholme Campground at Crescent Lake and Three Rivers Resort near La Push, you can check the area with less driving on your trip.
Due to increased precipitation, Olympic National Park waterfalls look nothing like their summer counterparts. Winter at Olympic National Park brings cooler temperatures, shorter days, and slower plant growth.
Winter is a great time to see rainforest moss and lichen. Also, Roosevelt Elk are active all year and can be seen foraging in the lowlands of Olympic National Park.
Forks and Seattle receive more winter precipitation due to the Olympic Mountains’ rain shadow effect.
Winter activities, including snowshoeing, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding, are best enjoyed in Olympic National Park.