Just shy of 1,500 square miles, Olympic National Park is the 13th largest National Park in the US. Olympic’s unique because it contains 3 distinct eco-systems within its borders. At lower elevations, it’s home to temperate rain forests with moss-drapped trees and ferns aplenty. Then, there’s the 73 miles of coastline with rugged sea stacks, rocky beaches and tide pools (with lots of star fish and sea anemones!) Finally, there’s the alpine mountains, with jagged, snow-packed peaks and meadows of wildflowers.
On day 2 of our Olympic trip, we traversed to the far reaches of the park to explore the craggly and beautiful coastline and the Hoh Rainforest.
Our first stop was Rialto Beach, where I was utterly gob-smacked by the breathtaking beach. We spent a few good hours meandering to the Hole in the Wall sea stack, exploring the tide pools, spotting visitor-made rock cairns and being thisclose to being caught by the rising tide. (Whoops!)
Here is a video with some of my impressions of Rialto Beach, and a few of my favorite pictures:
After we narrowly avoided being stranded at sea, at my insistence we drove 1 1/2 hours to the Hoh Rainforest. I’m sure this spot is a sight to behold in the rainy season, but with August’s lack of rain, the moss had dried and was honestly a bit unremarkable considering the effort it took to go out to visit.
After a few small hikes at the Hoh Rainforest, we rushed to try to catch sunset at Ruby Beach. Another hour long drive and we were there… just in time to catch sunset’s perfect light.
Come back tomorrow for all the scoop on the last day of our trip when we visit the top of the alpine mountain peaks of Hurricane Ridge and hike to Soleduck waterfall.