The Olympic National Park is a magical place to explore. Between the Olympic Mountains, temperate rainforests, and rocky Pacific coastline, it’s almost like experiencing three different parks all in one. Most people are pretty familiar with some area in the park (like the
Hall of Mosses Trail) – but here are some fun facts that you may not have heard before.
1. There are 100,000 more acres of wilderness in the Olympic National Park than the entire acreage of Rhode Island.
The Olympic Wilderness encompasses 876,669 acres, while Rhode Island is only 776,957 acres.
2. One of the park's most incredible historical structures nearly fell into a river.
The Enchanted Valley Chalet was built back in 1930-31, and has been a classic destination for hikers ever since. In just the last couple of years, it was moved 8 feet east from its original location along the bank of the river, after water had eroded underneath the old building.
3. The Olympic Mountains formed over 30 million years ago.
The ancient peaks were thought to have formed after two plates in the Pacific Ocean collided.
4. There are 60 named glaciers on the peaks of the Olympics...
...and over two hundred that remain unnamed. Pictured is Blue Glacier, on top of Mount Olympus.
5. At 7,979 feet tall, Mount Olympus is the highest peak in the park... but it still can’t be seen from any city.
Mount Olympus may be the tallest of the Olympics, but it's hidden behind other mountains to the west, making it impossible to see from Seattle or any other towns on the peninsula. The best place to find a cozy viewpoint is from Hurricane Ridge.
6. The coastal region of the park is 73 miles long.
That's one long, heavenly stretch of rugged beaches, sea stacks, marine life and unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean.
7. The Point of the Arches is a National Natural Landmark.
It's an 8-mile hike to this picture perfect point on the southern end of Shi Shi Beach. Wander around and you'll see over 30 unique sea stack formations, as well as small caves, arches and tide pools.
8. The Hoh Rainforest gets nearly 140-170 inches of precipitation every year.
feet of annual rain! The crazy amount of moisture results in the lush, green canopy along with moss and fern-blanketed surfaces everywhere.
9. There are 611 miles of trails in the park to explore...
Pictured is the boardwalk on the
Cape Alava Trail
. Going on this scenic 6-mile hike out to the western-most point of the country is like experiencing a dream.
10. ...and over 3,000+ miles of rivers and streams.
Over a hundred lakes and 13 rivers are located within the park's boundaries. It's a perfect place for swimmers, boaters, fishers, or just being out by the water. Pictured is the Dosewallips River.
11. Olympic Marmots can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
These adorable rodents can only be seen on the middle elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. They're about the size of a typical house cat, with a long, distinct bushy tail. They usually prefer eating flowering plants, like glacier lilies.
12. The Olympic National Park is the 6th most popular in the country, and sees over 30 million visitors every year.
The real question is why it's not #1. With the wide, unique variety of ecosystems, there's a little something for everyone here. The parks that recorded the most visitors in 2014 included the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park.
Did you know any of these fun facts about the Olympic National Park? Where’s your favorite place to explore around here?