Where to Hike in the Olympic Peninsula, WA

I lived in a small town on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state for approximately 4 months. In that time I tackled more than a few hikes with my favorite hiking companion and partner for life: Edgar. We hiked in the sun and rain to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Below are my two favorite hikes in the area.

Mount Storm King

  • Location: Olympic National Park: Port Angeles
  • Length: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,076 ft
  • Route type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: hard

Mount Storm King is by far my favorite hike in Washington to date. The trail is flat in the beginning but quickly begins to gain elevation. You have great views of surrounding mountains on your way to the top. The last part of the trail is so steep that ropes have been placed (which are well maintained) for hikers to pull themselves up the trail. After the ropes section is a narrow section of rocks to scramble up to the summit. The view at the top is worth all of the sweat to get there. Standing on top of Mount Storm King you get a spectacular view of Lake Crescent stretching out beneath you. It leaves you feeling on top of the world. We hiked this trail in late November and there wasn’t snow but something to check out before going. 

TIP: Start the hike early in the morning to reach the summit at sunrise for an amazing view. 

We began the hike when it was pitch black and used headlamps to guide us. It was an experience like none other to hike through the dark and experience the sunrise over Lake Crescent. 

TIP: Especially in colder months bring a jacket and gloves. 

It can get very windy and cold at the summit and the sweat from the hike can make you even colder at the top. Gloves will not only keep your hands warm, but also protect them on the ropes section.

Edgar & I above Lake Crescent
Started the hike in the dark
The sunrise over Lake Crescent

Mount Townsend Trail

  • Location: Olympic National Forest: Quilcene 
  • Length: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,090 ft
  • Route type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: hard

My second favorite hike in the area is Mount Townsend Trail. The elevation gain is spread out across multiple switchbacks making the incline not as drastic. You are rewarded with great views throughout the entire hike. We hiked it on a clear day and could see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker (part of the North Cascades), and Mount Adams. The views at the top are breathtaking especially when the mountains are covered in snow. We went in December and didn’t have any problems hiking through the snow in our hiking boots. There were a few other people on the trail but in December it’s generally less crowded. The top is windy and freezing in the winter so bring layers and hand warmers if you are like me and get cold easily!

Running to get out of the cold wind
Mt Rainier in the distance
Mt Rainier top right; Me in the bottom

What are your favorite Washington hikes? Leave a comment below 🙂

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