Olympic National Park is a gem, rain or shine

The far side of the Olympic National Park, on the west coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, is indeed rain forest. Its Hoh River Valley is drenched with a dozen feet of rain a year. Think 50 shades of green in a wondrous tangle of trees, moss, ferns.

Yet Olympic National Park is so vast – almost 1 million acres of mountains, forest and ocean beaches – that you can find drier sides and your own natural haven, rain or shine.

At Hurricane Ridge, in the park’s northeast corner, drive up the winding road to the 5,242-foot viewpoint on a gloriously sunny afternoon. The park’s wild heart stretches as far as the eye can see, a maze of snow- and ice-tipped peaks.

Hurricane Ridge is one of the best places in the Pacific Northwest for easy access to the high country. Gentle, short nature trails – some even paved – radiate from the parking lot, through flowery meadows and along ridges. Or the intrepid could hike for hours or backpack for days deep into the wilderness.

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