There are many ways to experience Olympic National Park in Winter.
From snow-blanketed mountains to forests dripping with rain, and ocean beaches pummeled by winter storms, the park is worth a winter visit. While some roads and facilities are closed during winter, the park itself is always open! Just like the park, Manitou Lodge is also open year-round! Located 15 minutes from Forks, Washington makes Manitou Lodge a great base camp for your winter exploration of the park.
Winter Rainforest and Trail Exploration
The rainforests come alive during the wet winter season. When the snow starts to melt later on in winter, be sure to take along your raincoat and golashes. Walking the misty forest trails under lush green trees draped in moss is a very pleasant experience. For the best experience, walk the trails in the Hoh Rainforest and drive through the Quinault Rainforest. The Hoh Rain Forest’s Hall of Mosses Trail, a spectacular .9 mile loop, is well worth the visit. It’s just 30 minutes from the Manitou, and you are almost certain to see elk there.
At Lake Crescent the Marymere Falls Trail (less than an hour from the Lodge), takes you through old growth forest to a beautiful waterfall. This trail is lovely when there is a sprinkling of snow and the waterfall is magnificent when frozen. Also located at Lake Crescent, the Spruce Railroad Trail runs along the eastern shore of the lake and offers beautiful lake views as well as a chance to explore tunnels blasted into the cliffs.
25 minutes west of Lake Crescent is the stunning Sol Duc Falls Trail, which also passes through old growth forest. The falls are quite large and dramatic, and elk are sometimes seen during the winter. This is an easy, safe trail that only takes 40 minutes round trip.
Hurricane Ridge Skiing, Sledding and Snowshoeing
Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road opens Friday through Sunday during the winter season but check road conditions before heading out.
Hurricane Ridge, less than 2 hours from the Lodge, usually has heavy snow during winter. The park plows the road and keeps it safe, though chains are often required. Be sure to check road conditions. Hurricane Ridge features downhill skiing, sledding, and cross-country skiing routes with terrific views. It’s also one of only 3 national parks with a ski lift. Snowshoeing with a ranger is another fun winter activity at the ridge. Learn more about Hurricane Ridge skiing and snowshoeing conditions in the park’s Winter Bugler Newspaper.
Winter is the perfect time for visiting our Pacific Coast beaches. Rialto Beach, one of the most photographed and striking beaches on the coast, is only 3 miles from Manitou Lodge. Drive right to the beach and hike to tide pools and fascinating rock formations. You can walk for 10 minutes, or for hours. You can also enjoy some fabulous winter storm-watching as rain, wind, and tides combine to create massive swells that crash against the shore.
From sea to ski, Olympic National Park in Winter is a great experience. An experience made even better with a stay at Manitou Lodge. Please explore our Olympic National Park lodging, and come experience the wonders of winter in the Pacific Northwest.