The Pacific Northwest Trail across the Olympic Peninsula is an experience of extremes.
It begins and ends at sea level with the Victorian homes of artsy Port Townsend on one end and pristine rocky beaches on the other. In the middle is some of the most remote country anywhere in the United States, deep within the heart of Olympic National Park. The Olympic Mountains originated under the sea from extrusions of basalt and layers of marine sediment. Today, Mt. Olympus, tallest of the area’s many peaks, rises 7,980 feet while the Pacific Ocean lies a mere 30 miles west. Though the Olympic Mountains are lower than their Cascade neighbors, they should not be underestimated. This is as rugged a landscape as hikers will find anywhere on the PNT. It is also a refuge of biodiversity, with many endemic plants and animals, including the charming Olympic marmot, and some of the largest trees on the planet. Traversing the Peninsula, hikers climb to alpine tarns with views back to the Hood Canal fjord, share wildflower hillsides with black bears, and follow roaring rivers through dark forests of dripping moss. At the mouth of the Hoh River, hikers get their first chance to dip their toes in the ocean. Then for 40 stunning miles the Pacific Northwest Trail travels the headlands, tide pools, and sand beaches of the Wilderness Coast before reaching its terminus at Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the continental United States.
- Sharing well-loved community trails with local families and neighbors
- Listening for the whistle of marmots at Marmot Pass
- Hiking the lofty High Divide with the silver-braided Hoh River below
- Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean with soft sand beneath your back
- Spotting seals and sea otters off Tskawahyah Island at Cape Alava