This 3-day itinerary for Olympic National Park will provide you with all the details you need to know for your weekend getaway! Olympic National Park is located in the state of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the United States. The national park is home to several different ecosystems, from mountain peaks to rainforests.
Perhaps one of the most diverse National Parks in the country, the park covers nearly a million acres of land. Olympic National Park protects wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and landscapes of glacier-capped mountains, old-growth rainforests, plus over 70 miles of ocean coastline!
Here’s your 3-Day Itinerary for Olympic National Park!
Let’s talk about this trip’s “sign picture”. For those that don’t know, it’s a tradition of mine to get a picture with my fellow campers by the national park sign when we visit. My travel crew knows the routine… they go stand in front of the sign while I set up the tripod.
From left to right are Kaytee, Logan, Grace, and half of me. Let me explain…Well this trip, I was setting up my tripod/timer and all that jazz- a guy drives by and yells out his window “You can’t park there! MOVE!” …whoops. I had no idea we couldn’t park there… better make this quick. So I hit the shutter button and ran backward…hoping that maybe I’d make it in time to get this in one shot. Above is the result of that one shot.
How to Get to Olympic National Park
To get to Olympic National Park, we flew into the Seattle International Airport (SEA). Now that my best friend Grace lives in Seattle, I love the state of Washington even more. With the heavy traveling we did in the spring, we wanted to keep our trip as budget-friendly as we could. Camping’s cheap! So, we took a 3-day camping trip to Olympic National Park! With not nearly enough time in Seattle, we left for the park the day after we arrived. If you have time, explore the city! For what to do, check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Seattle.
To get around the Olympic Peninsula you will need a car. My recommendation is to rent one right at the Seattle Airport so you are free to explore the city or begin your Olympic National Park itinerary. Save up to 15% on car rentals in Seattle HERE!
Olympic National Park protects nearly one million acres of vast wilderness diversity. From glacier-capped mountains to old-growth rainforests, and over 70 miles of ocean coastline, this park has so much to explore. It’s hard to capture all the beauty in just 3 days, we absolutely will be coming back to explore more one day!
Private Vehicle: $30 valid for 7 consecutive days. This fee admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15-passenger capacity or less) and all occupants.
Motorcycle: $25 valid for 7 consecutive days. This fee admits one individual on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.
Per Person: $15 valid for 7 consecutive days. This fee admits one individual without a vehicle which includes hikers, cyclists, or pedestrians. Kids 15 and under are free of charge.
Wilderness Camping Fees: Permits are required for all overnight backcountry trips. Camping Permits are $8 per person per night plus a $6 per permit fee. There is no charge for 15 and under, but they still count towards group size. see the Wilderness Trip Planner.
Campground Fees: The nightly fee for camping in one of Olympics’ established campgrounds ranges from $15 – $24 depending on location and season. For a complete list of campground fees and information visit the camping page.
Road Trip RouteOlympic National Park 3 Day Itinerary on Roadtrippers
Download the Olympic National Park Map
Day 1: Lake Crescent
We drove 3.5 hours from Seattle to Fairholme Campground. Slightly worried we might not get a site this close to the holiday (most campgrounds inside the park are walk-ins, and do not take reservations). The campground had flush toilets, but no shower facilities or electricity. Pleasantly surprised we arrived at an almost empty campground. We picked a stunning site with massive mossy trees towering around us, overlooking the incredible Lake Crescent. We set up camp and set out to explore the Lake Crescent area. For what to pack, check out my Packing Guide: Camping National Parks.
Where to Stay
Lake Crescent lies 18 miles west of Port Angeles in the northern hills of Olympic National Park. We could see right down to the bottom through the crystal clear waters. I would recommend kayaking on this beautiful lake if you have the time!
Next, we hiked the moderate 1.7-mile trail to Marymere Falls. There are two viewpoints to see the falls. At the end of the hike, you’ll reach the falls lower viewpoint at the bottom of the stairs. Continue up the stairs to reach the top viewpoint.
Barnes Creek Trail
A peaceful creekside hike with an option to check out Marymere Falls (enter at the falls trailhead, continue forward at the junction, or go right and check out the falls). This hike takes you through a Jurassic Park-looking forest of old growth and lush vegetation. We hiked the Barnes Creek trail after Marymere Falls and the solitude from the crowds gave the forest a much different feeling. The trail rolls mostly up and rarely down for 5.5 miles.
Day 2: Sol Duc
We woke up early to pack up our campsite and have breakfast before we hit the trails for the day. Our plan was to explore the Sol Duc area, and then head towards the coastline to set up camp in Mora, a campground just outside of La Push. You can visit the lush forest near Sol Duc for a day hike or overnight.
Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail is a flat short 1.6-mile trail through an old-growth forest that leads to a beautiful three-prong waterfall. The three falls rage under a wooden bridge with crystal blue waters on the other end. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the waterfall capture rainbows in the spray! We continued past the falls and headed toward deer lake.
The trail to Deer Lake from Sul Duc Falls is a 6.3-mile hike with 3 backpacking campsites along the trail. This mostly up and rarely down hike is rated as moderate. The hike features a stunning lake at the end (pack food and picnic at the lake!) To get there, begin heading down the trail to Sol Duc Falls. Once you’re there, pass the entrance to the Lover’s Lane Trail, and the route begins climbing up to Deer Lake.
Day 3: La Push
Our last day in the park was spent relaxing on the coast, recovering from our hikes. The Mora Campground we camped at was on the north side of the river, and on the south side is First Beach. First Beach is located within the Quileute Indian Reservation and is surrounded by Olympic National Park. The beach is sandy with a crescent-shaped shoreline that’s popular with surfers. We stopped here first and explored the rocks looking for sea creatures during the low tide.
** I only touched the starfish to transport him safely back to the sea **
Starfish are naturally born extremely fragile. A simple gentle poke might hurt them, not to mention a strong grab to get them out of the water. NEVER FORCEFULLY REMOVE A STARFISH FROM THE WATER. These creatures have tiny structures that make up their bodies.
With a shorter hike than Third Beach, we decided to do the 4-mile round trip hike to Second Beach after First Beach. The trail was interesting, after 0.3 miles, the descent becomes more defined, and the trail becomes a switchback crib staircase that leads down to the beach.
We lounged lazily in the sun for hours on this beach. Exploring and climbing the rocks that jutted out from the ocean until it was time for the drive home.