Explore 3: Olympic Mountains, Olympic Forests, and Salish Sea

A hiker leans his back against an old-growth Western Cedar tree in a old growth forest

Experience Three Olympic Parks in One Day!

ExperienceOlympic's 3 Olympic Parks tour explores local sites near Port Angeles, Washington that you don't want to miss. These destinations include Hurricane Ridge, an Old-Growth Forest, and the nearby Strait of Juan de Fuca (body of water that joins the Pacific Ocean with Puget Sound, collectively called the Salish Sea).  Our 3 Parks Tour can be organized at any hiking level, including a walking or driving tour.  Enjoy narration from your naturalist guide while driving as well as ample opportunity to get out and stand, stroll, walk, hike, enjoy a short snowshoe, or experience tidepooling during a low tide as timing allows!

View local ecotour rate info on Olympic National Park guided ecotours

Two smiling hikers tentatively walk on snowshoes through a stand of subalpine fir in the Olympic mountains

Park 1:  Olympic Mountains

Hurricane Ridge is the only paved access road taking you to the Olympic Mountains and our Port Angeles-based 3 Parks Tour offers you a gateway.  Although the views are reason enough to make this a part of your tour, the wildflowers, wildlife, and subalpine forests are also notable.  On a clear day, a visit to Hurricane Ridge will hopefully allow us to view Mount Olympus, the highest peak in the Olympic Mountain range towering at just under 8,000 ft. (2400 m) elevation. 

Looking up at a smiling couple with a huge mossy Bigleaf Maple in the background

The road to Hurricane Ridge is typically open daily from April/May to October/November.  However, from roughly Thanksgiving to Spring Break, Hurricane Ridge is typically only open Friday - Sunday and daily during holidays such as the week around Christmas and New Years.  Although a late fall, winter, and early spring visit to Hurricane Ridge is weather dependent, it might allow for opportunities to snowshoe.  Read more about other Hurricane Ridge hiking and wildlife viewing tours if you are interested in a longer day of exploring Hurricane Ridge exclusively.

Close-up of a boy's hands cupped together and holding some beautiful yellow salmonberries

Park 2:  Old-Growth Forest

Although the Olympic Mountains are certainly the main attraction for many visitors, Olympic Peninsula old-growth forests are equally captivating.  The low elevation or montane (middle elevation) forest that we will explore includes old-growth Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar that are upwards of 500 years old.  Old-growth Olympic Forests include four iconic features:  old trees, trees of various ages that create multiple layers, snags, and nurse logs.  The prolific moss. lichen, wildflowers, edible berries, and fungi that carpet old-growth Olympic forests contribute to the unique assemblages and notable biodiversity that characterize Olympic National Park.     

A small tree-covered island sits out in the blue clear water at high tide

Park 3:  Salish Sea

The Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is also referred to as the Salish Sea, offers many of the same features as the Pacific Coast albeit on a smaller scale.  It is not atypical to watch River Otters swimming or Bald Eagles calling in the estuary environments of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea affords access to modest headlands and islands (when the tide is high) as well as amazing tide pools during low tide. 

It is certainly possible to time your 3 Olympic Parks Tour to include tidepooling, especially during the spring and summer.  If your main interest is tidepooling, please consider an Olympic National Park Tidepool Tour as we can consider both Salish Sea and Olympic Coast tidepooling options during your dates of travel.

A couple sits on a bench enjoying the stunning view of Lake Crescent and surrounding coniferous forest scenery on a beautiful summer day

A beautiful Olympic National Park waterfall framed by plants

Lake Crescent is an Olympic National Park gem

Lake Crescent is an Olympic National Park icon and can be substituted as an alternative to Hurricane Ridge in our 3-Parks tour, as an add-on to our Hoh Rainforest tour, or as a challenging Viewpoints Lake Crescent Hike.  Your wildlife guide enjoyed Lake Crescent daily when she lived and worked on Barnes Point.  Lake Crescent was formed by glaciers and is an extremely large, deep, and clear lake.

Lake Crescent is a place of great cultural and historical significance.  We can either experience the Discovery trail on the north side of Lake Crescent or the various trails including Marymere Falls on Barnes Point.  Barnes Point is the largest area of flat land on Lake Crescent and includes Marymere Falls, the Lake Crescent Lodge, the historic Rosemary Inn, Bovee's Meadow, old-growth Western Red Cedar groves, the short Moments in Time trail, and Storm King Ranger Station.