Tidepools are biodiversity hotspots
Discover colorful and bizarre tidepool animals with a former marine biology teacher on Olympic tidepool tours.
Timing your Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepool tour
Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepools may only be visible for a few hours a day, therefore timing is critical. Access to tidepools often occur over multiple days for a few hours but not all time periods offer good viewing. In general, March to August offer the best opportunities for Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepool tours. If you want to introduce school-aged children or young adults to this amazing underwater world, then consider planning your tidepool experience as early as possible during summer vacation.
Salish Sea and Olympic National Park Tidepool Description
Tidepools (also known as rock pools) can be described as semi-permanent pools of water that create safe zones for viewing delicate tidepool animals. The rocky shore visited by ExperienceOlympic offers some of the best viewing of tidepool animals and seaweed. However, the popularity of tidepoolig (and lack of knowledge about them) means that we need to encourage others to leave no trace in the tidepools.
Olympic tidepools offers zones of intense biodiversity
Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepool exploration can be comparable to bird watching in the tropics during the dawn chorus. Your senses are heightened as you try to appreciate the layers of complexity surrounding you. Tidepool communities are both in competition and cooperation. The outstanding biodiversity witnessed on a rocky shore on the Salish Sea and in Olympic National Park is due to many factors including geology, maritime climate, and heavy waves.
Good Olympic tidepooling experiences create everlasting memories
Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepool animals and seaweed live in particular tidal zones where they have adapted to survive during a low tide. Some of the more spectacular species can not spend much time outside the water and these are the animals we will specifically seek out on Salish Sea and Olympic National Park tidepool tours. If this will be your first time visiting tidepools, naturalist guided tidepool tours offer an excellent opportunity for fun, safe, informative, and ecological exploration.
Salish Sea biodiversity as seen on Olympic tidepool tours
The following tidepool animals and seaweed, mammals, birds, and plant lists were generated during tidepool tours on the Salish Sea. Read more about Olympic Peninsula Biodiversity to learn about how these lists were created and more about Olympic biodiversity in general.
Olympic animals identified in June on the Salish Sea (Strait of Juan de Fuca)
Red Encrusting Sponge, Purple Encrusting Hydrocoral, Giant Green Anemone, Giant Plumose Anemone, Northern Feather Duster Worm, Lined Chiton, Mossy Chiton, Black Katy Chiton, Shield Limpet, Blue Topsnail, Frilled Dogwinkle, Red Nudibranch, Monterey Dorid (nudibranch), California Mussel, Pacific Blue Mussel, Thatched Barnacle, Giant Barnacle, Acorn Barnacle, Goose Barnacle, Shield-backed Kelp Crab, Graceful Kelp Crab, Pygmy Rock Crab, Striped Sun Star, Pacific Blood Star, Mottled Star, Painted Sea Star, Ochre (Purple) Star or Common Sea Star, Sunflower Star, Green Sea Urchin, Purple Sea Urchin, Red Sea Urchin, Orange Sea Cucumber, Compound Tunicate (various species), Tidepool Snailfish, and Tidepool Sculpin.
Olympic seaweed identified in June
Sea Lettuce, Sea Moss, Sea Staghorn, Sugar Kelp, Split Kelp, Sea Cabbage, Seersucker, Old Growth Kelp, Feather Boa Kelp, Sea Palm, Bull Kelp, Rockweed, Little Rockweed, Northern Bladder Chain, Red Fringe, Encrusting Coralline Algae, Branching Coralline Algae (various genera), Sea Sacs, and Surfgrass (which is really a plant, but it grows in tidepools).
Additional Olympic animals and seaweed identified in July
Bread Crumb Sponge, Purple Encrusting Sponge, Turgid Garland Hydroid, Aggregating Anemone, Painted Anemone, Rough Keyhole Limpet, Plate Limpet, Cuthona sp. (nudibranch), Leather Limpet (nudibranch “ally”), Giant Rock Scallop, Little Brown Barnacle, Shell Barnacle, Vosnesensky’s Isopod, California Beach Hopper, Flat Porcelain Crab, Graceful Decorator Crab, Yellow Shore Crab, Purple Shore Crab, Kelp Encrusting Bryozoan, Stalked Tunicate, Gunnel (unknown genera), and Winged Kelp.
Additional specialty Olympic animals possible
Giant Pacific Octopus, less common nudibranchs, sea stars and anemones.
Strait of Juan de Fuca tidepool tours: bird list
Olympic birds heard or seen from hiking in the nearby forest and estuary in July
Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Band-tailed Pigeon, Belted Kingfisher, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Barn Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, American Robin, Swainson's Thrush, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.
Some additional Olympic birds viewed in the Salish Sea in August
Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Black Oystercatcher, Pigeon Guillemot, and Rhinoceros Auklet.
Some additional Olympic birds possible
Common Loon, Long-tailed Duck, Bald Eagle, Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper, Heermann's Gull, Common Murre, and Marbled Murrelet.
Olympic mammal observed from nearby forest and meadows
Additional Olympic mammal observed on the rocky shore
Some additional Olympic mammals possible in the Strait of Juan de Fuca
River Otter, Harbor Seal, and Gray Whale.
Olympic plants observed from hiking in forest near the Strait of Juan de Fuca in June
Western Hemlock, Douglas-Fir, Western Redcedar, Red Alder, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Madrone, Salal, Red Huckleberry, Common Snowberry, Oceanspray, Nootka Rose, Salmonberry, Thimbleberry, Trailing Blackberry, False Lily of the Valley, Spring Beauty, Stonecrop, Buttercup, Vetch, Sweet Cicely, Waterleaf, Oxeye Daisy, Stinging Nettle, Pacific Bleeding Heart, Starflower, Bedstraw, Bracken Fern and Sword Fern.
Read about tidepooling with Carolyn of ExperienceOlympic Guided Tours