Why join an Olympic National Park eco tour?
We have tried to answer some of the most common questions in the hope that you will consider touring Olympic National Park with us to ask us even more questions!
Skip the answers presented on this page and learn more about ExperienceOlympic, your Olympic Peninsula Tour Operator
A study has shown that the best way to instill environmental awareness in adults is to encourage opportunities to explore wild places (including hiking) before 11 years of age.
Pacific Northwest tide pool tours appeal to families (recommended for children 6 and up) due to its particularly hands-on nature and exploration of an exciting underwater world during a low tide. Olympic National Park eco tours have a multi-generational appeal for both "the slightly stiff grandparents and the luckily limber grandchildren".
Whether you are interested in tidepooling, hiking, birding or wildlife watching, we work hard to make Olympic National Park eco tours enjoyable for all ages by structuring our day together to fit participant needs. Children who enjoy naps might prefer tours with a longer drive so they can nap in the car.
Owner and naturalist guide Carolyn Wilcox is a certified Washington State teacher who feels that Olympic National Park wilderness is the best possible outdoor classroom environment - where the lessons are all experiential and impromptu.
Some tour operators advertise Olympic National Park tours from Seattle for a day but approximately eight hours of your time will be spent driving/traveling (with ~2 hours of that time waiting and traveling on a ferry) with little time left for hiking. Additionally, Olympic National Park rainforest animals are generally not active in the middle of the day.
If you take one of the ferries (Seattle-Bainbridge or Edmonds-Kingston), it is about an 82 mile one-way trip from Seattle to Port Angeles, the gateway city to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. It is approximately a 20 mile one-way drive to Hurricane Ridge from Port Angeles but this is a slow windy road so drive time is about 45 minutes one-way.
Olympic National Park is over a million acres, road-less through the center, and circumnavigating it would take an entire day of constant driving.
In order to really experience Olympic National Park tours, consider booking lodging for a minimum of one or two nights and organize transportation to Port Angeles, Washington. You can easily spend at least a week on the Olympic Peninsula and it is adviseable to organize your summer lodging early, especially if you plan on staying in one of the Olympic National Park lodges.
Hoh Rainforest ek and hiking tours can be organized, though it is an 91 mile (one way) trip from Port Angeles, Washington (4 hour roundtrip drive). Seattle is about 82 miles (one way) from Port Angles for comparison.
Closer to Port Angeles, Washington, Elwha River hiking and dam removal tours shows you a wilder ecosystem that includes an amazing story from a biologist who intimately knows this special place. The Elwha forest mirrors the Hoh rainforest when considering many natural aspects, including all the same wildlife.
However, the Hoh is technically a temperate rainforest because it receives the requisite amount of annual precipitation, unlike lowland forests in the lower portion of the Elwha River.
If you want a private Olympic National Park eco tour, this is an option.
Olympic National Park tours to the Pacific Coast
Olympic National Park Beach Tours can be organized to the closest Pacific Coast beaches (Rialto, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Beach) that are an estimated 70 mile (one-way) trip from Port Angeles, Washington (3 hour roundtrip drive) or to Ruby Beach (approximately the same distance "out-of-the-way" if you are driving to the Hoh Rainforest. A popular combination is a West End tour to the Hoh Rainforest and one of the La Push coastal beaches or Ruby Beach.
We have structured our Pacific Northwest tide pool tours to explore both a local rocky shore and a beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (also called the Salish Sea). The tidepooling location for our eco tours is listed as a premier spot in the state of Washington though it is not located in Olympic National Park.
The act of visiting Olympic National Park ensures a certain amount of solitude as Port Angeles, Washington has population of just under 20,000 and it's the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula.
Olympic National Park is in so isolated of a location that Twilight wasn’t even filmed on the Olympic Peninsula despite being set in Forks, Washington.
Our Washington State ecotourism adventures offer a certain amount of solitude due to daily timing, the act of hiking, and local place-based knowledge of different hiking and driving routes.
If you're not much of a hiker and do not want to experience any possible parking-lot crowds, consider visiting Olympic National Park sometime before Memorial Day or after Labor Day for maximum park tranquility.
Olympic National Park is both an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site because of the protected old-growth forest ecosystems harboring great Olympic Peninsula biodiversity.
Birds are an active and abundant facet of Olympic wildlife and are generally viewed on Olympic National Park eco tours, which is why we have organized Olympic Peninsula birding tours.
The flora and scenery of Olympic National Park are stunningly beautiful.
We take food seriously and try to provide local organic food whenever possible.
Inclusive Olympic National Park guided ecotours include high quality snacks and a healthy meal (including sandwiches or wraps).
We strive to serve food while out hiking in some of the most scenic locations imaginable so that we can watch for Olympic wildlife while remaining relatively still. Nature might also provide us with some local organic food as well, especially during the summer.
Olympic National Park eco tours are scheduled by making a reservation with ExperienceOlympic. We have been able to arrange eco tours for the following day, so try contacting us.
We will meet in Port Angeles, Washington unless other arrangements have been made. Our actual start time is largely based on your preferences, the time of year, and type of eco tour (for example, eco tours to the tidepools are based on tide schedules).
In general, we advise starting as early as possible. Dawn is an excellent times for viewing Olympic wildlife as well as finding more solitude on the trail.
Transportation of our participants on Olympic National Park eco tours will be provided by a minivan that seats six passengers. It is kept in good condition and cleaned regularly between eco tours.
If you have more than six people interested in Olympic National Park eco tours and already have your own transportation, please consider opting for our Guide Service.
Carolyn first started taking family and friends on unofficial tours in 2006, with a coastal backpacking trip designed for her aunt.
Being a teacher, Carolyn considers her guiding roots to have started as a student teacher in Costa Rica in 2003. She fondly remembers guiding students on public transit in San Jose to volunteer at Amigos de las Aves (a rehabilitation center for Scarlett and Hyacinth Macaws).