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Olympic National Park Guided Hiking and Nature Tours

A hiker with a hydration pack, binoculars, and hiking poles smiles in the boulder field with the snowclad Olympic Mountains in the background

Olympic National Park Guided Hikes and Wilderness Experiences

Olympic National Park is just under a million acres, road-less through the center, and the abundant ancient forests, mountain vistas, hiking trails, and cascading waterfalls should satisfy your craving for wilderness. Consider a guided hike or accessible sightseeing tour with Carolyn to help you to savor the biodiversity of Olympic National Park.

Hiking may alternatively be described as walking on a trail or in a natural area. We don't need to hike far (or at all) to explore forest or alpine ecology. Our private guided day tours are customized to fit your needs and interests.

"Forest Bathing" and Accessible Guided Hikes and Sightseeing

"Forest Bathing" is the act of immersing oneself in a climax forest ecosystem and an experience that we hope to offer on all our guided Olympic National Park hikes and nature tours. Enjoying wilderness, especially ancient intact forests, leads to studied health benefits such as boosting your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, decreasing stress, and helping to fight depression. 

Although the popularity of certain Olympic National Park destinations and hiking trails have changed over the years, there are always places to find solitude, even when close to a road, bench, flat trail, or bathroom. We look forward to enjoying Olympic National Park on hiking trails and at panorama-worthy viewpoints. 

Two people hiking in an ancient forest including a giant Western Red Cedar and a carpet of Salal in Olympic National Park
Extreme closeup of a tour participant's face with a yellow banana slug climbing up to his forehead
Why Hire a Hiking Guide and Wildlife Expert like Carolyn when you Hike in Olympic National Park

Carolyn is a local expert hiking and nature guide who has the desire to share decades of expertise working in wilderness, teaching, and conducting ecological field research to help enhance your outdoor experience. She wants to share the marine, forest, and mountain ecosystems that encompass the Olympic National Park tapestry.

She will encourage you to smell Vanilla Leaf, touch trail-side invertebrates like Banana Slugs, ponder how fungi-looking plants acquire energy, taste delicious tart red huckleberries, and hear the drumming of a Hairy Woodpecker.

Olympic National Park Coastal Hikes and Nature Tours

Hikes on the Olympic Coast are on an isolated stretch of park along the Pacific Ocean. It is especially helpful to have a hiking and nature guide who is familiar with the tides and terrain when embarking on longer coastal hikes. 

Wilderness coastal hikes are generally rated as moderate to strenuous and involve beaches, coves, headlands, ropes, ladders, rocky areas, log crossings, and wet feet if you don't time your hikes with the tides (or the tides are not as predicted). 

Hiking (aka trekking) poles can be especially helpful to prevent falls on all Olympic National Park hikes but especially strenuous and coastal hikes.

Two hikers on a foggy beach in Olympic National Park with an island in the background
Two hikers transversing a subalpine meadow bordered by Subalpine Fir with wildflowers in Olympic National Park.
Guided Strenuous Hikes from Hurricane Ridge into Montane Forest

The best mountain trails explore ridge lines and on clear days you can see rapidly receding glaciers, tall mountain peaks often capped with snow, the Salish Sea (also called the Strait of Juan de Fuca), and even volcanic peaks in the Cascade Mountains. An unforgettable experience is to hike six+ strenuous miles on a guided hike that drops around 3000 feet through conifer forest and scree (rocky outcroppings). 

We can complete these epic guided hikes as "through" hikes (one-way hikes) that include a vehicle drop, public bus, and a hike down together. All are full day guided tours covering a variety of ecosystems with amazing mountain views and forests.

Olympic National Park Spring Guided Hikes and Nature Tours

Spring hikes in Olympic National Park are magical and breathtaking as days get longer starting in March. Sword Ferns put on their new growth, good opportunities for exploring tidepools begin, and lowland wildflowers like Western Trillium are in peak bloom usually in April. 

Spring in middle elevation forests and the mountains is dependent on the weather and snow pack but once the snow melts, plants quickly move through their life cycles from blooms to seeds in just a few months. 

Whenever subalpine meadows are green and lush, hungry black bears can be observed grazing fresh plants in these lush environments.  

A group of six hikers take a moment to pose for the camera as they hike on snow with the snowy Olympic Mountains in the background
A group of hikers many of whom have hiking poles descend on a trail towards the Elwha River in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park Summer Guided Hikes and Nature Tours

Middle and high elevation hiking is best enjoyed in the summer and fall. The subalpine meadows are often in peak bloom around the end of June to the beginning of July. Summer is arguably the best time for easier coastal hiking as daytime low tide series makes hiking around headlands and rocky points safer and easier. 

Tidepooling all summer is exceptional. Usually there is a nice marine fog layer that protects intertidal organisms from intense summer sunlight. Marine fog also can provide enough precipitation to encourage mushroom growth, keep Banana Slugs active, and nourish the coastal forest enough to make you feel like you are in a lush rainforest. 

Olympic National Park Fall (Autumn) Guided Hikes and Nature Tours

Autumn guided hikes and nature tours allow you to enjoy migrating birds, salmon runs, and fall color. Spending time in ancient coniferous forests in the fall allows you to enjoy a diversity of mushrooms, which start blooming when the autumn rains return. 

Summers are generally dry, even in the rainforest, and rain usually returns in September or October. Snow generally does not stick around in earnest until November so the season for mountain hikes usually continues. However, days get shorter and winter-like storms can strike at any time. 

Two hikers on a small alpine trail in Olympic National Park with snowy Mount Olympus in the background
Two hikers cross a rustic etched log bridge with a single railing over a tributary of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park Winter Guided Hikes and Nature Tours

Winter is generally a great time for hiking in the low and middle elevation forests as long as you are appropriately dressed for cool rainy weather, understand the tides and the dangers of hypothermia, and can tolerate short eight hour days that are often foggy and dark. Winter guided bird watching is actually quite good as many different seabirds spend the winter just offshore.

Winter hiking is great for solitude, moss and lichen, elk viewing, and winter storm watching. 

In sum, Olympic National Park offers great hiking and wilderness exploration year-round. 

The saprophyte plant pictured is called a candystick because it is striped like a peppermint candycane at the base in white and pink and then has a flower-like look as it matures
Closeup of the berries on a native trailing blackberry vine which at varying states of ripeness from small and white to large and black
A white classic-looking mushroom at a mature stage is growing from the soil and has a large domed cap with scales and a darker brown center