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Olympic Peninsula Hiking and Wildlife Guide Carolyn Wilcox

Birding and Wildlife Guide Carolyn Smiles into the Sun as she walks with a spotting scope over one shoulder at the mouth of the Elwha River with a pond and Stripped Peak in the background

Experience Olympic - Combining a Passion for Hands-on Education, Natural History, and Outdoor Exploration.

Hello, my name is Carolyn Wilcox and I am fortunate enough to live year-round in Port Angeles, Washington since 2007 and Washington State since 2003. 

As the owner and sole guide for Experience Olympic, I hope to collaborate with you to create a unique Olympic National Park experience for all ages and abilities. Please get in touch with me today to sign up for a private guided nature tour in Olympic National Park.

Sense of Place and Connection with the Natural World

I truly enjoy working to help you, your family, and your friends discover and value your outdoor experiences. 

I want to encourage positive connections with the natural world and hope you will return home from your Olympic experience with an enhanced "sense of place." 

I hope you will consider joining me the next time you visit the Pacific Northwest's Olympic Peninsula!

Hiking Guide Carolyn with two participants posting in front of Marymere Falls in Olympic National Park
Guide Carolyn smiling and holding a Banana Slug

Carolyn's Guide Credentials

  • Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and undergraduate degree in Biology
  • certified biology teacher and taught science for 5+ years
  • worked in field science (soils, birds, plants, mammals, and amphibians) for 5+ years
  • current Wilderness First Responder first-aid certification (with over ninety hours of medical training in dealing with emergencies in wilderness settings)
  • keen understanding of wildlife behavior and habitat requirements as well as wildlife observation skill
  • ability and desire to share these skills and see the outdoor world through your eyes

Working in Olympic National Park and Falling in Love with the Olympic Peninsula

Employment with NatureBridge was what led me to move to the Olympic Peninsula. While living on Barnes Point in Olympic National Park, I worked with students of diverse ages and backgrounds, acted as a nature and hiking guide, and used my advanced first aid skills to respond to wilderness emergencies. I also worked in Olympic National Park when I worked as a member of the Elwha River Wildlife Research Team. I helped gather data on river otters, black bears, amphibians, and medium-sized carnivores (like weasels) before the Elwha River Dam Removal/Restoration started in 2011.

Guide Carolyn showing a springboard notch on a stump that was underwater for around 100 years and exposed after the Elwha Dam Removal
Carolyn as a child smiling in her bathing suit with a butterfly on her hand

Wilderness Ethic - My Family

A Wilderness Ethic is a sense of being a part of the natural world, not separate from it. My mom has always loved gardening, which allowed me to have time to enjoy nature as a child. My parents also liked to car camp in parks and we were lucky to have relatives who lived in rural settings. This photo of me taken in the '80s captures my delight in being outdoors and interacting with the natural world. 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. 

Wilderness Ethic - Round River Conservation Studies

Fast forward to college when I first discovered the joy of backpacking and natural history while studying under Round River Conservation Studies in wilderness near Alpine, Arizona. During spring bird migration under the tutelage of a master birding guide, I used bird-watching optics (like those you will use with us) to watch birds. I wouldn’t have developed a strong wilderness ethic if it were not for this unique hands-on experience in a wilderness setting, small group of students, and time with an experienced guide. I hope we can work together to build mutual strong ties to nature.

Guide Carolyn posing on a bank next to the Hoh River in the Hoh Rainforest
On a backpacking trip in Olympic National Park, Carolyn poses next to some odd-ball plants that do not photosynthesize

Travel Abroad - Centroamérica, México y más

I was fortunate to travel "Down Under" (to both Australia and New Zealand) with Youth For Understanding in high school. Since then, I have taught and traveled extensively in Costa Rica and Mexico; I have also traveled a bit in Canada, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, Panama, Bahamas, Bermuda, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa, Namibia, and Tanzania. I look forward to interacting with all travelers as your nature, hiking, and birding guide, learning about different world views, and sharing my home in and around Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula.

Carolyn standing and talking to a young hiker who is sitting on a cut log on the Hall of Mosses trail
Your hiking guide Carolyn smiling and gently cradling a large Western Toad in her hands
Wildlife guide Carolyn who has a spotting scope over her shoulder stands with two young participants on the Hurricane Hill trail