10 Easy Hikes in Olympic National Park [For Families]

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3.4 million visitors come to the Olympic National Park per year, and many of them are enticed by the stunning scenery! What better way to see and appreciate those sights than to hike amidst them! You know that we think hiking is the best way to experience these parks!

Found on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Olympic National Park is home to several different ecosystems. There are different ecosystems encompassed in the nearly 1 million acres and 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, 95% of which is designated as wilderness.

three kids next to the Olympic National Park sign in WashingtonPin
Thibodeau clan at Olympic National Park

With the diverse ecosystems and areas of the park all boasting different highlights, we recommend several days (ideally 3!) of hiking to make the most of your visit to this beautiful park.

Temperate rainforest, mountains, dense forests and the beautiful coast are the different ecosystems you can experience here in Olympic NP.

Lake Quinault, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Lake Quinault

The neat thing about this park really is all the different ecosystems. If you have limited time, or are deciding which hikes to do, choosing which of the ecosystems appeals to you most is a good way of deciding. Maybe you’ve done lots of mountain hikes but have never seen a rainforest, then you wouldn’t want to miss out on those here! Hope that helps!

There are so many amazing hikes here to take your kids on, but no matter the current weather, be prepared to get your feet wet! July and August are the best times to visit, however June and September are nice too (just a little cooler and wetter!)

Let’s get into our list of the best hikes, starting with entering in the north near Port Angeles.

kids hugging the base of a huge tree along the kids on a bridge along the Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Get ready to hug some HUGE trees in this park!

Easy Hikes Olympic National Park: Interactive Map

Below you’ll find an interactive map that highlights each of the trail recommendations made in this article. You’ll be able to see the relative distance to hikes, as well as other park highlights like visitor centers, etc.

How to Use This Map:

Click on any of the trail recommendations marked with the bed icon in this color. A popup will open discussing the hike in greater detail.

Clicking the star next to the name of the map will save the map to your google account. To access it later on a computer or your smartphone, open google maps and select “Your Places”.

Family-Friendly Hikes in Hurricane Ridge

Only 17 miles south of the Port Angeles park entrance, you will find this mountainous ecosystem filled with spectacular mountain views.

In the winter, you can do ranger led snowshoe walks in this area of the park! They are 1 mile and take about 90 minutes. Beginners are welcome!

PARENT TIP: Stop at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and speak to the park rangers before continuing on with any hikes! They always have the most up-to-date information and best insider tips! You can grab a free Junior Ranger Workbook here filled with kid-friendly ranger activities to complete and get a badge! This is a great way to keep your kids engaged along these hikes!

1. High Ridge to Sunrise Point

Distance: 0.7 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Location: Hurricane Visitors Center parking lot, off Hurricane Ridge Road.

The High Ridge Trail is a short walk that follows the ridge part of the way. You can then branch off this loop to do a 0.2 mile loop to Sunrise Point.

The reason this is mentioned as moderate is because this is a serious uphill trek but only for 1/10 of a mile. The view you will have from the top is beyond worth it! This is not too difficult for your school age children.

When you reach the fork in the trail, stay to the left to go up to Sunrise Point. Heading to the right would bring you to Klahhane Ridge Trail, which is NOT a family-friendly trail. So be sure to stay to the left!

As you could likely guess by its name, the best time to see Sunrise Point is at sunrise! Even if you miss the sunrise, these views are worth the climb. On a clear day, you will see stunning mountain AND ocean views in the distance. Can’t beat that!

Sunrise Ridge, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
view at Sunrise Ridge, Olympic National Park

2. Hurricane Hill Trail

Distance: 3.2 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Location: Hurricane Hill parking lot on Hurricane Ridge Road, 1.5 miles past Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

The Hurricane Hill parking lot can be quite full during peak season, so arrive early in the day to make sure you can get a parking spot! Maybe go see the sunrise at Sunrise Point and then head right to Hurricane Hill parking lot before the crowd. (If you’ve got kids who are early risers!)

This trail is paved the whole way, so theoretically accessible, but there are some good hills that would be quite challenging to push a stroller or wheelchair up. You can be the judge of your own fitness level for that one!

Hurricane Hill Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Hurricane Hill Trail

This wide trail makes it a great one for the whole family, with beautiful mountain views as you hike. There are interpretive signs pointing out what you see from the viewpoints. This really gets the kids excited for the mountain view you will see at the summit. Be sure to stay on the main trail as there are others branching off that are much longer day hikes as well as much more strenuous.

When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with 360 degree, panoramic views of the mountains, including Mount Olympus, and even Vancouver Island in the distance. On a clear day, you may even see the ferry taking people between Canada and the US!

Just below the summit, there is a second interpretive sign to check out. Don’t miss out on these opportunities for learning while exploring!

Another fun part of this hike for the kids is the variety of mountain wildlife you may see, including marmots, deer and black bears. Even into June, there will likely still be some snow, which is always an excitement for the kids.

This is one you don’t want to miss if you want to experience a hike (with a panoramic view) in the mountains.

Hurricane Hill Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Hurricane Hill Trail

Family-Friendly Hikes in Crescent Lake Area

At the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, this area of the park is 18 miles west of Port Angeles, inside the park. This beautiful lake area still does offer mountain views, just from the valley instead of the peaks! The Storm King Ranger Station is a great place inside this area to go for information and maps.

Crescent Lake is known for the beauty of its shining clear blue waters and also for its indigenous trout species. It is also home to the most popular and magnificent waterfall inside the park.

Not so coincidentally, the most popular hike in this region leads to that waterfall!

family walking along the Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Our family hiking in the Lake Crescent area

3. Marymere Falls Trail

Distance: 1.7 miles out and back

Difficulty: Easy (does have 200 feet of stairs at the end)

Location: Begins at Storm King Ranger Station OR Lake Crescent Lodge

This is going to be a favorite hike for your kids and is one you do not want to miss. Along this 1.7 miles out and back trail, your kids will find large fallen trees to climb on, hollowed out trunks to peer into (and maybe even get into!), streams to wade in and so much more. This trail is literally what dreams are made of for kids.

kids standing under huge trees along the Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Your family will be in awe of the immense trees on this beautiful old growth forest trail

The kids won’t be the only ones enjoying it as the view of the beautiful waterfall will be one that really sticks with everyone who sees it. It’s the kind of magnificence that you think back on long after a trip is over.

This trail is mostly flat and easy, until you reach the end. The first 0.5 miles of the trail is paved and meanders through old-growth trees. This is where the climbing and exploring is at its best for the kids, and as well as you continue on, veering left through the forest.

You will cross Barnes Creek and Falls Creek and then come upon the place where the 2 creeks meet. You will cross a little bridge here that is about two 2×4’s wide (but has a railing). This is your spectacular photo op! Have those cameras ready for the view of the falls you will get from here. It is picturesque!

kids on a bridge along the Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
this narrow bridge along the trail is a beautiful spot

After you cross the second of 2 bridges (one made by a fallen down tree cut in half!), you will start the 200 foot climb up some man-made stairs. This is the only non-easy part of this trail. For the most part, any of your school age children should be able to handle this, even an energetic preschooler!

Marymere Falls Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
One of the bridges along the Marymere Falls trail

As you climb the stairs, there are 2 viewpoints. The lower one allows you to view the falls from a lower perspective, really showing you their full size.

You WILL want a photo here! You will come to an upper viewpoint, as you keep climbing, that lets you see the falls more from above. Both are worth the climb. This part is done in a loop.

Once you have enjoyed the tallest waterfall (90 feet!) in Olympic National Park and taken it all in, head back the trail the way you came to the parking area.

There are so many neat and unique features on this hike. This is one I would suggest making time for!

If your kids are up for a longer hike, you can add on the Moments in Time Nature Trail.

Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Marymere Falls

4. Moments in Time Nature Trail

Distance: 1.6 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Storm King Ranger Station parking area

This self-guided nature loop goes through old growth forests as well as the ferns and moss that Olympic National Park is known for.

This is a kid friendly forest trail with interpretive signs throughout to give you information on the history of these ancient trees as well as the lake area. If you’re looking for an easy walk to do with your young kids, this is a good one. If you really want that “hike” feel, this is one to skip.

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Lake Crescent

There is a picnic location with a beautiful view near Lake Crescent. You could stop and have a snack or a lunch and a little rest.

There is a little side trail that takes you on a 0.1 mile detour to the Lake Crescent Lodge. This is worth your time to do since it isn’t far and it’s a beautiful building.

Lake Crescent Lodge, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Lake Crescent Lodge (Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Family-Friendly Hikes in Sol Duc Hot Springs

The Sol Duc Hot Springs has a campground as well as the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort with 3 mineral pools and a freshwater pool. For mineral pools there is a large pool with a fountain, a medium soaking pool and a shallow wading pool.

The freshwater pool is large but cool, although it can feel very nice after a day of hiking. The hikes here are beautiful but the mineral pools are not a must – do, in my opinion.

The Sol Duc area is known for its ancient forests and has one of the most heavily used hiking trails in the park.

Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Sol Duc Hot Springs building where you can try out the mineral springs during daily 1.5 hour sessions; availability is first come/first serve and availability is limited.

5. Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail

Distance: 1.6 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Trailhead is located just past the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

This is an easy trail, for all skill levels, with a big reward! One of the most popular hikes in this area of the park, 1.6 miles gets you out and back to see the beautiful Sol Duc Falls.

This is one of the best easy hikes for kids in Olympic National Park! It begins as a wide, well maintained path under a green canopy in the dense forest. Kids will be entertained and excited the whole way, with so much to explore and enjoy.

While following the trail to the falls, you will pass streams, climb over rocks and tree roots on the trail and even pass a hut that was once used for shelter.

As you cross the wooden bridge to the falls, you can hear the roar. You will hear the falls before you see them if you are visiting during a time of high water volume. This waterfall is really magnificent in the spring run off or in autumn when water volume is high.

You can view the falls (known as the most beautiful in the park) from many different angles and I would suggest setting up a tripod for an amazing family photo! Standing on the bridge and watching the waterfall spill down below you is something your kids will remember for a long time.

After you finish admiring the sights, you head back the way you came to the parking lot.

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National ParkPin
Sol Duc Falls

Family-Friendly Hikes in the Hoh Rainforest Area

This enchanted rainforest is full of big spruce trees, moss and ferns. Of the two rainforest areas in the park, this one has the larger foliage and ferns and is one of the most popular destinations in ONP.

This area of the park is the gateway to Mount Olympus, the park’s highest point.

There are a couple popular family hikes in this area.

6. Hall of Mosses Trail

Distance: 0.8 mile loop (lollipop style)

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Near Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center on Hoh Valley Road

You will want to arrive early in the morning for this very popular trail. It is a well – maintained gravel trail so isn’t very muddy, even with the wet weather.

The tall trees covered with moss give this trail an enchanted feel. You and your kids will feel like you stepped into a make believe land when you go under the canopy of these mossy trees. You might even hear a gasp from your more animated little ones!

Hall of Mosses Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Hall of Mosses Trail

Besides having the most impressive scenery, you’ll want to be on the lookout for banana slugs on this trail! See if you can find them slithering along the moist ground!

EDUCATIONAL INFO: Banana slugs are one of the largest slugs in the world AND one of the slowest moving animals. The slugs love the moist and cool environment of this rainforest. They help recycle nutrients back into the soil. They are kept moist by a slime that can be used for antiseptic. First Nations peoples have used the slime to numb toothaches.

Quinault Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
banana slug we spotted along the trail

The educational, informative signs throughout this trail make it even more interesting. What a special gift to be able to learn new things along with your kids while exploring!

Hall of Mosses Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Hall of Mosses Trail

7. Spruce Nature Trail

Distance: 1.2 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Trailhead at the end of Hoh Valley Road, past the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.

This easy 1.2 mile trail is next to the Hall of Mosses but is much less popular and therefore less rushed. I would argue that this is the best trail for kids in the Hoh area because it is less crowded but still has the enormous trees covered in moss.

Spruce Nature Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Spruce Nature Trail

You will find that the ferns on this trail are taller than some of your kids! They will think this is quite hilarious. You may get to see some Roosevelt Elk and, if you keep your eyes peeled, you may even spot a beaver lodge!

You can follow this trail to the Hoh River and the beautiful views you will see from its banks.

Follow the loop around until you’re back where you started. You can add this on with the Hall of Mosses trail if you want a little extra length.

Spruce Nature Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Spruce Nature Trail

Family-Friendly Hikes in the Kalaloch Area

Only 45 minutes south of the Hoh Rainforest, you find a completely different ecosystem in the coastal area of Kalaloch. Open year round, Kalaloch is one of the most visited area of the parks. Being on the southern coast of the Olympic Peninsula makes it a perfect place for beachcombing and birdwatching.

Hikes in this area are going to give you a completely different experience than those in the other areas. Known for it’s amazing sea stacks, you will need to pay attention to the tides if you want to get close to them.

A sea stack is a geological landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column(s) of rock in the sea near a coast, formed by erosion by waves.

8. Ruby Beach Trail

Distance: 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Location: 7.6 miles past Kalaloch Visitor Center of Highway 101. Parking lot labeled for Ruby Beach.

This is not your typical trail. It begins more like one, with the first 0.25 mile walking down a paved trail from the parking lot to get to the beach area. At the end you will likely need to climb over a little driftwood before you get onto the beach.

Ruby Beach , Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Ruby Beach, sunset

This is the best beach hike in all of Olympic National Park for kids. Once you get down onto the beach, it is less of a hike and more of an excursion!

You can walk along the beach but don’t expect to be going quickly. You will be mostly walking on small, smooth rocks. There will be countless things to distract and occupy your children’s attention, but isn’t that what you want! I love to see my kids enjoying nature and marveling at what they find.

Ruby Beach Trail, Oympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Ruby Beach trail

Low tide is the ideal time to do this as you will get to walk up to, and explore, the sea stacks. At low tide you are also likely to find some starfish, anemones and other sea creatures in the tide pools! Kids can play safely in the tide pools created by Cedar Creek.

This is really a child’s paradise! To be able to run around on a beach, exploring tide pools, catching starfish and seeing the giant sea stacks! Keep your eyes peeled as there are known to be sightings of seals, porpoises and sea otters as well.

Ruby Beach Trail, Oympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Ruby Beach

You can walk as much or as little as you want here on Ruby Beach. When you’re ready, you can retrace your steps back up to the parking area.

TIP: Don’t think of this like a beach outing. This is not a place for your bathing suit and flip flops. Think of it more as a coastal walk. Be prepared for breezy, chilly weather even in the summer and you will want proper footwear as the rocks are hard on the feet!

Ruby Beach , Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Ruby Beach

9. Hole in the Wall Trail

Distance: 3.3 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate (due to footing)

Location: Park at Rialto Beach

This roundtrip loop isn’t difficult but with the wet sand it can be tiring over the distance and therefore we are going to call it moderate! It is still fun and school age kid friendly, as long as they can handle walking through the wet sand.

For this one, you will want to pay attention to tide charts. When you get to the Hole in the Wall, you can only walk under it at low tide. It is still visible at high tide but really, you want the experience of walking under it! For some, it’s their favorite memory of this national park.

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Rialto Beach

You park at Rialto Beach and it can be busy during low tide. It doesn’t hurt to get there a bit early to make sure you can get parking. You can always spend extra time exploring on the beach waiting for low tide. You want to leave yourself at least an hour to walk to the Hole in the Wall so plan accordingly with the tides.

You absolutely need hiking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. This is not the beach walk for sandals! It is not a maintained trail! You’ll be walking on wet sand that your feet will sink into as well as slippery rocks.

There are so many things here to catch your eye and excite your children! Large waves, huge driftwood, shiny rocks, sea stacks, starfish, anemones, crabs and the possibility of animal sightings like sea lions, whales and eagles! The tidepools that house these sea creatures are on the other side of the Hole in the Wall.

As you walk past the sea stacks you will see the Hole in the Wall! At low tide you can walk right under it. Though even at low tide, you will need to climb around the rocks. The rocks can be slippery so be sure to take your time and wear proper footwear.

Be aware of the tide and make sure you leave yourself time to get back before you’re stuck swimming!

hole in the wall trail, rialto beach, olympic national park, washingtonPin
Hole in the Wall, Rialto Beach

Family-Friendly Hikes in the Quinault Rainforest Area

This part of the park is home to large hemlocks, Douglas firs, red cedars and Sitka spruce that have been there for about 1,000 years! This rainforest is less visited than the Hoh and is therefore great for families with young children.

While it doesn’t have the large ferns and foliage and all the moss that the Hoh area has, it is still beautiful and worth visiting if you have time. Quinault Valley is in the southwest area of the park so it will depend where you enter from which rainforest you would be closer to.

While there is a scenic loop drive through this area, we know you’re here because you want to get out of the car and explore on foot! There are some great short hikes for that as well! Just make sure you are prepared to get wet! (body and feet!)

10. Quinault Rainforest Nature Loop

Distance: 0.5 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Quinault Rainforest Trailhead on South Shore Road.

This short, easy loop is the best rainforest hike for beginners and young children. This loop can be done in either direction.

As a parent, you’ll appreciate the educational aspect of the interpretive signs explaining the ecosystem, life cycles, and different animals that live there. Your kids will enjoy this information too but also the wooden bridges and tall dripping trees along this walk through the old growth forest.

Quinault Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
educational sign along the Quinault Rainforest Trail

You will have views of Willaby Creek along the way, and with a short detour you can see a small waterfall!

Quinault Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
new tree using an old stump as a scaffold for growth along the Quinault Rainforest Nature loop trail

If you wish to take a longer hike, this trail connects to the larger trail system in Quinault Rainforest. Grab a map at the Quinault Wilderness Information Center or Quinault Lodge before starting out so you can map out your route!

Quinault Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, WashingtonPin
Quinault Rainforest Trail

Don’t Forget to Check

It is always important to check the park website before traveling. Weather and natural disasters can happen at any time, causing certain trails to be closed down. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check before you go!

If you’re heading to Olympic National Park, you may want to learn about some of the wildlife you may see in the park! We’ve got you covered on that too!

family next to the Olympic National Park sign in WashingtonPin
Our family loves hiking in Olympic National Park! I’m sure yours will as well!

Pin this Olympic NP hiking information for later! And if you found this article helpful, leave a comment on the pin. That helps others decide whether to use this information, too!

Top 10 Easy Hikes in Olympic National Park for Families. Use this travel guide to plan your family vacation to this amazing US National Park in Washington State! #olympicnationalpark #familytravelPin
happy trails, heatherPin
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About Heather Thibodeau

Heather Thibodeau is the founder and mom behind nationalparksmom.com.

She and her husband Dave (AKA Tib) are on a mission to travel to as many US national parks with their three kids in tow as they possibly can, doing their best to keep the little ones out in nature and off of screens in an increasingly digital world.

Heather has earned degrees in biology & chemistry from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies), and holds master's and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke University (Go Blue Devils).

Heather is also the creative force behind The Heathered Nest where she shares her love of all things DIY and home decor.

Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, This Old House, Today.com, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more.

2 thoughts on “10 Easy Hikes in Olympic National Park [For Families]”

    • Yeah! You’ll love it there! Have a great trip! We are headed there again this summer…so much to see!


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