Winter in Olympic National Park

·3 min read

My Olympic Park

There’s a lot to see and do at Olympic National Park in winter. Just make sure to check the weather forecast and come prepared for snow or rain. Conditions can change quickly and what starts as a sunny day can end with hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions. Olympic National Park is open 24/7, every day of the year. Some park roads, campgrounds and other visitor facilities close during the winter season, but the park itself is always open.

While winters are mild at lower elevation, with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, snowfall can be heavy in the mountains, with accumulations of up to 10 feet common.

Hurricane Ridge in Winter

Hurricane Ridge is the focal point for snow and winter recreation.

Although relatively low, the Olympic mountains receive a great deal of moisture. In winter, much of is falls as snow, particularly above 3,000 feet in elevation. The typically snow-covered Hurricane Ridge provides opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more.

Weather permitting, the Hurricane Ridge Road opens Friday through Sunday during the winter season, but storms or avalanche hazards can lead to road closures at any time. Call 360-565-3131 to check status, weather and road conditions.

Learn more about the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area and snowshoeing with a ranger.

Olympic Rainforests in Winter

The rainforests, including the Hoh and Quinault, are excellent destinations once a bit of the snow melts. Winter is the wet season and the rain forest radiates in deep, healthy greens.

Olympic Coast in Winter

The coastal beaches are also relatively snow-free soon after a snowfall. Whatever the season, walking along the sandy beaches during low tide is a great way to explore the diversity of the intertidal zone.

Winter Roads in Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge Road in winter
Hurricane Ridge Road in winter (Photo: Getty Images)

All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling above the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station (entrance closest to Port Angeles) during the winter season. This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel-drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions. All vehicle must also exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5:00pm during the winter season.

Hurricane Ridge Road may close early or remain closed during the entire day due to poor road conditions or severe weather. Call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current information. Conditions, updates and closures are also posted to Twitter at: twitter.com/HRWinterAccess.

General Road Access in Winter

Deer Park – Dependent on snow melt
Graves Creek (Quinault) – Year round, weather permitting
Hoh – Year round, weather permitting
North Fork (Quinault) – Year round, weather permitting
Obstruction Point – Road closes for season October 31
Olympic Hot Springs Road (Elwha) – Year round but often closed in winter due to snow
Queets – Year round, weather permitting
Quinault South Shore – Year round, weather permitting
Sol Duc – Year round but often closed in winter due to snow
Staircase – Year round, weather permitting
Whiskey Bend Road – Year round, weather permitting

Check www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-road-conditions.htm for current road conditions.

Facilities in Winter

Fairholme Store – Closed in fall and winter
Kalaloch Lodge – Year-round
Lake Crescent Lodge – Closes for season January 1, 2023 (Roosevelt Cottages open on weekends, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, throughout the winter season)
Lake Quinault Lodge – Year-round
Log Cabin Resort – Closes for season September 25, 2022
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort – Closes for season October 30, 2022

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