Sol Duc Falls at Olympic National Park, Washington State.

An Amazing Road Trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park

Updated by Sarah Yanshin-Hall on May 27 2023

You might not think of rainforests and hot springs a stone's throw from Seattle, but that's exactly what you'll get in the beautiful Olympic National Park.

The best road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park will be via Sequim, Port Angeles, Forks, Quinault, Pacific Beach, Grays Harbor City, Aberdeen, Olympia, and Hoh Rain Forest. You can do this drive in 8 hours and 20 minutes to cover 420 miles.

To learn about what to expect on this Seattle to Olympic National Park road trip around the Olympic Peninsula, you can find our summary below:

Summary of the road trip route from Seattle to Olympic National Park
What to expect on this road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park

420 miles

Driving Time

8 hours 20 minutes

We suggest taking

4 days


🌳 Hoh Rain Forest

♨️ Hot springs

🏞️ Port Angeles


Coastal views, forests, outdoor activities

Best time for this drive

June to August

Best for enjoying outdoor activities and water sports

View The Seattle to Olympic National Park Itinerary

How far is Olympic National Park from Seattle, and how long will the road trip take?

The direct route from Seattle to Olympic National Park is only 90 miles and will take just 2 hours and 50 minutes to drive, but you'd be missing out on seeing the Pacific Coast as well as the towns of Quinault, Grays Harbor City and Olympic National Forest.

There really is only one good route that takes you along the Olympic Peninsula and follows the coast. Covering a distance of 420 miles, the best route from Seattle to the Olympic National Park will take a minimum of 8 hours and 20 minutes to drive without stopping.

Although you could make this journey in a single day, we wouldn't recommend it. This trip is all about stunning views, hiking opportunities and visiting quaint and interesting towns along the way.

The best way to explore it all is by allowing at least three to four days and by including a couple of overnight stops along the way (but don't worry, we have some fabulous recommendations below for you to check out).

Board walks mark out a trek through vibrant, misty forest foliage around a cascading river
From temperate rainforests to wild coastlines, Olympic National Park has it all!
Jakapong Paoprapat/

Best road trip route from Seattle to Olympic National Park

The best route from Seattle to Olympic National Park will take you west from the city to Port Angeles, before following the peninsula around the outside of the national park. You'll get to explore the towns of Forks, Clear Water, and Montesano, plus Quinault and Beaver.

The main benefit of this route, versus a direct route, is that it gives plenty of options to stop and take in all the different historic sites and landmarks. There are also opportunities to venture into the national park from the outskirts of the peninsula.

This route is perfect for outdoor lovers or hiking enthusiasts, from Port Angeles you can venture further into the park and do a short hike up to the High Ridge Trail. If you want more of a challenge, you can take on the peak of Mount Angeles which offers breathtaking views.

While you won't bustling cities on this road trip, you'll get great mountain, forest and ocean vistas to enjoy. From Grays Harbor City to the Pacific Beach, there will be plenty of water sports fun to be had too.

You will weave in and out of Olympic National Park during this circular drive and please note that there are several entrances you can use to enter the national park.

Keep in mind that the best way to explore this stunning area is to park up and hike on one of the many scenic trails that lead into its heart, so we encourage you to park up often and put on your walking boots!

Itinerary: Road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park

Itinerary for a road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park, stopping in Port Angeles, Forks, Quinault, Aberdeen, Olympia and Olympic National Forest
Your Seattle to Olympic National Park Itinerary.
© LazyTrips

1. Drive from Seattle to Port Angeles

140 miles (2 hours 30 minutes)

Your incredibly scenic drive from Seattle to Olympic National Park will start on Interstate 5 (I-5) heading south towards Tacoma, where you can visit the Museum of Glass and W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory to hop right in and start your road trip adventure.

From here, the road will curl around the Commencement Bay and head north on state highways. During this leg of the drive to Port Angeles, you will drive through Bethel, Discovery Bay and beautiful Sequim, famous for its lavender fields.

Continuing on US-101, you will soon reach Port Angeles.

Port Angeles Harbor at sunrise in Washington State.
Port Angeles is especially beautiful during the sunset.
Dee Browning/

Once you arrive in Port Angeles, stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to get your park pass and pick up the map of the area. From here, you can follow the Hurricane Ridge Road to enter the national park.

Please note that Heart O' the Hills Entrance Station here has limited entry, and you might need to arrive early to ensure that you can get into Olympic National Park using this entrance.

The Olympic Discovery Trail by bike is a different way to explore the area. There are lots of bike paths stretching from downtown Port Angeles all the way to Lake Crescent.

To really get into the spirit of the adventurer, how about stopping at the Olympic Lodge by Ayres? This stunning 4-star hotel is an oasis in the middle of the forest. Located at the base of the Olympic Mountains, guests will be treated to an outdoor pool and beautifully decorated rooms.

2. Drive from Port Angeles to Forks

60 miles (1 hour 10 minutes)

As you leave Port Angeles, you will keep following US-101 west to Lake Crescent. Here, you can enjoy easy walking trails around this beautiful lake and forest terrain. Lake Crescent is famous for its clear waters; head to Fairholme Beach if you'd like to take a dip in the water.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can also set off on a hike to see the beautiful Marymere Falls, located just off the coast of the lake.

After enjoying some time under the sun, continue driving on the Olympic Highway and you will soon reach Kloshe Nantich Lookout Point for panoramic views of the area before dipping south to reach Forks.

Once you arrive in Forks, you might wonder why the name sounds familiar. A visit to this town is a dream for any "Twilight" fan! If you love this popular movie series, you can take a self-guided tour to fulfill your movie trivia fix or visit the Forever Twilight in Forks Museum.

If that is not your thing, don't worry; there is plenty to do in Forks. A (non-Twilight-related!) place we recommend visiting while here is the Forks Timber Museum.

Roosevelt elk in rainforest of Olympic national park, Washington state, USA.
Admire wildlife, like this Roosevelt elk, in Hoh Rain Forest near Forks.
Natalia Bratslavsky/

3. Drive from Forks to Quinault

70 miles (1 hour 20 minutes)

The drive from Forks to Quinault will take you to another park entrance near the stunning Hoh Rain Forest. Lying on the west side of the Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rain Forest is a temperate rainforest that has been awarded both a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

After you hike the beautiful trails in the rainforest, your drive will continue south towards the awe-inspiring coastal scenery of Ruby Beach and Kalaloch, where you can see the Kalaloch Tree of Life. Kalaloch is also great for bird-watching, keep an eye out for Western gulls and bald eagles!

Once you arrive in Quinault, you will be able to explore the surrounding rainforest on the Quinault Rain Forest Loop Drive, which allows you to take in all the beauty of the rainforest along with waterfalls and stunning scenery.

Lake Quinault is a great place to relax and enjoy a laid-back break from driving. Looking to spend some time on the water instead? Activities here include boating, swimming or fishing. You can even camp by the shore or simply enjoy a picnic. Make sure to visit the World's Largest Sitka Spruce before you leave!

Cascade Falls, Quinault Loop Trail, Quinault Lake and Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Washington.
You can see the stunning Cascade Falls on the Quinault Loop Trail.

4. Drive from Quinault to Aberdeen

60 miles (1 hour 30 minutes)

As you leave Quinault, take a short detour towards the coast on WA-109 to visit Pacific Beach State Park, the perfect place to relax on the sands, go clamming or crabbing, walk up and down the shoreline or fly a kite.

Continue driving south on the coast and you will soon arrive at Griffiths-Priday State Park, another beautiful local park with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. After your visit, drive through Grays Harbor City and head inland on US-12.

Just before you reach Aberdeen, you can visit the Polson Museum in Hoquiam and learn about the history of Grays Harbor and the timber business that made it flourish back in the day.

Once you arrive in Aberdeen, lovers of all things grunge or musical history should head to Kurt Cobain Childhood Home and Kurt Cobain Memorial Park. North Aberdeen Bridge was featured in one of Nirvana's songs and was reportedly one of the bridges Kurt Cobain actually slept under.

If you are not a Nirvana fan, then Aberdeen has plenty more to offer. One of our favorite places to spend some time outdoors while visiting Aberdeen is Sam Benn Park. You can also enjoy a lakeside stroll by Chehalis River at Morrison Riverfront Park.

Boats moored in the Hoquiam River in Grays Harbor County, Washinton.
Grays Harbor City is a charming place that sits on the North Bay and coasts beautiful and serene coastal views.

5. Drive from Aberdeen to Olympia

50 miles (1 hour)

After your visit to Aberdeen, continue driving east on Olympic Highway and visit the beautiful Lake Sylvia State Park past Montesano. This is one of our favorite places to have a picnic, but be warned that it is popular and the tables usually get snatched up pretty early in the day!

Driving past Brady and Elma, you will switch to WA-8 as you enjoy views of Capitol Peak to your right. If you have time, take a break and enjoy hiking in Capitol State Forest before you reach Olympia.

Once you arrive in Olympia, you can visit the Washington State Capitol Building and Campus to learn about the history of Washington State. The Capitol Building itself is a gorgeous structure and is a must-visit, especially if you are interested in architecture.

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls is one of the most popular local parks in Olympia. Here, you can take an easy hike to admire the cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear pools, and impressive rocks that surround the Deschutes River.

Percival Landing Park is located on the West Bay, and features a lovely boardwalk. You will also find picnic areas and a playground if you are traveling with little ones.

6. Drive from Olympia to Olympic National Park

50 miles (1 hour 10 minutes)

On this last leg of your road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park, you will hop back on US-101 and drive north. We recommend taking it slow to explore some of the beautiful sights, including the Potlatch State Park, where you can enjoy sweeping views of the Hood Canal.

Switch to WA-119 to reach Lake Cushman, which is another gateway to the stunning Olympic National Park.

Once you arrive at Olympic National Park, all good things must come to an end, well, almost all good things! You can extend this trip as much as you'd like to explore the national park further. One of our favorite trailheads to get you started is the Staircase Trailhead.

Olympic National Forest is located to the southeast of the national park, where you will be located. This forest is nestled around the Olympic Mountains and is separate from the Olympic National Park. Here, you can spot wildlife like mountain goats, lions and black bears.

If you'd like to base yourself near Lake Cushman during your visit to Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest, Potlatch is a lovely waterside town. The Waterfront At Potlatch is located on the edge of Potlatch State Park and features rooms with beautiful views of Hood Canal.

Beautiful view of the lake in Olympic National Park, framed by tall trees
Lake Cushman is a great gateway to Olympic National Park and boasts stunning views.
Stacey Lynn Payne/

Best time to go on a road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park

While you can visit Olympic National Park year-round, the best time to visit is generally considered from spring through to fall when you get warm temperatures, and most roads and facilities will be open.

Summer is the most popular time to visit the park, thanks to the beautiful weather. Expect temperatures of around 74 degrees Fahrenheit, though it is always advisable to bring extra layers as it can get cool depending on altitude. Expect the park to be at its busiest and booking ahead is recommended.

In winter the mountains are particularly beautiful. The rainforests are lush and green, and the lakes still see plenty of activity. Expect some campsites and local cafes to close but the park is always open.

A jetty jutting out into Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA at sunset in winter
Winter sunsets over Lake Crescent are a thing of beauty - but keep in mind that some roads in Olympic National Park are closed during the colder months if you choose to visit in winter.

That said, the weather can get pretty cold around Olympic National Park. During the winter months, lows are between the upper 20s and lower 30s, so you'll need warm layers. There's also a higher chance of rain.

If you are planning on visiting Olympic National Park during the colder months, keep in mind that access to Lake Cushman is limited during the winter months. The main road leading to Staircase Trailhead is also closed between November and May.

The best times to visit the park are spring and fall. Here, you'll escape the busy crowds of summer and avoid the cold and wet weather of winter.

Spring will bring stunning wildflower blossoms to the parks' meadows, while fall will bring the forests alive with golden foliage. Meanwhile, spring and fall will see warm weather of 35 to 60 degrees.

If you'd like to time your trip with an event or festival, then visiting in the spring months will tie nicely with the Olympic BirdFest held in April. There's also the Sequim Lavender Festival held in July and CrabFest held in Port Angeles in October for seafood lovers.

Things to see on a road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park

There's a lot to see on this small but mighty road trip, including forests, lakes, mountains and towns to explore. But if you're pressed for time, we've made a list of some of the best bits you'll pass en route to the Olympic National Park.

Things to see on a road trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park
Things to see on this road trip
  • Museum of Glass, Tacoma
  • W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory
  • Sequim, Washington
  • Olympic National Park Visitor Center
  • Olympic Discovery Trail
  • Lake Crescent
  • Fairholme Beach
  • Marymere Falls
  • Kloshe Nantich Lookout Point
  • Forever Twilight in Forks Museum
  • Forks Timber Museum
  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Ruby Beach
  • Kalaloch Tree of Life
  • Quinault Rain Forest Loop Drive
  • Lake Quinault
  • World's Largest Sitka Spruce
  • Pacific Beach State Park
  • Griffiths-Priday State Park
  • Polson Museum
  • Kurt Cobain Memorial Park
  • Sam Benn Park
  • Morrison Riverfront Park
  • Lake Sylvia State Park
  • Capitol State Forest
  • Percival Landing Park
  • Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls
  • Washington State Capitol Building and Campus
  • Potlatch State Park
  • Lake Cushman
  • Olympic National Forest