A Photographer’s Guide to Olympic National Park

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Though Mt. Rainier National Park might get a little more glory and a few more visitors, Olympic National Park is certainly not a second-rate photography destination. In fact, Olympic is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the lower-48 states, including spectacular coastlines, beautiful rainforests, and glacier-covered mountains. And that’s just the start…

Here’s a quick photographer’s guide to Olympic National Park that outlines some of the area’s must-see locations.

Hurricane Ridge

What makes Hurricane Ridge so great is twofold: it’s easily accessible and it offers jaw-dropping views of the surrounding landscape. Winding up the stunning Hurricane Ridge Road, you’re afforded views of mountains, forests, and rivers that seem to go on forever. Wildlife is abundant in the area as well, giving you an opportunity to add some wildlife shots to your collection of images.

Once at the ridge, there are spectacular views in all directions, even from the parking lot of the visitor’s center. But for more unique views of the landscape, a quick walk or hike on one of the area’s many trails is highly recommended. While there, be sure to take advantage of Hurricane Ridge’s view of Mt. Olympus and the surrounding peaks. It’s a view you won’t soon forget!

Shi Shi Beach

Further to the west is Shi Shi Beach, one of the lesser-visited beaches along the Olympic coastline. Since it requires a bit longer of a hike to get to, you’ll often find that Shi Shi Beach has far smaller crowds than the more popular beaches to the south, like Rialto Beach and Ruby Beach.

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But what Shi Shi Beach offers that the other beaches don’t is well worth the extra effort to get there - the views of the coastline are absolutely magnificent. That includes mysterious columns of rock that extend toward the ocean as well as breathtaking sea stacks offshore that make for ideal subjects in a sunset shot.

Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is a must-see location for photographers because it offers yet more landscape diversity for your lens. In addition to huge tracts of heavily wooded forest, there are opportunities to photograph streams, rivers, and waterfalls, as well as wildlife like elk and deer.

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One of the area’s most popular destinations is the Hall of Mosses Trail, which is truly a sight you have to see to believe, with moss-covered trees that twist, bend, and hang in a way that makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale or visiting another planet.

The Hoh River Trail is a must-see area as well, with more moss-covered trees, huge deadfalls, an incredible variety of flora, and gorgeous views of the Hoh River. In other words, if you’re itching to test your landscape photography skills, Olympic National Park is a great spot to do it. The diversity of the landscape and the vastly different conditions you encounter will both delight and challenge you as a photographer.st non lacus lacinia semper.