(Helpful Tips) Hiking the Olympic Peninsula

Walking through the rain forest or in the Olympic Mountains is very inspiring. So often people ask me about tips and suggestions online. Things like: Where is a great place to hike? What is the weather going to be like? Which resources do you use for planning? Ect.

Here are my thoughts, I hope you find them helpful!

Luna Oso (2017 Review) Flaco and 2.0 Sandals

Luna Oso Sandals are a hiking and running sandal with an aggressive tread manufactured here in the Pacific Northwest. They are great as a running sandal, but I will be using them primarily for walking. As soon as the mailman arrived, I took them out of the box and headed into the forest.

Hiking in the Forest with the Oso

Right away the hardcore tread catches your eye. The Oso features a custom Vibram Megagrip Outsole, that screams, "take me into the mountains!". So that is just what I did. After only a few steps, I said to myself, "oh yes".

You see, I've been looking for a mountaineering type minimalist sandal, that I could use on my adventures in the Olympic Mountains. Typically I wear sandals on and off the trail. These puppies are just what I need!

Disclaimer: This article contains ads in the form of affiliate links, which help finance future content on this site (no extra cost to you). These sandals were given at no cost in exchange for testing. These words are strictly my own opinion.

Luna Oso 2017
2017 Luna Oso with Vibram Megagrip Tread

Olympic National Forest vs Olympic National Park (Info and Details)

National Park and National Forest Managed Lands

At first glance, our nation’s National Parks and National Forests may appear to be the same thing, with both being federal public lands. Under closer comparison though, each has their own unique history and priorities. Perhaps the greatest difference between the two is the multiple use mandate for National Forests. While National Parks are highly vested in preservation, barely altering the existing state, while National Forests are managed for many purposes—timber, recreation, grazing, wildlife, fish and more.

Olympic National Park vs Olympic National Forest

Think of Olympic National Park as a huge chunk of mostly pristine wilderness. The total area comes to almost a whopping 1,500 square miles! Which additionally includes the longest strip of wilderness coastline in the US. Some rangers say the Park is in the shape of a pig. After you look at my beautiful creation below you will never forget it when you see maps of Olympic National Park. But seriously, all of the green that you see below belongs to the National Park. There are very few roads that peek into the edge of the Park, making most of the park accessible only by foot.

olympic national park map
Olympic National Park is a Pig

Planning (Overnight Hiking) for Olympic National Park

Planning for an Overnight Wilderness Backpacking Trip

Preparation is a very important step of your adventure. Doing this should not be overlooked and can mean the biggest difference for a successful trip. I see a lot of backpackers waiting until they are at a ranger station to begin planning which can lead to being sent to over-populated areas or holding up the line behind you while you struggle on deciding on which campground to be at each night. You cannot obtain a wilderness permit without knowing where you plan on camping each night. If you are the type of person that refuses to plan and doesn't want to be restricted to specific campsites each night you should backpack in the National Forest (no permit required) rather than the National Park.

Often people just wing-it (I've done this) and choose a random place on the map, then walk into that location. This can be fine in some occasions. However, you are increasing your risk of having a safe experience in the backcountry. A hiker can get caught in rapidly changing weather (even in summer). Additionally, terrain may be outside of your comfort zone and/or fitness level.

Don't forget about water sources! Seasonal water sources might be dry, especially in the high country. And on the converse you don't want to carry in large amounts of water when you have easy sources along the whole route. So do your pre-research.

overnight hiking guide
Overnight Hiking Guide for Olympic National Park