Olympic National Park is an excellent family destination for nature lovers because of its diverse ecosystem. There are several kid-friendly hikes in Olympic National Park, including magical rainforests, dramatic beaches, stunning waterfalls, and breathtaking vantage points of snow-capped mountains.
The variety you can see in one day makes Olympic National Park unique and one of the best U.S. National Parks. Your family can hike to a waterfall, wander through a lush rainforest, and catch the sunset on the beach, all in a single day.
It is also a kid’s paradise! In addition to hiking, you can fill your Olympic National Park itinerary with fun activities such as swimming in crystal clear glacier-carved lakes, exploring tide pools on the beach, and joining the Junior Ranger program.
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Kid Friendly Hikes in Olympic National Park: Waterfalls
Ah, waterfalls, our family loves chasing waterfalls! There are three easy and kid-friendly hikes to beautiful waterfalls in Olympic National Park – all relatively close in proximity together.
Read next: The Best Waterfalls in Columbia River Gorge
0.2 miles round trip | 5 minutes | Easy
Madison Falls is easily one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park with kids. It takes such little effort that some would call this a roadside waterfall. This trail is such a short hike; within two minutes, you will be standing by the beautiful waterfall.
The leisurely hike is on a paved and wheelchair-accessible trail, about 0.2 miles out and back. After a few yards on the path, it starts to bend around a corner to reveal Madison Falls, a stunning 60 ft. waterfall.
It is also near the gorgeous Elwha River. So, it is worth a little detour if you are going to or from Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent.
1.8 miles round trip | 50 minutes | Easy
Marymere Falls is one of the most popular kid-friendly hikes in Olympic National Park. The 1.8-mile roundtrip hike is an easy trail that takes you through an old-growth forest (be on the lookout for some old trees with gaps for kids to walk through), across bridges, and up natural stairs until you reach the 90 ft. waterfall.
Once you reach Marymere Falls, there are two viewpoints. You can feel the spray from the lower bowl and soak in the views (no pun intended) from the lower viewpoint or ascend to the upper viewpoint to get a higher perspective. Either way, you will get incredible views of the waterfall.
Sol Duc Falls
1.6 miles round trip | 45 minutes | Easy
Sol Duc Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Olympic National Park. It is also one of our favorite hikes in Olympic National Park with kids because the trail is scenic and enjoyable.
The 1.6-mile hike leads you through a towering old-growth forest with a few boardwalks and bridges to cross. You know when you are getting close because you can hear the thunderous sounds of Sol Duc Falls before you even see it.
Alas, when you reach the rustic wooden bridge over the Sol Duc River, you will see a beautiful 50 ft. three-segment waterfall cascading into a deep slot canyon. The waterfall is so close to the trail you will feel the roar of the water and possibly see a rainbow in the mist – just like my photo!
Kid Friendly Hikes in Olympic National Park: The Coastline
Olympic National Park is known for numerous reasons, and one is for its dramatic coastline. There are over 70 miles of coastline in Olympic National Park, with several beaches to explore. You will find beaches with sand or rocks, towering sea stacks, driftwood along the shore, awe-inspiring trees, and incredible tide pools.
Moreover, tide pools are one of the most popular things to do at the Olympic National Park beaches and require low tide. So you should always be prepared with a tide timetable, which you can find on this website.
Some beaches require a hike, while others are merely a few feet from the parking lot. Here are a few of the best kid-friendly hikes along the coastline in Olympia National Park.
1.2 miles round trip | 40 minutes | Easy
Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States. It’s also one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest that I highly recommend adding to your Olympic National Park itinerary.
To get there, you must obtain a Makah Tribe Recreation Permit, which you can receive from various local businesses. The permit is valid for the calendar year. Two of the best places to get one are the Museum of Makah Culture and Research and Makah Mini Mart.
At the Museum of Makah Culture and Research, your family can take the opportunity to learn about the Makah Tribe’s heritage and culture. Otherwise, Makah Mini Mart is the best option because of the early and late operating hours – and you can get some road trip snacks.
The hike to Cape Flattery is an easy 1.2-mile out-and-back trail that is primarily flat with some exposed roots, so small and big feet, watch your step! Then, you will reach several stunning wooden boardwalks that make a fun adventure and lead you to the viewpoint.
The viewpoint is breathtaking, with cliffside views, pine trees along the bluff, rugged sea stacks, sea caves, and excellent wildlife-watching opportunities. If you have binoculars for the kids, bring them! Keep an eye out for bald eagles, puffins, sea lions, and orca whales.
Hole in the Wall
3.3 miles round trip | 1 hour and 15 minutes | Moderate
Rialto Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in Olympic National Park. It has black sand and multi-colored pebbles with bleached driftwood along the shore.
It’s a beautiful beach, but the best time to visit is at low tide to hike the Hole in the Wall. Moreover, you can only hike to the Hole in the Wall during low tide, so you need to plan accordingly.
The Hole in the Wall is a moderately difficult 3.3-mile out-and-back trail because you are walking on wet sand. And if your kids like going into the water as much as mine, the most challenging part will be keeping them out of the ocean and staying on the “trail.”
It’s all part of the fun when hiking with kids, though, right? All joking aside, this is an enjoyable hike in Olympic National Park with kids because they will go tide pooling and do a little rock scrambling.
After a long hike along the shore, you will reach a series of exposed rocks to scramble over to reach the Hole in the Wall. Once you arrive, enjoy walking under the arch, take Instagram-worthy photos, and explore all the tide pools full of amazing sea creatures like starfish and sea anemones.
2.1 miles round trip | 55 minutes | Easy
The trail to Second Beach is one of my favorite kid-friendly hikes in Olympic National Park because it surprised us the most with its adventure. Before this beach, putting our feet in the sand took little effort. So hiking 1-mile through a lush forest to reach one of the prettiest beaches in the Pacific Northwest was a nice change of pace.
Second Beach has sweeping views of a dramatic sandy beach with towering sea stacks. In addition to its beauty, it is known for its tremendous tide pools and spectacular sunsets.
Therefore, the best times to hike to Second Beach are during low tide and sunset (or sunrise if you have kids waking you up early, too). If you are really lucky, you can experience a picturesque low-tide sunset.
1 mile round trip | 20 minutes | Easy
The trail to Ruby Beach is a straightforward 1-mile out-and-back hike on a rocky pathway. Most of the trail descends from the parking lot to the beach. So prepare yourself for the steep incline when you return to the car. Otherwise, it’s an easy hike that you cannot miss because Ruby Beach is beautiful.
Ruby Beach is known as the crown jewel of Olympic National Park (no pun intended) for its gorgeous scenery along the coastline. The beach has massive tree-topped sea stacks like Abbey Island, bleached driftwood, and ruby-like crystals that make the sand reddish.
Enjoy walking the shoreline with kids, letting them discover coves, explore tide pools, and splash in the waves. The beauty and adventure at Ruby Beach are why it’s one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park with kids.
Kalaloch Beach Nature Trail to Tree of Life
0.1 miles round trip | 2 minutes | Easy
Technically, it’s not a hike, but the Tree of Life is one of the coolest things kids can see at Olympic National Park. The Tree of Life is a Sitka Spruce tree perched between two cliffs over an eroding river bed that appears to be suspended in mid-air!
From the Kalaloch Campground parking lot, walk down the steps and turn right. Then, the Tree of Life is just a few feet away.
Kalaloch Beach is only 10 minutes away from Ruby Beach, so adding the Tree of Life to your Olympic National Park itinerary is easy. It’s also a beautiful stretch of beach with soft sand, and the tree is a fascinating phenomenon.
Kid Friendly Hikes in Olympic National Park: Rainforests
Olympic National Park is home to some of the largest temperate rainforests in the country. Two of the most popular rainforests to visit are Hoh Rain Forest and Quinault Rain Forest.
These rainforests feel like a page out of a fantastical storybook. Both are stunning, with over 100 types of moss, ferns, and green canopies of coniferous and deciduous species. Everywhere you look, from the forest floor to the tree canopy, is blanketed in a lush green.
Hall of Mosses
0.8 miles round trip | 25 minutes | Easy
The most popular place in Hoh Rain Forest is the Hall of Mosses. The Hall of Mosses is an easy, one-way, 0.8-mile loop that takes you through the most enchanting forest.
The rainforest is an old-growth forest completely draped in moss. It is absolutely breathtaking. The journey through the rainforest feels more magical than Disney World!
The parking lot for Hoh Rain Forest is limited. So I recommend arriving as early as 8:00 a.m. or sooner. You will beat the crowds and can catch the sunlight peeking through the dense canopy.
Spruce Nature Trail
1.2 miles round trip | 25 minutes | Easy
Often overlooked by the Hall of Mosses, the Spruce Nature Trail is another excellent kid-friendly hike in the Hoh Rain Forest. The Spruce Nature Trail is a 1.2-mile loop through an old and new-growth forest.
The picturesque trail will weave through the forest alongside Taft Creek and the Hoh River. I know it’s hard with kids, but try to stay quiet through the rainforest. If lucky, you can encounter a Roosevelt Elk wandering through the moss-covered trees.
Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail
0.9 miles round trip | 25 minutes | Easy
The Quinault Rain Forest may be less famous than the Hoh Rain Forest, but it has its own beauty and magic. The Quinault Rain Forest is home to some of the most giant trees in the world.
One of the best and easiest trails to experience the temperature rain forest and its giant trees is the Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail (also known as the Rain Forest Interpretive Trail). The trail is an easy 0.9-mile loop that connects to a more extensive trail system.
The trail immediately takes you to an old-growth Douglas-fir, approximately 500 years old. As you continue hiking through the Big Tree Grove, the trail follows Willaby Creek, overlooking Willaby Gorge. Enjoy the serenity of the rainforest with every step as you walk among ancient trees and their lush tree canopy.
Quinault Big Sitka Spruce Tree Trail
0.4 miles round trip | 8 minutes | Easy
The Quinault Rain Forest is known as the Valley of the Rain Forest Giants because it is home to six of the eight giant trees – and of all the giant trees in the rainforest, Quinault has the world’s largest Sitka Spruce tree.
The Sitka Spruce tree is roughly 1,000 years old, standing 191 feet tall with a circumference of 58 feet, 11 inches, and a diameter of 18 feet, 9 inches. Needless to say, this tree is enormous and a sight to see!
The trail to the Sitka Spruce Tree is a short hike to a massive tree! It is a 0.4-mile out-and-back hike on a wide path. The beginning of the trail has a slight decline, but other than that, the trail is mostly flat.
Kid Friendly Hikes in Olympic National Park: Mountains and Lakes
Lastly, the mountains and lake areas are great places to hike in Olympic National Park with kids. A few hikes are at Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent – two of the most notable sights in Olympic National Park, while one hike is a hidden gem near Lake Cushman.
3.4 miles round trip | 1 hour and 50 minutes | Moderate
Visiting Hurricane Ridge is one of the best things to do in Olympic National Park. You can admire panoramic views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountain range and valley just a few steps from the parking lot or hike to more epic views.
The Hurricane Hill trail is the best hike at Hurricane Ridge. Although it is a moderate-level hike, it is quite kid-friendly. It is a 3.2-mile round-trip hike on a wide trail that gradually climbs to an incredible vantage point.
Every step has stunning views, but it is breathtaking once you reach the summit. At the summit of Hurricane Hill, you are rewarded with sweeping 360-degree views of the Olympic Mountains, including Mount Olympus, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island.
2.4 miles round trip | 50 minutes | Easy
Devil’s Punchbowl is a great kid-friendly hike in Olympic National Park, especially if your kids enjoy swimming because it takes you to a picturesque swimming hole in Lake Crescent. The 2.4-mile out-and-back hike is an easy and mostly paved trail.
Most of the hike is along Lake Crescent’s shoreline so that you can enjoy its beauty and tranquility. There is also a short, practically pitch-dark tunnel for a unique experience. Once you arrive at Devil’s Punchbowl, you will find a scenic wooden bridge across a gorgeous swimming hole in shades of blue.
The water can feel ice cold, but swimming in Devil’s Punchbowl on a hot summer day is refreshing. So remember your swimsuit (and life jackets for little ones) on the hike. Otherwise, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Moments in Time
0.8 miles round trip | 12 minutes | Easy
If you are looking for another easy hike or fun things to do at Lake Crescent, then Moments in Time is perfect. The Moments in Time trail is a simple and flat 0.8-mile loop that begins near the historic Lake Crescent Lodge and continues through an old-growth forest adjacent to the shores of the glacier-carved lake.
Given the trail’s name, several signs along the hike tell the story of Lake Crescent’s natural and cultural history. In addition to the trail’s simplicity and serenity, it has beautiful views of the lake, and overall, it’s an enjoyable hike for the entire family.
2.1 miles round trip | 50 minutes | Easy
Staircase Rapids is a hidden gem in Olympic National Park because it’s in an underrated area near Lake Cushman. The trail is short, easy, and peaceful because it is less known than other hikes in the park.
The Staircase Rapids trail is a 2.1-mile loop through a temperate old-growth forest that follows along the North Fork of the Skokomish River. Eventually, you will encounter a picturesque suspension bridge to cross the river and admire the lovely rapids.
I hope you have enjoyed my guide to the best kid-friendly hikes in Olympic National Park. This park is diverse and one of the prettiest destinations in the Pacific Northwest. You and your family are in for a treat. Have a great trip!