Spotting Nature’s Wonders: A Guide to Wildlife Viewing in Olympic National Park

Domaine Madeleine

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What are the best places to see wildlife at Olympic National Park?

Top 10 Wildlife Encounters: A Journey through Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park and Port Angeles offer a wonderland for nature lovers, where majestic mountains meet lush rainforests and rugged coastlines teem with diverse wildlife. Whether you’re an avid birder, a curious mammal enthusiast, or simply seeking a glimpse of nature’s wonders, this region promises unforgettable encounters. Get ready to grab your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on a journey through these top 10 wildlife hotspots:

1. Hurricane Ridge: Soar above the clouds at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and witness a breathtaking panorama of mountains and valleys. Keep your eyes peeled for elk grazing in meadows, black bears lumbering through forests, and marmots sunning themselves on rocks.

2. Rialto Beach: Witness the dramatic power of the Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach. While searching for tide pools teeming with sea stars and anemones, you might also spot playful harbor seals basking on rocks or majestic bald eagles soaring overhead.

3. Ediz Hook: This sandy spit is a haven for birdwatchers. Stroll along the beach and scan the skies for migrating shorebirds like sandpipers, plovers, and even the occasional bald eagle. You might even spot harbor seals and sea lions basking in the sun.

4. Elwha River: Hike alongside the Elwha River and witness the incredible salmon runs, especially during the fall months. Observe these powerful fish leaping upstream, battling against the current in their journey to spawn. Keep an eye out for otters and bald eagles feasting on the bounty.

5. Dungeness Spit: Explore this unique sand spit, the longest in North America, and discover a diverse ecosystem. Watch sea lions frolic in the water, marvel at migrating whales breaching in the distance, and scan the skies for soaring birds like osprey and peregrine falcons.

6. Discovery Bay: Embark on a kayak tour in Discovery Bay and immerse yourself in a world of marine life. Witness playful harbor porpoises, graceful sea otters, and perhaps even a glimpse of majestic orcas breaching the water’s surface.

7. Crescent Lake: Paddle across the crystal-clear waters of Crescent Lake and keep your eyes peeled for fish jumping and bald eagles soaring overhead. Hike through the surrounding forests and listen for the calls of woodpeckers, owls, and other woodland creatures.

8. Marymere Falls: Follow the scenic trail to Marymere Falls and witness the cascading waters plunging into a moss-covered pool. Look for resident black-tailed deer grazing in meadows or families of raccoons playing near the water’s edge.

9. Madison Falls: Take a short, paved trail to the picturesque Madison Falls and admire its cascading beauty. Listen for the calls of frogs and salamanders in the surrounding wetlands, and keep an eye out for butterflies flitting through the undergrowth.

10. Domaine Madeleine Boutique Hotel: While not strictly a wildlife hotspot, Domaine Madeleine offers a unique opportunity to spot resident bald eagles in the trees overlooking the gardens or soaring over the Strait of Juan de Fuca from your private balcony or while indulging in a delicious breakfast on the terrace. Guests have even spotted whales in the waters below the bluff. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty surrounding the hotel and enjoy the occasional glimpse of local wildlife.

Bonus Tip: Respect wildlife viewing etiquette. Maintain a safe distance, avoid disturbing animals, and leave no trace on your adventures.

So, pack your camera, grab your sense of adventure, and prepare to be amazed by the diverse wildlife of Olympic National Park and Port Angeles. With these top 10 spots, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable encounter with nature’s wonders. Remember, wildlife viewing is a privilege, so be respectful and responsible, and let nature’s beauty leave you breathless.


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Luxury, comfort and natural beauty are just some of the perks you’ll enjoy when you stay with us. No matter what you’re into: adventure, pet-friendly, relaxation, romance—we’ve got you covered. Check out our luxurious rooms, comfy amenities and gorgeous views, and see for yourself why we’re named “most romantic hotel on the West Coast” by pretty much everyone.

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Our experience is built around guests. We believe you should have what you need when you need it without having to ask for it. In short, our experience is contactless, detail-oriented self-service, with everything you want at your fingertips without having to find–or wait for–staff to assist you

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We’ve put together these day trip itineraries to help you get the most out of your visit. The Olympic Peninsula is one of the few places on earth where you can visit 3 major biomes – alpine tundra, temperate rainforest, and coastal beach – all in a single day. We’ll show you how.