I have been very impressed with the beauty found in the Olympic National Park in Washington state, USA. The park is very diversify with mountains, lakes, rivers, and the Pacific coast line. You can visit it the easy way driving your vehicle from campsites to lookouts or pack your backpack and hike the step terrain for days. Either way this is one of my favorite area to photograph in the Pacific North West.
Make sure to pack a wide variety of lenses and a good tripod. There is great wildlife and landscape opportunities. I normally pack my Canon 7D with my telephoto 100-400mm L series, wide angle 11-16mm f/2.8, macro 70mm f/2.8, my Manfrotto 055 tripod, Speedlite, ND and polarize filters. That way I am ready for everything that the park have to offer.
Here are a few areas you should keep in mind if you are visiting the park.
- Hurricane Ridge. The step road from Port Angeles will lead you right to the top of the mountain ridge. From there you can park your vehicle and walk along the ridge. I highly recomend doing the whole loop during a high visibility day. The view is stunning and you might encounter some wildlife.
- Elwha fall. There is a very nice waterfall just a few minutes from the road. It’s an easy detour on the way to or from Lake Cresent.
- Lake Cresent. This large lake have a few campsites and a lodge to stay at. You can use the lake or hike the various trails found all around the lake. I suggest visiting Marymere fall, just a short walk from the road and hike the step trail to the Pyramid mountain WWII old cabin lookout.
- Sol Duc area. You will find the Sol Duc river and a few hiking trails, hot spring, a campsite and a lodge. Make sure to hit the hot spring early morning and walk the hiking trails where you will find the famous waterfall.
- The Coast. Head west pass Forks. This little town featured in the Twillight movies. You might just find one or two photo opp. You will finally arrive to the coast after a few hours. You can either go North or South. I suggest going South and camp on one of the beaches, Ruby beach or Kalaloch. Either way you should find great pinnacles to photograph during sunsets.