Choose Your Pace: Hiking in the Olympic Mountains & Mount Rainier

Learn about the explosive history of Mt. Rainier volcano and study the biodiversity of Olympic National Park’s rainforests as you hike through diverse natural settings in Washington.
Rating (4.13)
Program No. 23289RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

The splendor of nature beckons you to Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, a vast and pristine area of rainforests, mountains and rivers. Experience the crash of Pacific surf at Ruby Beach, stroll a fragrant trail along Lake Crescent and marvel at the greenest place you’ll ever see: the Hoh Rainforest. Study the ecology of this biodiverse ecosystem as you hike through old-growth forests and along deep blue mountain lakes with experienced local naturalists. Then we'll visit the iconic Mount Rainier National Park.This bubbling stratovolcano now lies dormant, but its activity is closely monitored. Trace over 500,000 years of geological history of one of the U.S.’s highest peaks as you hike through the dense forests and flower-filled meadows along the volcano’s foothills. Choose your desired pace and distance each day as you accompany naturalists on hikes through rain forests, cedar forests and canyons to waterfalls, glacial lakes and more.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Choose Your Pace
Each day, choose from two to three hiking options based on your desired level of challenge and pace, ranging from 3-8 miles on maintained trails, varied terrain. Elevations from sea level to 7,100 feet – individual hikes have gains up to 1,800 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • From your home base at two beautiful National Park lodges, set out on daily hikes through places as diverse as the lush Hoh Rain Forest and the rocky Box Canyon.
  • Talk with park rangers in Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks to learn about natural history, ecological issues and more.
  • Meet a native cultural interpreter to discuss native history in the area, including land rights, fishing and cultural practices.
Featured Expert
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Jenny Thomson
Jenny is a professor of geology at Eastern Washington University and teaches introductory geology, Earth materials, crystallography and optical mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geologic hazards and volcanology. She has taught college field courses at a variety of Pacific Northwest locations, including the North Cascades, Lewis and Clark Trail, Oregon Coast, Klamath Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Olympic Peninsula, Snake River Plain, Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone National Park, and Crater Lake and Newberry Volcano. She has led Road Scholar groups since 2016.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Mark Darrach
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Jenny Thomson
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Suggested Reading List
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