Olympic National Park’s Staircase and Elwha Regions See Huge Increases in Visitors

Through the first five months of 2015, Olympic National Park visitation is up 3.6%, with 737,085 people exploring the Northwestern-most National Park in the contiguous United States. Olympic has already more than likely seen it’s millionth visitor of the year, as the park draws nearly 400,000 people during the month of June. The increase in attendance is up for most regions around the nearly one million acres of Olympic, with two areas seeing a boom of visitors- The Staircase Region near Hoodsport and Lake Cushman and the Elwha Region.  

In May of 2015, the Elwha Region has seen a 113% increase in tourism over May of 2014, largely due to two new overlook trails opened near the old dam sites along the now free Elwha River, as well as the reopening of the Olympic Hot Springs area. What is interesting about May’s attendance numbers is that the Whiskey Bend Road is washed-out, restricting access to Goblins Gate, as well as Humes and Michael’s Cabin.

In the often forgotten southeast corner of Olympic National Park, the Staircase region has seen an increase in tourism nearly every month of 2015, continuing its steady upward trend from 2014. Through the first five months of 2015, Staircase has seen 26,738 visitors, up from 17,103 through May of 2014. The month of May had 10,889 visitors, an increase of  4,509 visitors, or 70%. SO far in 2015, Staircase has been known to fill up on sunny weekend days, leaving some visitors waiting at the gates for up to 45 minutes before a parking space is available. Obviously, the amazing trails in the region are reason enough to make the drive out to the Hood Canal and visit this majestic wilderness area.

Breakdown of Visitation, May 2015 in Olympic

Visitation Numbers for May of 2015 in Olympic National Park via NPS
Visitation Numbers for May of 2015 in Olympic National Park via NPS

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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