Olympic National Park is located in the U.S. state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The park can be divided into four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 and after Congress voted to authorize a re-designation to National Park status, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation in 1938.
In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness. The beach has unbroken stretches of wilderness ranging from 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km). While some beaches are primarily sand, others are covered with heavy rock and very large boulders. Bushy overgrowth, slippery footing, tides and misty rain forest weather all hinder foot travel. (Times to hike should typically be doubled.) The coastal strip is more readily accessible than the interior of the Olympics; due to the difficult terrain, very few backpackers venture beyond casual day-hiking distances.