The Evergreen Playground

Transportation - The Olympic Loop Highway


The Olympic Loop Highway (currently Highway 101) was completed in 1931 at a cost of $10,000,000. About 6,000 people participated in the two-day gala opening. This highway system opened up the peninsula to tourism and the increasingly ubiquitous automobile. The National Park, with its majestic mountains, vast glaciers, and wilderness trails lured hikers and climbers. Mountain rivers, pristine lakes, diverse wildlife, and old growth forests offered unlimited opportunities for fishermen, naturalists, and photographers.

"Surrounding a great mountain range, the Olympic Highway Loop forms a circle tour of unusual interest and scenic attractions... Along Hood Canal, through the Olympic National Forest, around historic Discovery Bay, past Lake Sutherland and Lake Crescent, down the seacoast to Lake Quinault and the Grays Harbor ocean beaches; then through the harbor cities and on to the state capitol at Olympia, the trip around the Olympic Highway Loop is an outstanding Pacific Coast motor tour."

- Olympic Peninsula post card booklet, C.P. Johnston Co., Seattle, Washington, ca. 1930s

Olympic National Park loop tours abounded throughout the Olympic Peninsula, and they all advertised scenic wonders never before accessible to the casual visitor:

"Encompassing the last forest wilderness of the United States, preserved for posterity in the recently formed Olympic National Park, the Olympic Peninsula is a wonderland of scenic attraction and vacation adventure supreme. A land of glaciers, ice fields, perpetually snow-capped mountains, giant trees, hundreds of species of wild flowers, twenty of which are found nowhere else in the world; mountain lakes, meandering streams and picturesque ocean beaches, the peninsula is encircled by the broad, smooth Olympic Loop Highway."

- Olympus 21 July 1940 "The Olympic Peninsula, America’s Last Frontier."

The Olympic Loop Highway tour became a national tourist destination.


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The Community Museum is a project of community organizations and Tribes across the Olympic Peninsula and the University of Washington.
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