|Subject: Re: Olympic Peninsula Trip - 2005|
I've done a lot of camping and hiking in the area, but not much staying in lodges of B&Bs. I'll leave that to others, but here are some suggestions about sights to see along the way, mostly places you can drive to, but some require a short hike.
First, before you leave check with an REI or similar store and get a guide to Olympic Park. Otherwise, you can get apretty good guide at a Park entrance.
Access to the Olympic Penninsula is either by ferry across Puget Sound and the Hood Canal bridge, or around the south end of Puget Sound through Olympia and Shelton to Hood Canal.
Driving along the north side of the Park: Sequim: Has a nice wild animal park (Olympic Game Farm) and a good seafood restaurant (The Three Crabs). Cheap gas at Costco if you are a member.
Road to Deer Park off 101 between Sequim and Pt Angeles. About 10 miles to Deer Park and Blue Mtn (about 6000 ft), last part is gravel. Very steep - you basically start from sea level. Magnificent views.
Port Angeles: Park Headquarters are here. Take one day off and take the ferry to Victoria BC.
Road to Hurricane Ridge (5200 ft., paved, about 18 mi.) and road to Observation Point (an additional 8 miles, gravel, 6500 ft). This and Deer Park Road are only roads in Park that take you above timberline. Starts at Park Headquarters in Port Angeles. Hurricane Ridge has a lodge and tourist facilities and nice views, but there are better views along the Obstruction Point road. This is a very narrow road that winds along a ridge above timberline to an outlook point only a few miles from Deer Park. Not for the faint hearted. At some points the drop off at the edge of the road is a thousand feet - no guard rails. From Hurricane Ridge there is a nice paved trail with interpretive signs to Hurricane Hill(1.4 miles, about 500 ft elevation gain). From Obstruction Point,it is a short hike to an overview of Grand Valley and Grand Lake. Often snow in July.
Lake Crescent: best views of Lake back to Storm King from near the west end.
Elwha Road - mostly to trailheads.
Sol Duc Road - about 12 miles to the Lodge and Hot Springs. Very rustic cabins. From here, take the 1 mile easy trail in the rain forest to Sol Duc Falls. From the falls it is about an additional 8 miles by trail along Sol Duc River to Sol Duc Park and High Divide. Some of the best views of Mt Olympus in the Park. You can make a loop trip by returning to Sol Duc via Deer Lake, then relax in the Hot Springs.
Coast Roads: Neah Bay Road: Point of Arches and Shi-Shi Beach - most spectacular part of the coastal strip, in my opinion. Unfortunately have to walk the last couple of miles. Either take the road to Makah Indian Reservation, park (pay) and hike south several miles, or take the turn off to Lake Ozette and follow logging roads north (get guidance at the Park Office at Lake Ozette). There is also a 3 mile trail from Lake Ozette to Cape Alava.
Forks-La Push Road. Skip La Push and take road to Mora and Rialto Beach. This is part of the Park and much nicer than La Push, but limited accomodation Just before La Push, take the short trail to Third Beach. Nice trail in rain forest, undeveloped beach.
Hoh River Road: Take road about 20 miles to Visitor Center and Museum - good nature trails, best rain forest in the Park. For the feel of hiking the rain forest, take the Hoh Trail for a couple of miles. It continues along the Hoh River about 10 miles before climbing steeply to Hoh Lake or Mt. Olympus.
101 Highway: Ruby Beach to Quinault. There are about 10 beaches and campsites in this about 15 mile section. Heavy use.
Lake Quinault: Nice lodge. Level day hikes along the Quinault and North Fork Quinault Rivers, but a long way to the high country. Nice place just to rest.
Hood Canal: Roads go up the Skokomish, Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips and Duckabush Rivers to trailheads. Lower Lena Lake on the Hamma Hamma is a nice day trip (about 2 miles, 1500 ft elevation gain). Between Brinnon and Quilcene, watch for the Mt. Walker Road. Drive (or take trail) to the top of the hill (about 2800 ft). Nice views of Puget Sound.
Enjoy your trip, Bruce McAlister