a VirtualTourist member from Atlanta
Will be visiting Olypmic NP for approx 5-6 days, after flying into Seattle. Would like some help in getting an idea of where to plan to spend our time. Would like to get a survey of the park durign our visit. Will only be doing day hikes, no backpacking. Will have a car. Where should we look to stay as our night bases? Thanks for the help!
Hi - we spent about 5 days on the peninsula last fall - great place! As you probably know from any reading you've done so far, it's split up into multiple ecosystems. The alpine section is on the northern coast, and the entrance to Hurricane Ridge is just outside of Port Angeles. Port Townsend, to the east, is a more attractive town but if wanting to conserve time, PA is your better bet. It is also not far from the Elwha section. Hotels/motels in PA are very likely apt to be better equipped and lower in price than the park lodges.
Do Lake Crescent on your way to the rain forest and coastal segments. There is a lovely lodge there, and some nice hike hiking trails.
We stayed in the tiny town of Forks for the Hoh Rain Forest, First, Second and Third beaches, and Rialto. You could also drive up to Ozette from there.
Farther down the coast, you could spring for one night at at the park lodge at Kalaloch, and do Ruby Beach on the way down. This way you could get one nice night on the coast and be close to the beaches in that area.
And then from there, you could spend a night at Quinault. We didn't get that one done so I've no good info for you on that.
We're day hikers too and found much to do! The beaches were our favorite - we could have spent the entire 4-5 days just doing those but the rest of the park is fascinating as well. You will want to watch the tide tables so your time at the coast coincides with some low tides for getting up close with the sea stars!
The fastest way for me to get info to you on hikes, good links and details is to send you to my ONP tips, and I know other members will have good info as well.
[original VT link]
Thank you for the helpful advice. Will chek out the link you posted.
Do you have the website for the park? Can send if needed.
got it.thanks. your web pages were very helpful.
What I would suggest depends a lot on what time of year you plan to visit, and how far in the future you are planning. Places to tend to fill up fast in the peak tourist season, even the state park and national park campgrounds can become booked up.
It also depends a bit on what you would like to do. You mention day hikes, but what about shellfish hunting/digging or other things of that nature? Some of the Native American cultural centers?
As time has gone on, I have attempted to throw together some of my responses to questions about this part of Washington into a VirtualTourist tip. However, the results now exceed the character limits of a VT tip, so it overflows into two.
I spend a lot of time talking about the Peninsula, and only a small amount of time talking about the National Park itself.
However, the results may be worth a read:
[original VT link]
I'm still working on trying to pack everything together into a more coherent discussion.
I know what you mean about exceeding the character limit - I didn't have the space to write it all!
Winkd2, Glenn is a wealth of great info about his Pacific Northwest so stay tuned for the best of insights from him.
The best stuff I have on the Olympic Peninsula is really already in the tip that I gave the URL for, above. Goodfish already has the more popular Olympic National Park and Olympic Peninsula places covered, and my tip covers some of the basics on getting over there, plus some of the lesser known places.
This is the view of the Olympic Mountains from Seattle:
[original VT link]
Despite it being a very popular recreation and tourist area, it still has a lot of wild left in it, and with the variety of activities that are available out there it helps to have a bit better idea of what you would like to see during your visit.
The state of Washington today enacted a state parks pass and day use fee. This caught me a bit by surprise as I hadn't run into any discussion of it until now, but then again I live across the border in Oregon.
Basically, for some 120 state parks, they now require a10 day use fee, or a30 annual fee good for any of the state parks.
While obviously your main attraction is Olympic National Park, there are several adjoining state parks that may be of interest to you, and it you do decide to visit them this new day use fee is something to be aware of.