a VirtualTourist member from Ann Arbor
We are contemplating a trip to Olympic National Park during the summer. Is it possible to stay in one or at the most two places over the span of 5 days or so and see the areas that we would want to see (the rain forest, beaches, mountains etc.) or is it more advisable to stay only one night in each place and try to complete the entire loop of the park without doubling back and forth and fighting traffic? Also, are the flies/mosquitos a big problem in summer? Thanks Rob from Ann Arbor, MI
I visited Olympic N.P. in August and I didn't think the bugs were bad at all. There were just one or two places on marshy trails near Cape Alava where I saw a concentration of mosquitos. The beaches were pretty much bug-free - I'm sure the wind blows them around. As far the question of "settling in one place" or "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium," a lot depends on what kind of traveller you are. Myself, I like to settle in at a place and get to know it well. "Depth more than breadth." I regret that my travelling partner and I spent only one night at the Lake Crescent Lodge. I thought it was really a great place and I wish we had spent more time there.
Thanks for the information. We really would very much prefer to stay in one place for a few days but one of the people I spoke to yesterday at the Washington State Travel Bureau said that the distances and the traffic make it unrealistic to try to visit all of the areas without moving each day. I would be willing to give up on one area or another if it meant that we could use one or two places as bases to see as much as we could. Besides Lake Crescent, do you have any other suggestions? We'll be travelling with our two kids, who will be 12 and 10 at the time. Thanks again. RD
I spent half a day walking on a beach in this park, I think it was Ruby beach. At low tide, there was loads of sea stars to see, brought back the child in me. A very nice location. I went there quite early, in may, so there was no heavy trafic. For moskitoes, there are simple answers : cover your skin ( long trousers, long sleeves, etc ) and bring some insect repellent, to put on your clothes ( likely cotton, no nylon ). To put it on skin may cause problems, espacially if it have a high percentage of DEET.
"Forks" seems to be a good place to stay - there are several motels there, and it is relatively close to the Hoh River and the official Olympic N.P. visitors center. There's good hiking along the Hoh, and there are antelope herds nearby, but I think you have to be lucky to see them. But then I would also recommend staying out at Neah Bay. That's as far as you can go on the northwest tip of Washington, overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait. I really like the feeling of being "at the end of the road." The tribal museum for the Makah Indian Reservation is very good. And it's worth seeing the lookout point at Cape Flattery. Oh, there's too much to see in the Olympics in just five days - don't try to do too much!
I visited a few years back in July with my girlfriend and had no real probs then with bugs. We stayed in a lovely little hostel Port Townsend (beautifully preserved Victorian-era town) which we found to be a good base to explore the east of the park such as driving to Hurricane Ridge, though a bit of a slog to get out & back to the east of the park in one day. Not too much traffic however, but tiring driving on the windy roads.
Thanks again. We're going to give this one a lot of thought as to how to plan our time. Looks like there's a lot to do over 5 days. Maybe we can extend it a day. Thanks again. Happy New Year. Rob
Hello Rob, I have a couple of questions for you. 1. Is your trip to the Olympics just a part of a larger trip to Washingrton? 2. Have you considered a side trip to Victoria, B.C. for one or two days while your in the area? Here is my 2-cents opinion: Stay in Port Angelas at the Best Western Hotel in town. See Hurricane Ridge and Obstruction Peak. Next, go to Lake Crescent . If time permits, then take a side trip around the park to the western side and visit the Hoh Rain Forest. Then if you still have a day or two left, take the Coho Ferry or the Victoria Express across the Strait of juan de Fuca to Victoria. This is a beatiful city your entire family will enjoy. First thing to do now is go to your favorite book store and get a couple travel books such as Foder's or Frommers on the Pacific Northwest. One more is the lonely planets "Pacific Northwest". Do your homework first and your trip will be so much more fullfilling for all. Good luck
Thanks for your advice. We were thinking travelling for 8 nights with 4 nights in the Olympic area, 2 in Victoria and 2 in Seattle. Our latest plan was to stay 4 nights in Forks which would, we thought, give us time to get out to the northwestern tip (cape Flattery ?) and also see the rain forest, waterfalls and hurricane ridge. We like the idea of staying in one place even if more driving is involved to get to places. Does this sound like it makes any sense? We know that accomodations aren't so great in Forks itself but thought it was a central location. Thanks for your help. Rob Dobrusin
I love the Olympics and when I go there, we normally stay at two places over a week and we don't cover all of the Olympics, but the places work for a great base camp to travel from. Most of the time we spend at is at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. You can either camp there or if you make reservations in advanced, you can get one of their cabins. From there, you can hike to the absolutely gorgeous Sol Duc Falls and soak in the hot springs, too. Driving from there, Hurricane Ridge is a nice day trip as well as Crescent Lake. You can easily spend a whole day at Crescent Lake and the same hold true for Hurricane Ridge. The next place we go to is Forks and get a motel there (we stay at the Forks Motel and it is clean with restaurants a few steps away). You can make a day trip to the La Push area on the coast or anyone of several areas nearby and to the south of Forks. Also, don't miss hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest. This place is a treasure and when we went hiking there (2 different days) we saw elk on both days. The paths in the Hoh Rain Forest, Lake Crescent area, Sol Duc Falls and Hurricane Ridge are all well maintained and are a great adventure. I really need to re-build my Olympic Park pages. ;-)
Don't even consider staying in Forks. This is an area of high timber extraction and in my eyes is UGLY! I live in Washington State and would suggest spending your time in either the High Divide (if you backpack) or the coastal beach area around La Push north. If you want to truly experience some spectacular areas of the Park and get off the beaten path then check out the Lake Ozette area hikes down to the beach and then take the 5-day backpack along the wilderness beach (longest wildernest beach hike in N America - no roads etc). This is a remarkable stretch of beach with sea stacks, huge old growth forest, and wildlife (cougar, bear, coons, whales) galore! E-mail me at [email] for more info. Good luck. Kevin and Tracy