We took a weekend getaway a few months ago now as a refresher. It was much needed to reconnect, relax, and recharge. Olympic National Park is HUGE! It’s about a million acres and with a giant glacier in the middle – you need to access the park from multiple points along the outside, which we found out when we got there (it was an impromptu trip). But we had a blast and plan on going back to do what we couldn’t fit into the weekend. What we did see: glacial lake, rainforest, and waterfalls.
We started out in Port Angeles which sits on the Strait of Juan de Fuca across from Vancouver Island. From there we went to the first entrance on our route to the west at Elwha. There wasn’t much to see there except for Madison Falls – which is a short walk from a parking lot. From there we drove to Lake Crescent. This gorgeous lake is a beautiful blue and crystal clear up close. Photos don’t capture the beauty but take a look:
Then we drove to the most Northwestern point in the contiguous United States – Cape Flattery. It is on the Makah Reservation so be sure to pick up a recreation parking pass. The hike is about 30 minutes through a forest and out onto this view:
The main viewing deck was occupied by some loud birdwatchers that to be honest were a bit annoying and ruined what could have been a peaceful moment looking out on the Pacific. They were also yelling “whale” anytime they saw a swell in the ocean. To be honest: there are whales out there, and we saw one on our drive to Cape Flattery (!!) so look carefully you may see some too.
From there we drove to Forks. Yes, the home of Twilight. I will do another post on Forks because well it’s necessary. But it’s the largest town in the area with lodging besides option in the park. It is also close to a few beaches. We drove to La Push and ate dinner at a new restaurant that is still working out some service kinks (mainly speed and managing busy times), but all in all it was a good restaurant which of course I can’t remember the name of now. They get fish right from the marina next door and I thought it was pretty good.
Most of the beaches in Washington are rocky and Rialto Beach is no different. It also has a ton of driftwood. You can walk out to these rocks, but wear the right shoes.
The next day we drove to Hoh Rainforest and hiked the Hall of Mosses. It was INCREDIBLE. I would love to go back when it’s been a bit more rainy so it’s greener, but so cool. I loved the nursing logs – new trees grow on top of fallen trees, when those now logs detioriate the trees root system looks like this:
Finally we went to Ruby Beach. It was foggy…but pretty.
It was a great trip. There are a few places we didn’t go an plan to return to, including Sol Duc Hot Springs and the Quinault Rain Forest. It’s such a big park that it’s impossible to do it all in one weekend. The hikes we did were really easy but I know James wants to go back to do some more intense hikes, when he does that I’ll be at the hot springs.
Anyone else been to Olympic National Park? What are your favorite spots?