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Old 01-24-2005, 11:11 AM   #1
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Plan to visit Olympic NP in early June. Looking at the map, looks like Port Angeles might be a good central location - which would give us easy access to the ferry for Victoria as well?? Any suggestions for how to "attack" this great big park? Good places to stay, eat, visit, etc. I'm assuming we'll need to make reservations early - how early? We're in a 27' fiver.
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:11 AM   #2
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Plan to visit Olympic NP in early June. Looking at the map, looks like Port Angeles might be a good central location - which would give us easy access to the ferry for Victoria as well?? Any suggestions for how to "attack" this great big park? Good places to stay, eat, visit, etc. I'm assuming we'll need to make reservations early - how early? We're in a 27' fiver.
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Old 01-25-2005, 04:34 AM   #3
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We were out there about 5 years ago and really enjoyed Olympic NP. We stayed in the park at two different campgrounds. One was connected to a resort in the park and had partial hook-ups and these lovely hot spring tubs where you could pay a fee and sit in the mineral waters. It was great. There was a national campground next door but I think it had some size restrictions and no hookups.
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:27 AM   #4
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Olympic Nat'l Park is a great place. But, it's big and you travel around the park rather than through it. I've found 3 key areas in Olympic - Sol Duc, Hurricane Ridge, and Hoh.

If you drive the road to Hurricane Ridge you'll leave Port Angeles and climb the road up to the visitor's center at Hurricane Ridge. There are great views of Mount Olympus, glaciers, etc. If you are there in late July you'll see tons of wildflowers in the valleys up there.

If you drive west from Port Angeles you will go through Crescent Lake to the Sol Duc Hot Springs area. The hot springs aren't that much to look at but if you take the hiking trail back to Sol Duc Falls you'll be impressed. Also, Marymere Falls is right off of Crescent Lake by the lodge there.

If you keep on going west you can drive out to Cape Flattery and Neah Bay, the most northwestest point in the continental US. Haven't been there yet, but will the next trip. From what I hear it's a very impressive rocky coastline area.

If you continue south past Forks you'll get to enter the park from the west and drive into the Hoh Rain Forest. This is a temperate rain forest and there are lots of hiking trails back there that will show you a whole different world.

Continue down the coast to the Kalaloch area. South of Kalaloch are lots of tidal pools, eagles, etc. It's also close to Lake Quinault. The Lake Quinault Lodge operates a campground right on the lake. However, we stayed at a US Forest Service campground called South Beach, which lets you park for $8.00 right on the coast. There are no hookups but there are flushable toilet rooms there, which include sinks. There are no marked sites but the whole area is terraced and you just park where you want and overlook the ocean. You can easily hike on the beach.

We haven't stayed at Port Angeles. I agree that it's a central location for the park but we like the ambiance of Port Townsend instead. It's less than a 1 hour drive from Port Angeles and we stay at Fort Worden State Park. Fort Worden is an old coastal artillery defense fort that was used to protect Seattle from any invading ships. The army abandoned it sometime after WWII and It's now a state park. You can camp right on the beach and explore all of the old gunnery emplacements and batteries. You may have seen it if you watched "An Officer and a Gentlemen" because that movie was filmed there. Plus Port Townsend is a great little place, with excellent restaurants and Victorian architecture that makes it a destination in itself. As you drive towards Port Angeles you will pass nearby Sequim. Sequim has the Dungeness Spit, which extends out into the Straits of San Juan. It's an interesting hike out to the lighthouse and Dungeness Bay is a protected wildlife area and hatchery for shore birds and sea lions. Also, the Olympic Game Farm is located at Sequim. That's the former Lloyd Bebee ranch, where Walt Disney shot many of his wildlife films and the Grizzly Adams series was filmed. It's a drive through game park and you get to feed bear, elk, yaks, bison, etc all from your car window. They all come up to your car except for the bears, who are about 6' away behind a fence so you have to toss them their bread.

Our typical itinerary is to stay at Fort Worden for a number of days and then cover the north end of the park. Then, head south to South Beach and cover the west side. There are other spots around as well, but we haven't stayed at them before so can't vouch for their suitability.
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Old 01-25-2005, 02:16 PM   #5
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Cruzer or Lynnvt - did you take the ferry over to Victoria? Does it make sense to take your vehicle over there or just go as a passenger? Lynnvt - it sounds like you stayed at Sol Duc Resort. I was able to look at their website and it sounds really nice. My only concern is that it puts me 12 miles from the main road in terms of driving to other locations. I like to do photography, so I usually get up long before daylight and head out for a shooting location - then drive back to pick up my wife for a day of touristy stuff. It really looks like there is LOTS of things to do and see on the Peninsula.
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Old 01-25-2005, 03:48 PM   #6
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If you are just going to Victoria, you can save a lot of money by leaving your car in WA. You can walk around Victoria or they have horse drawn carriage tours of the city.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:51 PM   #7
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If you are planning this trip before about the 15th of July count on rain; after the 15th of July plan on rain.
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:26 AM   #8
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I haven't taken the ferry to Victoria but I've taken them from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands and I've crossed from Keystone to Port Townsend a few times. The Keystone run isn't bad but the San Juan Islands run is crowded. You'll wait a long time in line to drive on that ferry so we just leave our Jeep at the lot and do a walk on, then rent a car on the islands. If Victoria is a crowded ferry I'd do the walk-on thing. Personally, we always skip Victoria because there's too much too see in Washington. Maybe someday. However, if you are into photography, you may want to shoot Buchart Gardens in Victoria.

We've always been there the last half of June. We really don't see all that much rain, but that's going to depend upon where you are. Port Townsend and Sequim are in the rain shadow so the don't see that much rain. The west coast, on the other hand, sees plenty of rain, but it was always clear when we were there. Be prepared for rain, but don't necessarily count on it.

If you are into photography you'll find plenty of stuff to shoot. Unlike places like Moab, Utah, where the mid-day sun is a washout, the Olympic Penninsula generally has good photo ops all day long. Port Townsend's Victorian architecture is very picturesque and if you stay at Fort Worden you'll be right on the beach where you can get some great sunsets and images of the coastal batteries as the light plays through them. The animals at Olympic Game Farm are very photogenic and the Dungeness Spit is good if it's not too hazy. Hurricane Ridge you'll need to watch the cloud cover for. It is up in the clouds so you'll need a clear day or else you won't see anything up there. Later in the afternoon works best as it takes awhile to burn off the clouds. The Hoh Rain Forest is decent mid-day due to the thick foliage cover while the tidal pools south of Kalaloch are best left for evenings (great sunsets over the ocean if it's clear). The Sol Duc area can be taken anytime and the falls are in dense tree cover so early morning mist might not be the best for shooting. I'd do nearby Lake Crescent earlier in the day, then go to Sol Duc Falls later.

Good shooting.
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:38 AM   #9
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We did take the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. And it was very expensive. I think about $100 one way for a 30' class A. However we were coming from Vancouver. We really didn't spend much time in the city. We walked around a bit while we waited for the ferry.
In ONP the resort that had the campground attached was at Sol Duc and we also stayed at another small campground near Hoh.
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:56 AM   #10
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Thanks one and all. Cruzer - thanks for the photo-op info, that's very useful. Sounds like we better pull out the rain gear!!
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Old 01-27-2005, 07:07 AM   #11
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I grew up on the south end of the area and we used to have a local saying that summer started on the fourth of July. Until then you will have a lot of nice weather but can also have some cold rain. It actually rains very little in the summer. As you will learn at the rain forest visitor's center, the lack of summer rain is what makes the evergreens the dominant trees. There is too little rain for the summer growing period of deciduous trees. But by all means go prepared for some. Also expect some of the coastal fog common to all of the pacific coast.

The road up to Hurricane Ridge is quite a climb so do it without your trailer. Do it on a clear day if possible so you can enjoy the view of the Bailey Range. Of course, for some good tidal pool shots, check the tide charts for a low one. I lived at Neah Bay back in 1955 when there was a little USAF station. The Makah tribe has an intersting museum and were famous a few years ago for killing a whlale to celebrate their traditions. Cape flattery has spectacular cliffs and there is now a viewing platform looking down on the waves. There is also a view of Tatoosh Island with it's light house. Rain or fog are indeed possible here. The trip out there is fine if you have plenty of time but I wouldn't short the other areas to do it. Enjoy. Bill

On rereading your post I see you are going in early June, so Yep, go prepared for so blustery days.
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:07 PM   #12
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Moby Bill - Thanks for the info/insight. I wish we could go later in the summer, but, alas, other plans and obligations....... The Northwood (manufacturer of our trailer) Owners Association is sponsoring a "Gathering" in LaGrande, OR. June 16-19 - and we have group of folks that we traditionally go "camping" with each year here in Colorado, and this years junket is June 24th. AAAHHH the complications of being retired
So I guess we'll just plan on some wet weather and take what comes.
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Old 01-30-2005, 02:05 PM   #13
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It's amazing just how few actual Washingtonians have answered thos request.. Well, I'm here now ,so here goes..I highly agree with the comments about Port Townsend as it is a great little town to visit.. It's got great history,beautiful old homes and the food and music are wonderful. We have stayed at Fort Worden when we're doing things there(gotta have reservations thru the park office) especially if it's a Centrum production.Otherwise,we stay at Point Hudson Marina and RV Park,which is at the end of the main street and the beach front sites are AWESOME!!! It has a good chinese rest and also a breakfast and lunch place.. It has the hdqs. of the Wooden Boat Society at the Marina end.Coupla days there.
Next,I would advise staying at the P.A. KOA as it's not too bad and you can easily get back to Sequim for all the things there. Also you can walk to one of the best wineries in the area.P.A. is the entrance to Hurricane Ridge(don't miss),Victoria,B.C. (don't miss) Take the fast boat over and the ferry back. I guarantee that you'll be pooped when you get back and if you're up to it,stay somewhere there for a night.After that you'll want to take the car to Lake Elwah,Crescent Lake and the Sol Duc Hot Springs. That's another day.From there,I would pull out the Neah Bay for a nite or two and see Cape Flattery(walking out) and the Museum.After that pull(that's move) down to Forks and then to Kalaloch N.P.(no hook-ups and you can reserve)You'll want to do some side trips up to the Hoh Rain Forest and spend some time there doing a couple of short hikes.The last time I was there we hiked40 miles and still didn't make it to the summit of Mt. Olympus.. Bummer.... From there you're headed down to Lake Quinalt,Aberdeen and the ocean beaches or back around towards Olympia..
There that's a good couple of weeks...
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:51 PM   #14
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Thanks to all for the info - I'll print this off and use it as a guide for the trip. BigDog, thanks for all the local info - and - has it been your experience that you need reservations at each place you mentioned? Do we need to setup an itinerary before we leave home - with reservations at each location? I think I mentioned earlier we will be there in early June.
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