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Old 12-09-2019, 07:41 PM   #1
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Olympic and Cascades National Parks

We are a family of 5, (daughters ages 14,12,and 7) who enjoy hiking, biking, and the occasional tourist thing. Being on or near water is ideal, but not a deal breaker. I like to fly fish, so fishing rivers would be awesome! Our travel trailer is 34' bumper to hitch, and are completely fine with or without hookups.

This summer we will be going on a west coast trip and will be there at the end of July/beginning of August. Among the locations will be a 9-10 nights in Olympic and Cascades Nat'l parks. While talking with a friend he said the park is huge and suggested spitting our time there between 2 campgrounds. What are your thoughts about this, and, do you have any suggestions?

I'm also wondering what you'd suggest for a breakdown for how much time to spend in each park, as well as a route to get from Olympic to Cascades.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:28 PM   #2
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We went last June but only camped at the Hoh river side. It was nice and well worth the stop, nice trails etc, but I wish wed seen more of it. Only had a couple days there.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:23 PM   #3
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Olympic Nat'l Park - we love staying at Port Townsend to tour the Hurricane Ridge side - a must. You can drive to the top and the views are awesome. Very nice hiking. Fort Worden State Park is the place. Get a beach site. The town has lots going on in the summer.

Olympic - west side. There is camping at Salt Creek Rec. Area and at and around Forks. This is where you'll hike in the rain forest. The national park has some campgrounds along with others.

To get to Cascade Nat'l Park on Hwy 20: From Port Townsend take the short ferry to Coupeville. Get off and head north to Hwy 20. You'll miss all the Seattle mess.

If you do want to do a day trip into Seattle you can easily do it while staying in Port Townsend. Drive south to Bainbridge Island (Winslow) then pick up the quick ferry which will let you off at the Seattle Aquarium. It's an easy walk to catch the monorail taking you across town to the World's Fair Space Needle. Go to the top and have lunch. Then return via the monorail to tour Pike's Market for some looking and shopping. Then do a short walk to the ferry for a return trip. Makes for a nice day.
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:37 PM   #4
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In case you are wondering about Victoria, I took the ferry there from Port Angeles took in Victoria and area sights and camped on and explored Vancouver Island for a week or so. It was nice and worth it because of the time I spent there but they charge by the foot on the ferry and it was around $250 each way for 45.
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:51 PM   #5
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On the Olympic Peninsula the must sees are Salt Creek, LaPush Quillyute Campground also is nice, Klaloch Park, Hoh Rain Forest area and all the way south to Ocean Shores. A lot to see and do in all these beautiful Pacific Ocean areas. Even though these areas are in our backyard we never regret going, and always see new things along the way.
Avoid Hwy 112 past Salt Creek. Stay on the 101.
There will likely be construction delays/closures on 101 at Lake Crescent.
Check before you travel, and have fun.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:38 PM   #6
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That's really helpful, thanks. I don't know why, but I hadn't really thought much about heading into Canada for a day. It sounds like splitting my time between 2 campgrounds while in Olympic might be worthwhile. Since I'll be coming from the Mt. Hood/Columbia Gorge area I'm thinking it might make sense to spend some time at Kalaloch Beach Campground, then move to Salt Creek before moving to Newhalem Campground in Cascades (taking ferry to avoid Seattle).

My new questions are...

1) Would those 2 campgrounds in Olympic get us to the big things without doing a ton of driving?

2) I can't get a sense about whether Kalaloch can handle my set up. The trailer is 34' and when hooked up we're at 54'. Is navigating the campground going to be too tight for a set up like mine? There are a few sites that it looks like I'd fit the trailer but I'm unclear if there'd be room to park the truck in front of or on the side it.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:56 PM   #7
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If I had to pick two it would be Kahaloch (or anywhere near the Hoh or Queets rain forest) and Salt Creek. Kahaloch has no hook up, but absolutely beautiful. Salt Creek has full hook ups. Get your reservations in asap, these fill up fast. Our friends pull a 34' bumper pull to Kahaloch and Salt Creek no issues.
Don't overlook Port Townsend and Fort Warden as viable options either. Really, there's so many campgrounds on the OP it's a tough choice.
You'll like Newhalem as well. Make sure to take the Diablo boat tour at Seattle City Light. (I'm retired from there) We just built a new tour boat before I left. Very nice area.
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:07 PM   #8
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Here is a blogger beautiful pictures and write up of the Olympic Nat'l Park area and campgrounds. They had a 40' motorhome and car to give you an idea of fitting into sites.

They have done a terrific report on La Push, WA, Kalaloch, WA and Dungeness Recreation Area at Sequim. One post will lead to another so check at the bottom of each write up for a link to the others.

They also do a wonderful review of places across the U.S. so check at the top line of their site for a link to their reviews by state... or else use their search box.

https://wheelingit.us/?s=olympic+national+park
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:06 PM   #9
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Ocean Shores, Wa and Wallula Gap ( where I sail) are my summer base camps. Also lived in the PNW on and off most of my life. These days I park the MH and tour by car.

What I love about the PNW is the diversity between the semi-arid inland and rain forest coast. No matter what route you take you will not be disappointed.

I take US-12 past Rimrock Lake with a view of Mt Rainier. Avoid Portland at rush hour.

For those who only one day, a late evening ferry between Bremerton and Seattle and back is awesome sunset of both moutain ranges. Keep in mind that the sun set late in the PNW and clouds often ruin the view. If you can catch a full moon rising even better.


The second must see is the ferry to Victoria BC if you have passports.

This year I discovered Lake Quinault Lodge. It is just a few miles off US-101 and worth the time.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flintsters View Post
That's really helpful, thanks. I don't know why, but I hadn't really thought much about heading into Canada for a day. It sounds like splitting my time between 2 campgrounds while in Olympic might be worthwhile. Since I'll be coming from the Mt. Hood/Columbia Gorge area I'm thinking it might make sense to spend some time at Kalaloch Beach Campground, then move to Salt Creek before moving to Newhalem Campground in Cascades (taking ferry to avoid Seattle).

My new questions are...

1) Would those 2 campgrounds in Olympic get us to the big things without doing a ton of driving?

2) I can't get a sense about whether Kalaloch can handle my set up. The trailer is 34' and when hooked up we're at 54'. Is navigating the campground going to be too tight for a set up like mine? There are a few sites that it looks like I'd fit the trailer but I'm unclear if there'd be room to park the truck in front of or on the side it.

When we visited Olympic, we chose to stay only at Salt Creek - but we had decided not to spend a lot of time in the southern section of the Park. I think that the combination of Kalaloch and Salt Creek would work well.

As for whether or not Kalaloch would be too tight for you, you may want to take a look at the photos of the Kalaloch campsites that the team over at CampsitePhotos.com has posted: https://www.campsitephotos.com/campground/wa/kalaloch/. CampsitePhotos.com is one of my most frequently used resources for trip planning. Their pics are often much better and more helpful than what's found on Recreation.gov and ReserveAmerica.

While you're at Olympic, do consider a hike at Rialto Beach to the Hole in the Wall. For safety reasons, be sure to check the tide tables and go at low tide. Wonderful tide pooling opportunities near the Hole!

Have fun planning and enjoy your trip!

Mary
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:44 AM   #11
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The North Cascades National Park is in our backyard. Yes, the boat tour would be awesome. I also recommend unhitching your trailer and driving to across the pass to Winthrop and back. The scenery is outstanding, and Winthrop is a fun town with a Western theme. For day hiking, I recommend the author Craig Romano. He has books for both Olympic and North Cascades areas - he won't steer you wrong. For both parks (and the boat tour) make reservations as soon as possible.
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:24 PM   #12
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When we visited Kalaloch last fall, part was shut down for the winter. The open sites to the right (north) of the entrance station were open, and the dump station. Can't really tell you you can't park a 34 ft trailer in the south section, but pretty tight in the areas we walked. We were able to get a large back-in for "our" 34 footer, and had some room for the Excursion just across the front. Most of the other sites, were shorter, or were "pull-thrus" that were really just wider spots in the roads. Doors or slide would be in or on the road area. Oceanside sites much the same!! Depending on how busy, you should be able to find a good spot, whether or not the tow vehicle can park with the trailer is very much a "cr*p" shoot!!!

None the less, Kalaloch is a fantastic spot for a few days or for a "home" spot to run around the peninsula. Salt Creek is great also, with many good sites, and many "dry" sites if the FHU sites are taken.

Note, north of Kalaloch near the turn off to the Hoh area, there is a very narrow bridge over the Hoh river, that you DON"T want to meet a log truck or semi when on it!!!
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