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Old 09-22-2021, 08:37 PM   #1
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Olympic NP advice, please.

We will be staying on the Washington state coast for a week in a couple of weeks, in the Ocean Shores area. Although we visited Olympic National Park several years ago, our travels then took us into the park from the northeast side, Hurricane Ridge, etc. Now we may get to try to visit from the other side!

Anyway, looks like we could fairly easily access the park through these entrance stations:

- Staircase
- Hoh
- Sol Duc

We aren’t looking to camp, could do some short hikes, but mainly want to sightsee from our car, hopefully from paved roads during day trips. So wondering if you have any tips, suggestions, etc.

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Old 09-22-2021, 09:36 PM   #2
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Highway 101 is the loop that circles the Olympic Peninsula. Starting at Astoria Oregon there is a lot to see there including the WW II costal batteries and several Lewis and Clark sites. Crossing into Washington on the Megler Bridge, Cape Disappointment, Illwaco and Long Beach are interesting. Continuing north is logging country as that area grows big trees. Westport is a big fishing/crabbing/cranberry center. Westport Winery is a great stop, good wines, restaurant and a mermaid museum! Grays Harbor (Aberdeen/Hoquium) is the last bigger city area before heading north on 101. Ocean Shores is right on the north entrance to Grays Harbor (Westport is on the south entrance) but not much there to see. Further north on 101 you have to leave the coast until Queets and the Lodge/campground at Kalaloch. We have stayed at Kalaloch several times but it is an old NP Service campground with no hookups. The Lodge has cabins and rooms in the Lodge. Lots of good beaches and beach trails there. Continuing north the Hoh River is a side road going east several miles terminating at the Hoh Campground and Rain Forest Center. Good trails through the rain forest there or you can go deeper into the park. Be prepared for wet weather as it gets over 200" of rain a year. Back out on 101 Forks is the next town. Another logging town, it was made famous by the Twilight show and is still cashing in on that. You can drive back out the to coast at La Push with some beach trails. Further up 101 on a side road, Neah Bay is the furthest west point of the State but not a real tourist stop. Sol Duc Hot Springs road will take you way up the river to the Hot Springs Lodge and several hiking places but again be ready to get wet. Back out on 101 Lake Cresent is very pretty with hiking spots. Port Angles is the entrance to Hurricane Ridge which has spectacular views on a clear day. Further down 101 is the Hood Canal area, Lake Cushman and finally 101 ends back in the State Capital of Olympia.

Out on the peninsula there isn't much in the way of big cities but it is pretty country with lots of places to stop and hike. You said you are not camping, just a word of caution campgrounds get a lot of use and may or may not be reservable. We have camped at Kalaloch in the winter and drove to Forks to refill water as they had it shut off for the winter.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:03 PM   #3
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Don't miss the Hoh Rain Forest. Yes, it can be wet. There is an easy loop walk at the end ofcthe road that takes you through some very scenic moss covered trees.

As mentioned, a trip to the upper left corner is fun and scenic. If you do get around to the north side and like some hiking, a trip out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse will occupy most of a day. It is about five miles each way along the beach. We were keepers out there for a week about ten years ago.

A driving adventure outside Sequim is the Olympuc Game Farm, which you can drive through. We did that years ago in a 24 foot class C. It was started with animals that had been used in movies and commercials like the Gentle Ben and the black cat in one of the Ford commercials (I might be dating myself here).
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:03 AM   #4
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Great info from both of you Ö. Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2021, 04:02 PM   #5
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We went around the peninsula this summer from north to south (around the west side).

A stop at the Quinault Rain Forest is super easy and pretty quick as the hike through the rain forest isn't very long (I'm remembering about 1 hours if you take your time).

We also enjoyed the Hot Rain Forest; but it was really crowded and it was a 1.5 hour wait to get into the park, so we returned in the early evening and got right in and hikes (walked) around. Very pretty and highly recommended. I'd guess you should plan on 2 hours there.

We pass on Sol Due and the Indians have the most northwestern point closed (plenty of signs warning you bit it may be open now).

fwiw.... in July we didn't see a drop of rain; I suppose that is pretty unusual.
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