Olympic NP - Too Much in 2 Days?

Apr 13th, 2013, 12:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Olympic NP - Too Much in 2 Days?

Planning first trip to Pacific NW for DH and me. DH has July conference Mon-Wed in downtown Seattle, then we have Thurs-Sat to go off and explore. Our flight departs SeaTac at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, so we can spend Thursday and Friday night out of town and still make it back for our flight (I hope.)

After much research I have settled on Olympic NP. While it seems like lots of driving, I am really bent on visiting the Hoh Rainforest in addition to the Northern section of the park. I can get a room at Lake Crescent Lodge on Thursday (but not Friday), and so was thinking we could explore the Lake Crescent area Thursday, then drive down to either Lake Quinault Lodge or Kakaloch Lodge to spend Friday night before heading back to the airport Saturday morning.

Is this too much? Should I focus on one area or the other? It looks like the only way to see the sights is from behind the wheel of a car but given our tight time frame I'm worried I'm overdoing it.

(I've also considered driving back to Port Angeles to stay at a B&B on Friday night after we check out of Lake Crescent Lodge, but that doesn't really grab me.)
givings is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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We did 3 nights @ Olympic this past year. My favorite Parts were. Hiking Hole In Wall/Rialto Beach area(go at low tide to see the tidepools), Hoh Rain Forest, Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Falls.

We spent one night @ Kalaloch, one night @ Sol Duc, and one night at Lake Crescent. We did eat a meal at Quinault.
We also saw Marymere and Madison Falls. While they were nice, Sol Duc Falls was much more impressive, IMOP. I enjoyed the soak at the hot springs @ Sol Duc, my wife thought they were dirty and rather crowded. There is a lot to do on the lakes, if you like to boat, fish, etc. We didn't do any of that.

Personally, I would stay one night @ Sol Duc and one night @ Kalaloch. I always try to hike the "best" hikes when we visit a National Park. It seems that the better ones in Olympic are only 1-3 miles, so they are all easy and not very taxing on a person.

My favorite meals in Seattle were Top Pot Doughnuts, Cafe Vivace(for coffee), Salumi(get there early in line), Dahlia Bakery. My very favorite meal was oddly enough at the airport at Anthony's. My daughter had Halibut with a peach sauce/salsa and I think is the best fish dish I've ever had.

Here is a link to my trip an photos. This was the last week of July 2012. Really enjoyed Seattle, Olympic, Rainier, and San Juan Islands.

spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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spirobulldog, I had actually eliminated Sol Duc early on and I can't remember why. Probably because the cabins look kind of expensive for what they are... Interesting that you "enjoyed the soak" and your wife thought they were dirty and crowded. I was immediately struck in a negative way at the thought of hanging out in the hot springs area. DH, on the other hand, keeps asking if we can go there. Must be a guy thing?

Okay, just looked at your photos. Great pictures! Pretty much confirmed what I thought -- Sol Duc is not for me. Definitely want to do the rainforest, though, and Lake Quinault looks gorgeous. Why did you prefer Kalaloch over that? Were the rooms nicer?

Thanks for the Seattle tips. I haven't started planning that portion of my trip but will definitely look at your recommendations. (Funny about your excellent meal at the airport, but I am making a mental note!)
givings is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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givings, Anthony's is a local chain with restaurants on the Seattle waterfront and in Edmonds, Ballard, Kirkland, and Everett as well as the airport.
Bobmrg is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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Days are pretty long in July, so could your husband bail in the afternoon or early evening Wednesday, so that you could get to the Peninsula that night? If he was available, say, at 5 PM you could take the Bainbridge ferry, have a meal on Bainbridge or even wait until Port Angeles, and spend the night out on the Peninsula. That way you could rocket out of PA early in the day and make it out to Hoh by mid- to late morning (It's around 2 hours from PA.) Visit the Hoh forest, then back to 101 and visit the beaches at La Push (Rialto for example) and be back at Crescent Lake by dinnertime.

The next day, explore the Lake Crescent area, Hurricane Ridge, maybe the Dungeness Spit, and overnight either back in PA or head back to Seattle. Frankly I'd suggest the latter, so you can avoid departure-day traffic and ferry backups. This is because I wouldn't try to get from Kalaloch or Quinault to the airport in time to return a car, check in and make a 3:30 PM flight on a Saturday in the summer. Way too many things that can go wrong, plus the drive back to Seattle from Quinault or Kalaloch (assuming around "the bottom" of the peninsula) is really quite boring.
Gardyloo is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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I also find the drive to Seattle from Quinault or Kalaloch to be quite boring.

With your time restraints, I would spend Thursday at Lake Crescent and Friday in Port Angeles. We like the rooms at the Red Lion Inn with a balcony overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

From Crescent Lake I would take the short hike to Marymere Falls and then visit the Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, and Rialto Beach. Also, if you like waterfalls, at Sol Duc there is an easy hike to Sol Duc Falls.

I don't see a problem driving from Port Angeles to SeaTac in time for a 3:30 p.m. flight on Saturday. The most direct route (through Tacoma) is 130 miles and it takes about 2 1/2 hours.

However, for a much more scenic drive we like to go down Highway 101 following this route: Quilcine, Hoodsport, Skokomish, Union (106), Belfair (3), Gig Harbor (16), Narrows Bridge, Tacoma, SeaTac. This drive takes about 3 1/2 hours.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 05:09 PM
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Thank you for your suggestions. This is exactly the kind of advice I am looking for.

Gardyloo, I hear you on getting DH out of his conference early (I wish!), but I can't count on it and need to make plans today. So we will leave early Thursday and make the best of our 2 days.

At this point I think I will stick with the Northern route and do Lake Crescent Lodge on Thursday, and Port A on Friday.

happytrails, I appreciate the routing instructions to the airport. I will use them.
givings is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 06:33 PM
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Well, the whole place is pretty neat. Kalaloch is right on the ocean, so I guess that's why we liked it so much. Any of them would be fine to stay at. Olympic is very diverse and you don't have to drive that far to go from one thing to the next. I would see a beach or two, rainforest, etc. To me, it would be a shame to miss Hurricane Ridge and Sol Duc Falls, but those may not interest you or you may not have time. As with most NP lodging, it is somewhat expensive for outdated facilities, but we really like to stay at about any of them.
spirobulldog is offline  
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