The final stop on our Washington State adventure will be Olympic National Park. Olympic is a very diverse park with old growth rain forests, glaciers, hot springs, and a raw coastline with incredible rock formations. A few people we know have been to Olympic and have come away in awe of its beauty and diversity of landscape. The park is also unique because part of it runs along the Pacific Ocean and the rest is more inland on the Olympic Peninsula. With only four days there, we’ll do our best to cover as much of Olympic as possible, but as is the case with many of our park visits, we’re just scratching the surface.
We’ll make the 3+ hour drive late one night from Rainier to Ocean Shores for a night in a hotel to regroup, do laundry, take a decent shower (don’t let us down hotel!), etc. From there, we’ll get up early, grab some breakfast and meander up the coast making some stops to play at the beach and go on short hikes. We also plan to have “second breakfast” at the Kalaloch Lodge. From there, we’ll head inland to see the Hoh Rain Forest. After the Hoh Rain Forest, we have a 1.75 hour drive to the Sol Duc Campground in the northwest corner of the park. Olympic only has a few campgrounds that allow reservations in advance and Sol Duc was a central location to establish basecamp for a few days.
Day two at Olympic will have us venture back out to the coast to visit Second Beach where you can see starfish and the iconic rock formations. The one factor we will need to consider is the tide because certain parts of the beach can be fully submerged during high tide. In fact, almost all the books and websites we’ve read give a disclaimer about doing tide chart research to avoid calling the park rangers for help.
Our third day at Olympic will keep us in the heart of the park and have us hiking at Hurricane Ridge and around Lake Crescent.
Our last day in Olympic will involve breaking down camp for the final time and making a four hour drive back to Seattle-Tacoma airport. We hope to log one more hike before we have to say goodbye to Washington. If time and schedule allow, we might consider a ferry ride through the Puget Sound to get to the airport. Maybe we’ll get to see some orcas and hope that the girls heads don’t explode with pure joy and excitement. Or mine (see photo below from my first whale watching experience a few years ago in Massachusetts).
If you’ve been to Olympic, give us your tips and favorite spots. We can’t wait to check this great state out!