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Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

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San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

This is a last minute trip to WA. We have 5 full days and are splitting it with 2 days in the Park and 3 in Seattle. We've been to the park a couple of times and the last time was many years ago and we stayed in Forks. This trip is with teens and to give them a flavor of the park which I really think is one of the most amazing places in the US.

The two main sights we want to show them are the Hoh Rain forest and Hurricane Ridge with quick stops at one of the beaches (perhaps Ruby as Rialto would be more driving) and then Crescent lake.

We get in on a Wednesday around 8am at SEA. My plan is to do the 4 or so hour drive via Olympia to the Hoh Rain Forest visitor center starting around 9 and then later that afternoon driving to the Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles for the night. This is going to be a long day with a lot of driving. I don't want to stay in Forks again and we can then get a head start the next morning. Would have loved to stay near Crescent lake but no such luck

On Thursday AM, we want to go up to Hurricane Ridge and then head back towards Seattle via the Bainbridge ferries. We'll then get 3 full days in Seattle.

1. Any comments on our plans in terms of a better way to do both sights ? Wednesday is going to be a lot of driving but then Thursday and then the rest of the days imho would be easier on us in terms of seeing the world go by in a car. Last time we stayed a week here so we get this is rushed.

2. Any suggestions on where to grab lunch enroute to Hoh ? Lake Quinault ?

Thanks in advance,

Edited: 11:32 am, August 02, 2013
Port Townsend...
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for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
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1. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Seems like a good plan. I would stop at Safeway in Aberdeen for lunch supplies.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Why not cut your drive by spending the first night at Quinault. Have you visited the Quinault Rainforest?

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Hi Glaciermeadows and Pala32

I looked at availability at the Quinault lodge but that is what you get when you book last minute. We did stop at the lake many years ago but I did not do the Rain forest then. Perhaps we should do that in place of Hoh and that will cut a couple of hours of driving. As far as staying, if the Cresent lake lodge or Quinault lodge had availability, I would have jumped on it.

Since that is not available, i thought it was better to drive the distance to PA and then do Hurricane Ridge and then leave for Seattle the next day so it reduces our drive time on Thursday.

We have stayed at the Forks Olympic suites inn and while Forks may not be the most scenic place, we had a great time there.

If you have other suggestions for a similar type of place to stay as those lodges, I'm open. Thanks again

Edited: 2:25 pm, August 02, 2013
Poulsbo, Washington
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4. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Did you check Quinault River Resort. A nice small motel that I stay at as the price is right. I stayed at the Olympic Suites years ago and unless they have remodeled, I did not like it. The Pacific Inn in Forks is fine. For the money if you can get a cabin Huckeberry Lodge is nice. What is the date you would be in Forks or Quinault?

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Are you referring to the Quinault River Inn or the Rain Forest Resort village when you mention the Quinault River Resort :-)

This is for August 14th in about 2 weeks. I can call and check what they have but my concern is that the next day we will be driving a lot to go to Hurricane Ridge and then to Seattle and we have late evening dinner plans in the city on Thursday night -- so I thought I would skip Hoh, do the Quinault rain forest and drive to Port Angeles. I am torn now that you mention the two places between the natural beauty of the Quinault area v/s the drive the next day.

We'll be in a concrete forest in Seattle so nothing like staying in a real forest

By the way, how is the cell service in general on 101 ? Not asking about the inner roads or if we go for a hike but just on the actual 101 ?

Thanks for your help

Edited: 7:44 pm, August 02, 2013
Poulsbo, Washington
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6. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Sorry Quinault River Inn. Cell service depends on where you are on the Coast, Bad at Quinault, fine at Kalaloch and Forks. The Hoh and Quinault are both gorgeous. Obviously I can not tell you what to do. Two days just not very much time! With two days I would normally say go by way of the ferries. You may want to rethink this and take a ferry and just stay in Port Angeles. Two days makes this tough with your stops and trying to get to Seattle for a specific time.

Port Angeles, WA
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7. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Cell service goes in an out on 101.

I do understand your desire to show your children the wonders of ONP. However, you are ruining your trip by trying to do too much. Rather than remembering the beautiful rain forest and the magnificent vistas atop Hurricane Ridge, you will all be remembering hours and hours of tedious driving, as well as the constant worry that you won't make it back to Seattle in time for dinner. Bite the bullet, and drastically change this trip. You don't have time for both Hurricane Ridge and one of the great rain forests. They are just too far apart and too far from Seattle. Either stay in Lake Quinault to see the Quinault Rain Forest, or stay in Port Angeles and restrict your visits to Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and Sol Duc Falls. You will see beautiful old growth forest at both Marymere Falls, near Lake Crescent, and Sol Duc Falls. Old growth forest is not the same as rain forest, but the huge, ancient trees are still impressive.

I have hesitated to chime in on this thread because I so strongly disapprove of your plans. Perhaps, however, you will listen to another voice added to Glaciermeadows'.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

kaleberg and glaciermeadows

One of the reasons I posted this question was for that exact reason -- was in two minds about the amount of driving vs seeing both places. One other thing I did not mention is that the boys are in Costa Rica now, so they are seeing plenty of rain forests so we will just make Port Angeles the hub and do Crescent lake on Wednesday and if we have time Sol Duc falls and then Hurricane Ridge on Thursday and then get to Seattle by evening on Thursday.

How would you suggest we go at 9am from Seatac to Port Angeles ? Go south to Tacoma and then up the Peninsula or go to Seattle and take the Bainbridge ferry

Appreciate your advise and yes I do give advise to people here in SF and hope they listen so I get it. ;-)

Port Orchard...
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9. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

Definately drive thru Tacoma and up the peninsula. By the time you drive to Seattle, wait for a ferry and then ride the ferry you could be well on your way to Port Angeles.

Port Angeles, WA
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10. Re: Our plans for 2 days at the Olympic National Park

I agree with Rorygirl. Take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge route. It's the fastest route from the airport. Now that you have decided where to base yourselves, let's discuss your hiking plans. Are you interested in any longer, more challenging hikes? Did you have any particular hikes in mind? If you can do it, the 2300 foot total ascent up to the Potholes above Sol Duc Falls is once of the choicest day hikes in the park. It takes 6 hours round trip, allowing for a picnic lunch up at the Potholes. I am also happy to report that Obstruction Point Road is open all the way to the end now, and you could hike the unforgettable Lillian Ridge Trail out to the overlook over Grand Lake. This is not a demanding hike, although you do some climbing, and it is only 2 hours round trip, but it is incredibly beautiful. The drive along Obstruction Point Road takes you right into the heart of the mountains. You can get more details on www.kaleberg.com.

Also, do you need food and lodging suggestions in Port Angeles?