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Brief ONP Trip Report

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Memphis, Tennessee
posts: 10
reviews: 15
Brief ONP Trip Report

My family (husband, teenager son, and I) took our trip to the Olympic peninsula/ONP in late June. Kaleberg and glaciermeadows told me on this forum that June would be too early, but we threw caution to the wind and plowed on with our plans. Well, I guess Washington had a bit of an early summer this year because the weather was WONDERFUL, there were only a couple of places we had thought about going that we couldn't get to because of the snow. We absolutely loved the whole experience and are already planning to come back some day. In July. :)

We stayed in vacation rental homes in a couple of locations on the peninsula. One was overlooking Lake Sutherland, not too far from Port Angeles. The other was down around Brinnon, on the Hood Canal. I like to have at least a cabin/cottage to stay in with a kitchen, so we are not totally dependent on restaurants for meals. Usually we would have breakfast at home, pack a lunch for the trail or whatever outdoor activity was planned for the day, and have dinner out. I also like to rent homes in case inclement weather or an unexpected illness keeps us from getting out for a day or two. Both of the homes we rented on this trip were great places, with nicely appointed kitchens, great locations, and comfortable beds.

Highlights:

The people of Port Angeles. Everyone we encountered during our stay in that area was very friendly and helpful.

The meals at Alderwood Bistro in Sequim and Lake Crescent Lodge. The atmosphere at the Lodge was wonderful. I thought it was like being inside a Norman Rockwell painting.

The hike up to Hurricane Ridge. Marmots, marmots, everywhere. And a very inquisitive gray jay kept us company on the trail.

Rialto beach and Hole in the Wall. I did lose a shoe when I took them off to cross Ellen creek where the creek meets the ocean. I dropped it and the current washed it out of my reach before I could recover it. I don't know why I didn't tie the shoes together and carry them around my neck like I usually do when crossing a stream while hiking.

The Humes Ranch loop trail and the Elwha river. Just beautiful.

The hikes up to the summit of Mt. Townsend and Marmot Pass. Whew! Tough, but so worth it. The weather was great, the snow was negligible - just bits to slog through in places.

Day trip to Port Townsend - shopping downtown and the Farmer's Market! I bought some delicious bread at the Farmers Market.

Not so great:

Dining options in Forks. The meal we had at the coffee shop was not bad, but the whole atmosphere was depressing.

Dining options in Brinnon. We only ate one meal out while we were in this area, at the Halfway House. We didn't like it and we were not inspired to try eating out anywhere else in the neighborhood. We had a very well equipped kitchen at the house we rented, so that wasn't a big problem.

We also traveled to Mt. Rainier National Park on this trip, but ONP was our favorite and we wish we had spent more time there. So many things to do, and so little time!

5 replies to this topic
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 5,671
reviews: 4
1. Re: Brief ONP Trip Report

Wonderful. You are right; despite an unusually snowy winter and spring, summer came weeks early this year. We had three or four very warm days in May, and the snow melt started so early that many mountain trails opened up in June, which is quite rare. You really got around, too. It's great you were able to hike so many different trails. Few visitors get up Whiskey Bend for the Elwha hike.

I have been criticized on this forum for being too hard on Forks, but many people do find it depressing. Finding a decent place to eat is very hard there. I'm glad you enjoyed Alder Wood Bistro, and it looks as if the restaurant at Lake Crescent Lodge is having another good year.

Memphis, Tennessee
posts: 10
reviews: 15
2. Re: Brief ONP Trip Report

Reading messages on this forum was a big help in planning our trip, so thanks for all your good advice, Kaleberg.

Also, we got a lot of good ideas about hikes to take and general trail conditions when we stopped at the park visitor center near Port Angeles and talked to the rangers there.

Really, the food in Forks was OK. I mean, we went to the coffee shop, so we weren't expecting a gourmet meal. The burger and fries were fine. It was just the general atmosphere of the restaurant/locale that was a bit depressing. The food there was actually much better than the meal we had at the place in Brinnon. Maybe that place was having an "off" night or something, but we were all totally disappointed.

I also forgot to mention that the little diner on the highway, close to Lake Sutherland (Granny's), was a nice little place to get ice cream and a casual meal. It was close to our rental house and we stopped there for dinner one night.

Lexington, Kentucky
posts: 190
reviews: 22
3. Re: Brief ONP Trip Report

Thank you for posting your trip reports. I think it is nice to see how people's plans came together. I am heading that way soon.

posts: 25,470
reviews: 685
4. Re: Brief ONP Trip Report

I also love hearing about how plans come together. Sounds like your trip was a huge success! :)

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,657
reviews: 5
5. Re: Brief ONP Trip Report

Glad all worked out. June is actually one of my favorite times in Olympic. I spent a lot of time there in May and June. Forks is not for everyone, it is depressed, and food is a big problem. For those reading and considering options for Olympic National Park know what you are getting into. Forks has short comings, but it is close to some of the best parts of the Park. It has a few very nice places to stay and some cheaper than Port Angeles. Again it is not for everyone. I have had many people write me and tell me how much they loved the area and where they stayed. Where you stay and knowing what to expect is the key! And a kitchen.

Carly July can be a great time to visit. I spent the Fourth on the Westside of the Park. I would also seriously consider September after the holiday. I am staying at a rental next week at Quinault. My first time staying there, but I have driven by it many times. The area is incredible and the location fantastic. Let me know in the future if you want my impressions. It is new and a bargain. The owners are as nice a couple as you will ever meet.

Edited: 8:46 pm, August 31, 2013
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