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3-4 day itinerary ONP

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massachusetts
posts: 36
reviews: 30
3-4 day itinerary ONP

I had previously posted on the Seattle board and got some great feedback from glaciermeadows and kaleberg. So as not to try to fit in too much, we deleted San Juan Island and took glaciermeadows' suggestion to head to Ranier/St Helens before attending a wedding in Seattle 8/2.

On 8/3/14 we will leave Seattle in the am, head to Port Townsend and take a whale watch trip with Puget Sound Express. What time do we need to leave in order to make the 10am half day trip? The whale watch should finish by 2:30. After that, we plan to make a counterclockwise loop through Olympic National Park ending at a hotel near Seatac in the evening of 8/6 for our flight out the next morning. So I'm looking for itinerary suggestions. We will have 3 nights where we need lodging.

We're looking for a combination of activity during the day with relaxation in a beautiful setting in the late afternoon (ie after checking in). We enjoy moderate hikes of 5-6 miles max, would love to see waterfalls, scenic vistas and wildlife. We also enjoy flat water kayaking and biking but would need to rent (not high priorities). We want to have a coastal experience, a rainforest experience and a mountain experience. We were thinking of staying in the national park hotels (Lake Crescent, Quinault, Kalaloch) because they seem to be located in gorgeous spots. I had previously mentioned fly fishing but my husband will be doing that in the first part of the trip.

Any further suggestions about accomodations, itinerary, things not to miss, things we don't know we should know, etc would be very much appreciated. We're a little crowd phobic and I know that August is peak tourist season but any tips for lesser known but still great locations, hikes, etc would be great. You've all been so helpful this far. Thanks in advance.

3 replies to this topic
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 6,174
reviews: 6
1. Re: 3-4 day itinerary ONP

I suspect that is too late to get into Lake Crescent Lodge and Lake Quinault Lodge, and in August they will demand two night minima. If you are serious about these accommodations, book today.

Renton, WA
posts: 1,927
2. Re: 3-4 day itinerary ONP

If you have Google Earth, put Olympic National Park in the search window and you will see the enormous extent of this fabulous region. You will also see that you cannot drive through the park but must drive around it. Think of a wheel with a rim and spokes but no hub; the spokes are the roads into/out of Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc, the Hoh Rain Forest, the ocean beaches, etc. Each of these is an in-and-out experience.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
3. Re: 3-4 day itinerary ONP

Make it four nights if you can. When you add on things like kayaking and cycling, you really limit what you can see and do. Crowds is kind of a relative term for Olympic. Most crowded month for our Parks, but do not think crowded like Yosemite or Yellowstone. If you want access to the mountains you want to be near Port Angeles. It is probably too late for Lake Crescent Lodge. Kalaloch is ok, but expensive and there are better beaches. It is isolated from other parts of the Park.

My recommendation would be one night in Port Angeles. Lake Crescent Lodge requires two night stay. Check into a hotel or B and B in Port Angeles and then drive along Lake Crescent and stop at Marymere Falls. Drive to the end of the Lake and up the hill you will see the sol Duc River Road. Drive to the end and walk to beautiful Sol Duc Falls. It stays light fairly late.

I would then head for Forks and visit the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach for the day. Stay at either Huckelberry lodge or Cabins at Beaver Creek. Bring supplies for cooking on a grill.

Two nights at Lake Quinault would offer some nice relaxation, lots of great walks through rainforest and the biggest trees in the Park. Google Quinault Rainforest for a list of places to stay and get back to me. The lodge has good food, but it will be crowded. there are other options. For privacy and a great location go to VRBO and lookup Elk House Lake Quinault. It is every bit as nice as the photos. I have seen elk every time I have stayed there. The family owns another house if it is booked. It is larger and more money. Unlike most rentals around the Park, these have no minimum stay requirement. I would give myself about a 3.5 hour window for getting to Port Townsend. No guarantee you will make the ferry you line up for and you need to get to the dock ahead of time. Let us know if you see whales.

Edited: 3:31 pm, February 09, 2014
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