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5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

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Swansea, Illinois
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5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

Seeking advice on how to spend 5 days in late May on the Olympic Peninsula. We're traveling round trip to the O.P. from Bellingham WA......advice on a scenic travel route would be greatly appreciated. We live in southern Illinois and a trip to the O.P. is such a treat! We're day hikers and low key casual travelers. Given our travel route and the time we have, can you please suggest a first time visitor itinerary? We prefer not to whale watch by boat or take a day trip to Victoria BC this time. Just want to concentrate on the O.P. Can you please suggest clothing and footwear for late May as well? Thank you kindly for your help.

Amsterdam, The...
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for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
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1. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

Not really much choice on route. Take the ferry from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend and then 101 takes you around the peninsula and to the access roads into the park. With 5 days you could make the full loop. The drive up the Hood Canal is quite lovely.

Swansea, Illinois
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2. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

Thank you Pala32. Whidbey Island looks lovely and Port Townsend seems very interesting! Others folks we know have also said that the Hood Canal drive is beautiful. Hopefully we can see it. Do you have a suggestion for a beach hike? There seem to be many beautiful choices. Can you suggest what type of shoes would be appropriate on a beach hike? Thank you.

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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3. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

I live at the foot of Hurricane Ridge and have a house inside the park as well. Just bring dry socks and hike in running shoes, hiking shoes, or whatever shoe you like. I am sure you will want to visit Hurricane Ridge, which will still be snow at the end of May. Here you may be able to snowshoe, but I would suggest wearing running shoes and putting Yak Trax over them. You should be able to hike the Hurricane Hill Trail in either snowshoes, which you can rent at the Visitor Center, or Yak Trax. With luck, the very early glacier lilies and avalanche lilies will be emerging.

No matter where you hike, your shoes will get a bit damp, so bring two pairs. One can dry overnight while you hike in the other. ONP in late May will be pleasantly cool and a little rainy, but you will not have to face soaking downpours. Trails are easily navigated in any kind of footwear. Dress in layers.

You mentioned hiking a beach. Look at www.kaleberg.com and check out information on Cape Alava, Rialto Beach, and Second Beach. Since you have allowed plenty of time to visit the park, you can probably do all three. Pay attention to the tides, especially if you are going to hike Cape Alava, and write back for more detailed advice about safety and comfort on this hike. I have tide tables on kaleberg.com.

You should plan to hike the River Trail at the Hoh Rain Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is glorious. Also hike the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent and Sol Duc Falls. Unfortunately, most of the mountain trails will be inaccessible, but if you get up to Hurricane Ridge you will at least get a taste of the alpine ecosystem in the park.

Amsterdam, The...
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for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
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4. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

My favorite beach hike is the Sand Pt./Cape Alava loop from Lake Ozette. It's a nine mile loop, 3 of which is on the beach. You much check the tides to make sure the high tide doesn't block your way along the beach.

My second choice would be Ruby Beach. Again check the tides to see if they will cut you off if you choose to hike north along the beach.

Any good fitting walking shoes will be fine.

Edited: 1:56 pm, January 21, 2013
Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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5. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

Follow Pala's route. If it were me with 5 days I would stay in three locations to make the most of your visit. Hiking shoes would be much better in wet conditions then running shoes, but running shoes will work. Yesterday walked with some French friends on Rialto Beach and after one wave their feet were wet all day with sneakers. Rialto is my personal favorite for any easy beach walk. Great tidepools.

Port Angeles or Lake Crescent Lodge are the best places to stay for visiting the Northern section of the Park. Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crecent and the Sol Duc Valley (Sol Duc Falls) are all worth a visit.

Staying in Forks gets you close to Rialto and Second Beach and the Hoh Rainforest. Staying in Forks gives you the opportunity for the Hoh and the beaches for sunsets and tidepools at low tide. Huckelberry Lodge in Forks has some very nice cabins in a quiet location. There is also a hot tub and sauna. Not fancy but very comfortable and very Reasonable. the also have a large covered firepit for evening campfires and a large grill for cooking. Food in Forks leaves a lot to be desired.

Lake Quinault has a terrific Lodge and lots of choices for easy rainforest nature trails. You could easily visit Ruby Beach on your way to Quinault. Google Quinault Rainforest. Good site for info. I know pretty much all of the acommadations if you want something other than the Lodge. Great place to explore one of the countries most beautiful forests and also relax.

Swansea, Illinois
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6. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

I apologize for not getting back sooner. Thank you all for the wisdom and expert advise regarding our May 2013 visit. We've had a family emergency that needs my attention. I hope to return to this forum soon....Lord willing! Thank you all so very much. Wishing you the best in 2013.

Alexandria, Virginia
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7. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

I'm from Virginia but absolutely LOVED the Olympic National Park & all the towns...Port Angeles, Forks & La Push. I stayed in Forks where the local Forks Diner waitresses give you the latest info for all the interesting places to go in the area. The most STUNNING place was in La Push at a hotel right on the beach on the Quileute Indian Reservation. I drove from Seattle to Bremerton & then got 101 around the area. Beautiful bridges, nice people & breath taking scenery. Someone suggested I go to the northwestern most point in the US...which is on another Indian Reservation...the Makah Nation. Take your time & enjoy it all.

Poulsbo, Washington
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8. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

Glad you had a good visit. Nice to hear from a visitor with a good impression of some of our less scenic towns. There is always something to be said for locals who are very friendly and helpful. I know some people over there who are the nicest people you will ever meet! The only reason I do not personally mention Oceanside in LaPush more is the price. Even in the off season I find it pretty overpriced.

9. Re: 5 days in late May 2013 to visit the Olympic Pennisula

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