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Author Topic: Olyympic National Park-Travel and lodging  (Read 4972 times)
dgardner811
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« on: April 19, 2007, 09:27:19 AM »
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I will be traveling to Olympic National Park for 9 days, last week in Aug.  Park is very large, would like to shoot, beaches&ocean, temperate rain forest, and huricaine ridge,etc.  Would like to both minimize travel times and number of changes in lodging.  Has anyone been there and would be willing to offer suggestions.  Many thanks
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 10:47:18 AM »
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There's a good Best Western chain motel in Port Angeles, which is quite convenient for the Hurricane Ridge area, but far from the rain forest.

I did the rain forest area as a day trip from there, but it was a long day trip and I wouldn't recommend it if you're going to be there for many days.  I don't know about lodging on the west coast; you might try the tripadvisor.com web site to see what lodging is available in the area.

Lisa
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dgardner811
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 12:03:16 PM »
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Thanks, saw a BB along the coast.  If the rain forest is a day trip, may have to just have a long day.  Thanks
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dobson
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 12:12:54 PM »
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I second the Port Angeles recommendation. It puts you in a good central position to get to both the west (rainforest, beach), and east (rainshadow) Olympics.

The majority of the park and surrounding forest is wilderness area. This means that almost everything is accessible only by trail. Those willing to hike a bit can remove themselves from the crowds and see very pristine landscapes.

I'm familiar with most of the trail systems in the eastern Olympics. I can give you some info on what might be best for you to do.

Phillip
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larryg
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 02:45:47 PM »
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I usually have stayed at the Best Western and made a days drive out of it to the rainforests

However, last time we visited Quinalt rain forest and there is a great lodge right there.  Pricey but convenient

http://www.quinaultrainforest.com/pages/localnews.html
information on the rainforest and some on the lodge

http://rainforestresort.com/
The villages  (not sure where this is located)

http://www.visitlakequinault.com/
The lodge itself.


Olympic is a great place
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 05:40:33 PM »
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I stayed at the Forks Motel when I was out on the coastal side of Olympic National Park a few years ago - a very nice place with quiet, comfortable rooms. You're maybe 10-20 minutes from Rialto Beach and maybe 45 to Ruby Beach (give or take - my memory is fading), so it's somewhat centrally located on that side of the park.  http://www.forksmotel.com/

I think Hoh isn't that horribly far either.

I think I stayed at the Best Western in Port Angeles - it was fine. A bit of a drive up to Hurricane Ridge, but worth it.

The whole park is pretty amazing, but give yourself enough time - it is quite easy to find a long set of rainy weather that has deciced to make the park its home as well, and that can be somewhat of a drag if you're in the mood for some nice sunrises and sunsets.

Hope this helps.

-m
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dgardner811
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 02:52:06 PM »
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I second the Port Angeles recommendation. It puts you in a good central position to get to both the west (rainforest, beach), and east (rainshadow) Olympics.

The majority of the park and surrounding forest is wilderness area. This means that almost everything is accessible only by trail. Those willing to hike a bit can remove themselves from the crowds and see very pristine landscapes.

I'm familiar with most of the trail systems in the eastern Olympics. I can give you some info on what might be best for you to do.

Phillip
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dgardner811
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 02:55:56 PM »
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Thanks so much for the help.  I am looking for photo ideas also.  Hope to do a show with pictures from this trip, so location ideas would be great.  A bit off the beaten path would be nice.  I completed my first show of pictures last month and another gallery asked me to produce a show for 2008.  samples of my work are at www.enduringvistas.com.  I appreciate all the help from everyone.
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 05:37:34 PM »
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As far as "photo ideas" - wow, this park is full of them. I'm not so good with "off the beaten path" suggestions as I had limited time when I was there in 2004 and could not do everything I wanted to do. I also had constant rainy weather that seriously reduced how much shooting I could do when I was near the coastal beaches.

That being said, I think in addition to the obligatory trip up to Hurricane Ridge for both early morning and sunset shots, you'd want to look into spending enough time at the coastal beaches (Ruby Beach was my favorite, Rialto had some possibilties) and explore. Make sure (!!) you pick up a tide chart from the ranger station or somewhere for when you're there, you absolutely do not want to be on the beaches when tide is coming in and threatening to start rolling the logs.

I'd also add that I found the atmosphere and look of the little towns very charming, so I'd suggest giving the towns like Port Angeles, the little town near Rialto Beach where they do the fishing for the area (I forgot the name at the moment), and especially if you take the loop back south past Ruby Beach heading back towards Tacoma, some of the towns in that end of things are quite interesting.

Overall, I'd like to get back there someday - and I haven't even been to the Hoh section - there is just SO much there that it's almost overwhelming. So your choice might come down to the "tour" of the areas - which is somewhat what I did, or a "concentration" of specific areas, in which case I'd suggest the towns and the coastal side.

Enjoy your trip!

-m
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dobson
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2007, 09:14:33 PM »
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To save time and effort hiking, I suggest that you take short hikes on the west side (rainforest), and longer hikes on the east side (alpine).

The scenery in the rainforest doesn't change much so you can save energy by doing short nature trails or just cross-country exploring.

Your best alpine photos will be at dawn and dusk (obviously). This limits you to Hurrican Ridge, Obstruction Point, and Deer Park. You can get superior photos elsewhere, but it requires you to either camp or hike by headlamp.


(Here are a few of my favorite "off the beaten path" areas)

The best place for wildflowers is the Buckhorn Wilderness area. Species like the Piper's Bellflower (Campanula Piperii) are exclusive to the Buckhorn Mountains. There are numerous trails that lead into the wilderness, but most are long. A couple of the shorter ones are the Silver Lake Way Trail (3mi), Tunnel Creek (4.5mi), and the Upper Big Quilcine (5.5mi).

The Siver Lake trail is quickly gaining popularity; you won't be alone, but it offers great scenery for the effort. It follows a rough path beside a fast-flowing stream to a pair of lakes. From the lakes, I recommend heading up to the ridge above for amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

The first 3 miles of Tunnel Creek follow the water, and offer good photos of water cascading through a mature forest. It then heads uphill to 5050 pass, with arguably the best view of Mount Constance's east face This trail sees few people despite its quality.

The Upper Big Quilcine is notable because it provides the easiest approach to Marmot Pass. This is a good trail to get to the center of the Buckhorn Wilderness. From there you can take numerous trails following alpine ridges.


If you are willing to work a bit more for your photos, the Southeastern Olympics offer impressive sights that are rarely visited. The blueberry plants should be turning red by late August and the castilleja will still have it's color. The Putvin Trail (4mi) and the Upper Lena Lake Trail (6mi) are the best hikes in the area.

The Putvin trail is steep; you will gain over 3000 feet in 4 miles. The reward is worth the work however, as you end up at the Lake of the Angels, in the aptly named Valley of Heaven. This is a good place to see wildlife such as moutain goats and bears in late august/sptember. This is my favorite hike on the Olympic Peninsula.

While more of a backpack, Upper Lena Lake can be hiked in a (long) day. The lake is one of the largest lakes in the Olympic alpine. From the lake, a short hike takes you to the heart of the mountains.


Please ask if you have any questions.

Phillip
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dgardner811
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2007, 08:18:58 AM »
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To save time and effort hiking, I suggest that you take short hikes on the west side (rainforest), and longer hikes on the east side (alpine).

The scenery in the rainforest doesn't change much so you can save energy by doing short nature trails or just cross-country exploring.

Your best alpine photos will be at dawn and dusk (obviously). This limits you to Hurrican Ridge, Obstruction Point, and Deer Park. You can get superior photos elsewhere, but it requires you to either camp or hike by headlamp.
(Here are a few of my favorite "off the beaten path" areas)

The best place for wildflowers is the Buckhorn Wilderness area. Species like the Piper's Bellflower (Campanula Piperii) are exclusive to the Buckhorn Mountains. There are numerous trails that lead into the wilderness, but most are long. A couple of the shorter ones are the Silver Lake Way Trail (3mi), Tunnel Creek (4.5mi), and the Upper Big Quilcine (5.5mi).

The Siver Lake trail is quickly gaining popularity; you won't be alone, but it offers great scenery for the effort. It follows a rough path beside a fast-flowing stream to a pair of lakes. From the lakes, I recommend heading up to the ridge above for amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

The first 3 miles of Tunnel Creek follow the water, and offer good photos of water cascading through a mature forest. It then heads uphill to 5050 pass, with arguably the best view of Mount Constance's east face This trail sees few people despite its quality.

The Upper Big Quilcine is notable because it provides the easiest approach to Marmot Pass. This is a good trail to get to the center of the Buckhorn Wilderness. From there you can take numerous trails following alpine ridges.
If you are willing to work a bit more for your photos, the Southeastern Olympics offer impressive sights that are rarely visited. The blueberry plants should be turning red by late August and the castilleja will still have it's color. The Putvin Trail (4mi) and the Upper Lena Lake Trail (6mi) are the best hikes in the area.

The Putvin trail is steep; you will gain over 3000 feet in 4 miles. The reward is worth the work however, as you end up at the Lake of the Angels, in the aptly named Valley of Heaven. This is a good place to see wildlife such as moutain goats and bears in late august/sptember. This is my favorite hike on the Olympic Peninsula.

While more of a backpack, Upper Lena Lake can be hiked in a (long) day. The lake is one of the largest lakes in the Olympic alpine. From the lake, a short hike takes you to the heart of the mountains.
Please ask if you have any questions.

Phillip
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dgardner811
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2007, 08:22:30 AM »
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Philip
Thanks so much for the ideas and help.  I am trying to get some time to do some final planning and will be back for some additional ideas.  My wife has a very limited hiking ability, so we will need to take very short hikes one day, and then perhaps a bit longer the next.  I am leaning towards staying in the Forks area and then driving.  Might stay in Port Angeles one or two nights also, better to get to Hurricane ridge.  I am unsure about taking the ferry over to Victoria as I may have enough to do in the park.  Your suggestions have been a very big help.  Thanks so much!!  Dave
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2007, 10:59:28 AM »
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Lots of great info in this thread, thanks to all the contributors. I'll definitely be bookmarking this.  We were thinking about taking  a trip there this year, but had other travel plans forced on us so it will have to wait till next year.

I'm wondering, what are the best times of year to visit, with regard to weather, seasonal foliage, etc.
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dobson
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2007, 02:08:25 PM »
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I'm wondering, what are the best times of year to visit, with regard to weather, seasonal foliage, etc.
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Boy that's a hard question.

If you're visiting the rainforest, season doesn't really matter. It will be raining, (probably), and all of the foliage is evergreen. There will be more waterflow in the creeks in spring and early summer, though.

I personally like late spring the most. The flowers are starting to bloom and the mountains are still covered in snow. Sping snow in the Olympics can be hiked really quickly, too. This is the best time to see the early flowers like Calypso Bulbosa, Corallorhiza, and many species of lilly. It is recommended that you have experience in snow travel to make the most of the early spring season.

In late summer and early fall the blueberries are turning, making the hilsides bright red. It's the tail end of the wildflower season, but certain flowers are still in bloom. This is a good time to see wildlife like bears feeding on berries.

Winter in the mountains is really amazing, but it takes work. Places like Hurricane Ridge don't open until well after sunrise if at all. Due to the short days, I usually start hiking below the gates at 4 am so I can get up to the treeline before it gets too late.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2007, 11:04:20 PM »
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Phillip,

Thanks for your insight, it's been very helpful and I'll definitely take it into account when we plan our trip.

Jeff
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