Channel Islands National Park is a fantastic park off the coast of California. One thing I didn’t expect while hiking on one of the islands was the Island Fox. A small fox that only lives on these islands.
Olypmic is about 4-5 hours from Seattle located in the Pacific NorthWest of the United States.
The information that is layed out below is not meant to be comprehensive. Its only the areas that I visited in my 4 days at the park in September 2010.
My weather experience was a misty/cloudy/drizzle at Olympic, which I believe is typical for this area. Although I saw photos with nice sunsets on the coastline, it wasn’t to be on this trip.
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Hoh Rain Forest:
The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the most spectacular examples of a temperat rain forest in the world. What stands out the most to me is all the moss on the trees. As a photographer it was a fun place to take photos, since the forest was so interesting.
There is a visitor center at the Hoh trail head. The most popular hiking trail is the Hoh River Trail (17.3 Miles Long). I went about 5 miles in before turning around. Hiked along the Hoh River at times and also saw a great waterfall on the way.
The Hoh Rain Forest is not to be missed. There are also simlar areas in the Lake Quinault area of the park. I found it to be a good hike especially if the weather calls for rain, since the forest shields you a bit.
Rialto Beach: Hole in the wall
Tides: Make sure you bring or look at a tide chart before heading too far down a beach. The best is to depart about an hour before low tide to maximize your time and access to certain areas of the beach that get cut off at high tide.
Camping: We stayed at South Beach and Mora. South Beach seemed to be more of a RV campground. Although the campground overlooks the ocean which is nice. Kalaloch anoth
er nearby campground to South Beach had many more tent sites, but they seemed cramped when we looked them over.
Mora Campground is up near Rialto Beach and was a good choice when visiting Rialto and Second Beach. Both these sites are first come first serve.
We entered the park from the South West corner coming from Mt. Rainer. From that direction one of the first stops was the Lake Quinault area. It took roughly an hour to circle the lake by car.
Makah Indian Reservation:
Hurricane Ridge is another popular area of Olympic Park and close to Port Angeles. A nice drive up the ridge with scenic stops along the way. We saw some deer along the road and some friendly birds at the overlooks. The view at the top is great although it was cloudy the day I went. Along side the Hurrican Ridge visitor center at the top, there are many opportunities for hiking.
Dry Tortugas National Park has excellent snorkeling right next to the old fort.