Olympic National Park

January 20, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Olympic was established as a National Park in 1938 after being a national monument since 1909. The park has many different areas from the coastline beaches, rain forest areas and more forested areas.

Location:
Olypmic is about 4-5 hours from Seattle located in the Pacific NorthWest of the United States.

Details:
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.

Weather:
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.

Map:
Click here for map

Misc:

  • Logging town: There were a lot of logging trucks on the roads, since its a big industry in the area. There were also some towns and larger ones like Forks and Port Angeles. I wasn’t used to be in a National Park and then driving through towns and back into the park. The disconnect was mostly on the coast, since the park/wilderness area is a bit seperate from the larger chunk of the park.
  • Indian Reservations: There are many Indian reservations along the Western coastline such as Hoh, Quileute, Ozette and Makah Indian Reservation. The largest being Makah on the NorthWestern part of the Olympic Peninsula.


Park Areas:

Hoh Rain Forest

Hoh Rain Forest - Click on photo to buy prints


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.

 

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach - Click on photo to buy prints

 

Beaches:

Ruby Beach:

Rialto Beach: Hole in the wall

La Push:

  • First Beach
  • Second Beach

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.

 

Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls - Click on photo to buy prints

Waterfalls:

  • Sol Duc Falls
  • Marymere Falls
  • Madison Falls

 

Lake Quinault:
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.

  • A short hike along the route would be to the “Big Cedar Tree”. Its an easy hike with some elevation through rain forest area like the Hoh forest.
  • Many residential home along the South side of the lake, so this area took longer to drive through. We didn’t stop for the several waterfalls that are along this side of the lake.

 

Makah Indian Reservation:

  • Cape Flattery
  • Shi Shi Beach

Hurricane Ridge:
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.

 

Misc:

  • Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

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