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ONP Logistics

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
54 posts
181 reviews
ONP Logistics

We would like to visit ONP this summer and I have read a number of post, but I am confused as to the best way to do this. We plan to fly from Colorado and rent a car. We could stay about a week and are mainly interested in hiking and possibly kayaking. It sounds like things are far apart and that we should stay in three different areas, Lake Quinault, Lake Crescent and possibly Sol Duc. I'm not sure which order makes sense and where to stay. We like to stay in nice places and do not camp. I previously reserved five nights at Kalaloch Lodge, but people on the forum seem to be saying that it is far from most of the major attractions. Also, is Seattle the best place to fly into?

Would appreciate any suggestions on itinerary and where to stay, also the best time to go.

13 replies to this topic
Renton, Washington
Level Contributor
5,258 posts
1. Re: ONP Logistics

Seattle is pretty much the only place to fly into unless you want to drive up from Portland. Instead of Sol Duc, which promises more than it delivers, consider lodging in/near LaPush.

https://quileuteoceanside.com/

Miller Tree Inn, near Forks, is another suggestion.

Not sure what your definition of "nice places" is, but keep in mind that the Olympic Peninsula is vast and amenities few and far between. Lake Quinault Lodge and Lake Crescent lodge are operated by Aramark, I think, and if you have any experience with them at other national parks you will know what to expect.

Bellingham...
Level Contributor
5,677 posts
109 reviews
2. Re: ONP Logistics

Yep, fly in to Seattle. And as Bob implied, accommodations in & around ONP tend to be...modest. If you happen to stay in Port Angeles, know that the lodging leaves something to be desired. Olympic Lodge is the place for you there.

~ Colleen

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: ONP Logistics

First Seattle IS the best place to fly into and out of. Having lived in Colorado the Ocean and Forests should be be a priority since you have access to the Rockies. When I visited the Oregon and Washington while living in Colorado Lakes, Rivers and of course the Pacific were something I decided I needed access to. First off choose July over August. Less visitors on the trails. It would help to know if you want to hike in the mountains in the Northern section of the Park before suggesting an itinerary. Also do you want to float on a river kayaking on a Lake or on open water. By far the most interesting kayaking out here being a kayaker myself is on open water, which would be near Port Angeles. The order of your visit is not that critical if you are only visiting Olympic.

Many people like Kalaloch. Personally I am not a big fan. The beaches further North are more dramatic and you are a long drive from trailheads And a grocery unless you want to eat only in their restaurant. Summer delays with construction along Lake Crescent need to be taken into consideration if you want to spend time in the Northern Section. It would help to know what hikes you want to do and what your budget is for accommodations each night. There is very little in terms of places to stay near the SolDuc. River Runs Through It listed under Forks is one option. It is a bit isolated. There are many options near the town of Forks that gives you access to the Hoh Rainforest and the LaPush Beaches. Then you need to evidence whether you want to be near the beaches, the Hoh or in between by being closer to Forks. There are many options. It will be High Season. I would also include some time in the Quinault Rainforest. Google Quinault Rainforest with information about accommodations and hikes.

If you can provide a little more information by answering my questions I can suggest places to stay.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,823 posts
20 reviews
4. Re: ONP Logistics

Here are a few points to consider. Usually, I would recommend Lake Crescent Lodge as a good base for the northern half of the park. It is not luxurious, as Bobmrg's hint about Aramark suggests, but it is in a simply gorgeous setting, and it usually has a very good restaurant (some years the chef is not good, so it does fall off in quality occasionally). Don't stay there this summer. There is a 3 year, massive road construction project on Highway 101 along Lake Crescent that is causing serious delays right past Lake Crescent Lodge. You would be trapped.

Kalaloch is not the best choice, for the reasons you listed. I have stayed there two or three times, and I enjoyed it, but that's because I live in Port Angeles and hike in ONP several times a week. Those who come here from afar need a more convenient, less isolated base.

Once again, Bobmrg is right: no go on Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. It is located right next to a truly wonderful trail that takes you from Sol Duc Falls all the way to the High Divide, if you can go that far, but it is basic. Very, very rustic. It's basically a set of huts arranged around a parking lot. The huts are clean and well maintained, but they are simple, far from from just about everywhere outside the Sol Duc Valley, and lacking in cell phone coverage of any kind.

There little really luxurious lodging near or in the park. As Jplrk has said, Olympic Lodge is the best place in Port Angeles. The rooms are really large and comfortable, and the place is very well run, but the setting is meh at best. On the other hand, Port Angeles has some good, if not great, restaurants, and it's right at the foot of Hurricane Ridge and only 8 minutes from the entrance to the gorgeous Elwha Valley, with its great trails. You can easily reach the eastern shore of Lake Crescent, too, and that's where the Spruce Railroad Trail is.

If you want luxury, there are two beautiful B&Bs near Port Angeles: Colette's and Domaine Madeleine. These are wonderful, but they are two far from the western and southern parts of the park to serve as a base ofr the Hoh Rain Forest, Rialto Beach, Second Beach, Third Beach, the higher trails in the Sol Duc Valley, and the Quinault Rain Forest. You would need a second base as well.

Quileute Oceanside Resort near the beaches has some very nice cabins right on the beach. Be prepared to cook for yourself, as there are no good restaurants anywhere close to Forks.

There are some nice rentals near Forks as well. My fellow DE, Glaciermeadows recommends Cozy River House, among others. There are also two small but nice cabins right in the Hoh Valley near the Hoh Rain Forest. Glaciermeadows can give you the contact info.

Lake Quinault Lodge is a grand old park lodge in the great tradition. It is beautiful, but it is a little understaffed these days, so it's not quite in the luxury class. The restaurant varies from year to year, but hen it's good, it's very good.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: ONP Logistics

JP depending on ones budget there are actually many nice places to stay near Olympic depending on ones budget that I would consider to be better than budget. Food is another thing. I have not stayed at any of the BandB’s near Port Angeles, but they seem to be highly regarded. There are several very nice places to spend the night. It is more about location.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
54 posts
181 reviews
6. Re: ONP Logistics

Thanks. In terms of budget for accommodations, we could go up to $300 or more per night if a place is nice enough. We have stayed in national park hotels previously, and know what to expect. Somewhat pricey, but usually convenient. We usually like to minimize driving where possible and will pay more to be in a convenient location. I think we would want to hike in the mountains. In terms of kayaking, we usually prefer lakes to open water because we are not highly skilled.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,823 posts
20 reviews
7. Re: ONP Logistics

Well, if you want mountain hiking, Kalaloch is the worst possible choice of lodging. It's hours from the trails. Have you done any reading about ONP? Check some websites and guidebooks, then get back to us for more fine tuning of your plans.

The only good lake kayaking is on Lake Crescent. It is beautiful but much less interesting than sea kayaking. You can contact Adventures through Kayaking near Port Angeles to set up a safe, thrilling sea kayaking trip. They really are wonderful. Don't even think about kayaking on Lake Qozette. It's dangerous. Lake Quinault is boring and not all that clean, so I don't recommend that one, either.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: ONP Logistics

I agree Kalaloch is just not close to any trails and the LaPush Beaches are more dramatic. So you certainly could stay at Lake Queen Quinault Lodge or Lake Crescent. You just have to keep in mind that Lake Crescent Lodge will be in the middle of road construction, so trying to get anywhere else East or West will me long delays even more so with increased Summer traffic. I would also not pick SolDuc. Why SolDuc. One great hike, but otherwise too far from Hurricane Ridge, the Ocean Beaches and the Rainforests.

Since you live near the Rockies how important are the mountains? Perhaps you could visit Hurricane Ridge and SolDuc Falls on your first day before heading to the Forks area. Or spend one night in Port Angeles. Sounds like Lake Crescent would be best for you kayaking, but again then you are stuck in the middle of construction if you want to go anywhere else. Maybe one night at the Lodge. You can also Kayak the Hoh River with a leader. There are different stretches including towards the Coast. The Forks area and Lake Quinault are the area that I would concentrate on. There are many good options in the Forks area. If it is only two of you a house rental might be overkill, but you do want a kitchen. Rentals are in the 300 to 325 range and include a cleaning fee. There are several that like, but again they may be overkill for two people. Two nice BandB’s, but that you have to eat out and the local restaurants are mediocre. Look at Cabins at Beaver Creek and Huckleberry Lodge. I recommend both. Different locations and Huckleberry is more convenient. You can Google Forks Chamber of Commerce for a list of places including near LaPush. There are three very nice brand new cabins in the Hoh Valley should you not mind being that far from supplies and the LaPush Beaches. The Kalaloch Beaches would be a little closer.

Finally there is the Quinault Rainforest. I like Lake Quinault Lodge, but in Summer it is too busy for me. We like the Elk House.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
54 posts
181 reviews
9. Re: ONP Logistics

After reading these great suggestions, I am thinking about starting in Port Angeles to see the Hurricane ridge area, then to forks or La Push for the beaches and then Lake Quinault, skipping Lake Crescent as suggested. We would like to hike in the Hog Rainforest, so would we do that from Forks or LaPush as a day trip? Also, in reading about ONP, some books suggest hiking near Lake Ozette. Is that worthwhile or are the other beach areas like Rialto more interesting?

Edited: 20 December 2017, 00:30
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: ONP Logistics

The Beaches near LaPush are beautiful as are the beaches near Ozette. What you need to consider is the time involved. It is almost a two hour drive from Forks to Lake Ozette one way and then a three mile hike each way much on a boardwalk to the Ocean. Do you want to spend most of a day to get to and do this hike?

You need to decide where you want to stay as far as getting to the Hoh. I have given you suggestions.

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