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Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

2 posts
Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

We’re heading to ONP in a few weeks and I have a foot injury that limits my ability to hike very far. I can probably do a mile or so at a time, possibly more than once a day, but I don’t want to push it more than that.

Can anyone recommend some short or partial hikes or things to see/do that don’t require a ton of walking? We’ll be spending one night near Lake Quinault, 3 nights in Forks, 2 nights near Port Angeles, and one night in Belfair. (And I know the Hoh will unfortunately be closed.)

Thanks!

6 replies to this topic
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,754 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

If you have limited mobility you and you want to do some walking I am not sure why you are spending so much time in Forks with the Hoh being accessible and so little time at Lake Quinault. September is a great time in the Rainforests and Quinault has IMO more bang for the buck than any place in Olympic for someone that can only walk a very short distance. Maybe you are staying in LaPush? I am assuming that you know someone in Belfair. I have to be honest with 1 mile walks you are going to be very very limited. The only good beach that does not require climbing over huge driftwood and descending up an down to a good Beach is Rialto. You can certainly do parts of Nature Trails at Quinault (the nicest IMO is the Rainforest Trail). Sol Duc Falls is one mile in and one mile back. Other short walks in the SolDuc Valley are Ancient Groves and Salmon Cascades overlook and You might be able to walk to the bottom of Marymere Falls. It is possible that in late September you may see fish jumping at the Cascades IF we get enough rain. Slim chance but possible.

Nowhere does it say that you can not do part of a trail and then return to your car. All of the forest walks are beautiful even if you do not make it to a waterfall. Hopefully you are bringing a cane or hiking pole.

Friends of mine had a wonderful time at Quinault last week and he is a paraplegic.

Edited: 22 August 2018, 19:01
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,821 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

You can't do much of anything in ONP. I am sorry. Let's get down to specifics.

You must walk 1.6 miles to Sol Duc Falls and back, and there are descents and ascents totaling about 250 feet.

The Hoh RF is closed from Sept. 5 on.

It is not worth your while to brave the construction del ay and the lines to Hurricane Ridge. If it weren't for the delays, it would be worth it to hobble around the meadows in front of the visitor center, but with the road construction during weekdays, it just isn't worth it.

You can't do Marymere Falls; it s about 1.5 miles roundtrip.

You can't do any of the beaches except for Rialto Beach. RB is gorgeous and worth whatever you can give it, but you won't be able to reach the good tide pools or Hole in the Wall.

You could see Madison Falls, a 5 minute walk from the parking lot.

That's it, alas. I feel so bad for you; an injury is destroying your plans to see this lovely, but relatively handicapped unfriendly, park.

Is there a chance you could arrange to kayak, whale watch, or sail?

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,754 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

Keep,in mind getting to a particular destination is half the fun, but that does not mean that going part of the way is not worth the effort. It is! A beautiful walk in an Old Growth Forest is worth every step. I’ve been there with both knee replacements.

Vincennes, Indiana
Level Contributor
14 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

My husband and I had our one and only trip to Olympic National Park in June. My advice would be to just go! Even if you do not take the trails or climb over Driftwood or any other strenuous activity you will still fall in love with this park. Every minute even if you're just driving is simply gorgeous. I had read the forum for months before our trip and admit I felt a little intimidated but after being there I want to tell everyone to just go! Admittedly your trip will be different than someone who can hike and climb etc and yes the construction was a slow down but we didn't even mind that!! It was a trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed every second.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
65 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

Have you thought about taking a Ferry to Victoria, Canada? That might be an option for you if you won't be able to hike much. Perhaps you could get a wheelchair at the famous Butchart Gardens - it's really beautiful there!

2 posts
6. Re: Limited mobility in Olympic National Park?

Thank you all for the advice! Technically I *can* walk, climb, etc, but the doctor wants to see if by limiting my walking, my foot injury will finish healing on its own so I can avoid surgery. It’s very frustrating to have to take it easy when I don’t want to, especially when I’m going somewhere where hiking is such a large part of the experience! But avoiding surgery is a good motivator. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that in mind when we’re at ONP! And fortunately we’re very easily amused and could happily while away a whole day sitting on a beach or at a lakeside. I will look into all suggestions. Thanks again!

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