We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Viewing the elk rut

Port Orchard...
Level Contributor
406 posts
5 reviews
Viewing the elk rut

I read a comment or two about viewing the Rut in the ONP and would like some more detail on timing and location. We recently moved to Port Orchard and are retired, so we can make a one or two day trip out, mid-week. The only week we can't go is the week of Sept. 24.

Someone mentioned a river with a north and south road, would this be the Sol Duc river near LaPush? With two days one night somewhere, shall we just drive the southern route to LaPush then back home, or should we make a loop starting with the northern route through Port Angeles?

Fortunately we can plan many future trips to the area, Hurricane Ridge is a must next year, but seeing some animal activity in the next few weeks would be fun.

8 replies to this topic
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,691 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Viewing the elk rut

The Rut normally takes place about the time you are thinking of. Around the third week of September. Although the Hoh Rainforest will not be accessible the perfect place to see Elk is near the pastures outside of the Park Boundary. The area around the Hoh Valley Cabins at Elk Meadows is the perfect place. These are very nice cabins owned by a nice local family. I have seen more Elk within a radius of about five miles in this area on a regular basis than anywhere without long hikes. Gary and Charlotte can tell you exactly when and where to look.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,709 posts
21 reviews
2. Re: Viewing the elk rut

The river with two forks is in Quinault, another great place to see the elk, but farther from where you live. You are very unlikely to see elk near LaPush. I have seen a few in the Sol Duc Valley in November, but that is very usual.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,691 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Viewing the elk rut

Yes I probably was the one that mentioned the North and South Shore Roads at Quinault. This is a good place to look for Elk. There are two fields on the North Shore Road close to the bridge that intersects with the South Shore Road. A beautiful area with great walks and hikes. I mentioned the area at the Hoh for two reasons. One since the Hoh Rainforest will not be accessible in September there will be far less visitors along the Hoh. Less people means better opportunities for viewing Elk. With the Hoh closure that will mean more visitors than normal along the Quinault. If you choose the Quinault see if you can book the Elk House. Herds feed in the fields in that area early in the morning. There are Elk Herds everywhere on the Peninsula including near LaPush, but you want to be in an area where you can see them imore in the open. For that reason LaPush is not a good area. The River Valleys is where you want to be. Also they are beautiful.

Port Orchard...
Level Contributor
406 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Viewing the elk rut

Thanks! I think we could visit Quinault as a VERY long day trip, or we could stay at the Rain Forest Resort Village? We'll save the Hoh Valley Cabins for another time.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,691 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: Viewing the elk rut

Quinault a day trip from where? Your best chances of seeing Elk and especially the Bulls bugeling (which is a must) is early in the morning or before dusk. You do not want to be driving in the dark in the roads. Deer and Elk cross the roads at night. Rainforest Village is ok. I would choose the Lodge over it.

Edited: 01 September 2018, 15:24
Port Orchard...
Level Contributor
406 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Viewing the elk rut

Day trip from Port Orchard. I think we will book a room at Rain Forest Village, thanks.

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
21 posts
7. Re: Viewing the elk rut

HI GlacierMeadows and Kaleberg,

Can you recommend where/how to look for the elk near the Hoh since the park will be closed during our visit in September? You mentioned meadows near the park boundary, but can we access them if we're not staying in one of the cabins? Unfortunately they are booked during our dates. Looks like a great place to stay! We'll be staying in Forks for two nights, then at the Rainforest Village the next night.

Also, are there any places to hike near the Hoh Rainforest Park that are outside of the park boundary?

Thanks!

Edited: 01 September 2018, 21:26
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,691 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: Viewing the elk rut

There are no real trails outside the Park Boundary. There are a series of farms with fields before the Park Boundary. Early in the morning and at dusk Elk graze there. Respect private property, but the open fields nea before and after the Hard Rain Cafe early in the morning especially is a good time. Best time to hear the Bulls call echoing through the Valley. Another place to consider going if you do not mind driving on a gravel Road is The South Fork of the Hoh. Very different then Upper Hoh Valley, but very pretty. The ferns actually grow taller there. It is not as developed as those up North.

Yes the cabins are very nice. I saw them at different stages of construction and met a couple from Austria who were the second guests to stay there when only to be cabin was finished. They wanted to photograph Elk and we jumped in my car and did so.

Reply to: Viewing the elk rut
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted