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Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

western PA
Level Contributor
5 posts
19 reviews
Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

We plan to stay a few days in the north section (Hurricane Ridge), a few days in the western section (the beaches, Hoh Rain Forest), and possibly a few days in the Quinault area. Is it handier to sleep in outside towns such as Port Angeles, or is it better to stay inside the park (such as at Lake Crescent Lodge)? We hope to do some hiking as well as sightseeing. THANKS!

4 replies to this topic
Renton, Washington
Level Contributor
5,172 posts
1. Re: Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

Port Angeles is the gateway to Hurricane Ridge. Period. The farther west you can find lodging, the better...the ocean beaches and rain forests are all on the west side of the peninsula. If you can sacrifice Hurricane Ridge, ty to find lodging near Lake Quinault; Lake Quinault Lodge, like Lake Crescent Lodge, is a park service concessionaire. There are other lodging choices near Lake Quinault, and there are choices in/near Forks and LaPush.




If a trip to Victoria is in your plans, Port Angeles is the departure point; if that is not the case, consider driving around the south end of the park and approaching your areas of interest from the south. Note that the scenery along that route is less than inspiring until you reach US-1-1.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,771 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

Lodging is not great inside the park, and it's not great outside it, either. Here is one woman's opinion on the choices.

Lake Crescent Lodge has the most beautiful setting of any of the lodgings inside the park; it's right on a truly stunning, pristine lake. However, it is a little over 1 hour from the lodge to the summit of Hurricane Ridge, and it's roughly 30 to 35 minutes from the lodge to Port Angeles, which is where the restaurants are, as well as where the ferry dock to Victoria is. There is an expensive restaurant at the lodge with an ambitious menu. Cooking varies from year to year because there is always a new chef hired for the season. Some years the restaurant is excellent; some years it's terrible. There is a further wrinkle with regards to staying on Lake Crescent in 2019. A massive construction project will be underway along Highway 101 right along the lake. This will result in delays, possibly long delays, as you travel to the west, and it may cause delays to the east as well. Rooms at Lake Crescent Lodge are OK but not luxurious. They are expensive for what you get.

Port Angeles is is much closer to the summit of Hurricane Ridge. It takes about 35 to 45 minutes to reach the top. There are many services and restaurants in PA, but the town is completely lacking in charm, and I am not joking. I enjoy living here, but you need to know what to expect: a remote former logging town struggling to remake itself as a tourist destination. The best hotel in town is Olympic Lodge, which has really nice rooms and good management, but it is located in a small strip mall, so don't expect views. PA is a good choice for Hurricane Ridge, Victoria, and sea kayaking in lovely Freshwater Bay. It has good, if not great, places to eat, a nice wine bar, a nearby movie theater, and some nice brew pubs and live music bars. There are two wineries well worth visiting. If, God forbid, you need medical care, there is a first rate hospital and several excellent pharmacies. There are good groceries and an adorable farmers' market. That's about it.

Kalaloch Lodge has a beautiful setting on a bluff above the ocean, but it is very remote from services of any kind and pretty far from the other attractions of the park. It has a mediocre, rather pricey, restaurant that would be you only choice for dining out. Rooms range from pokey, dark, and small to comfortably large and conveniently furnished. The latter rooms are the more expensive 2 bedroom units with kitchenettes. Try for one of those.

Forks is closer to the gorgeous LaPush beaches and is the closest town to the Hoh Rain Forest. It's still 1 hour from the Hoh, however. Forks is a very bleak, very poor, town with no good restaurants and absolutely nothing to do once you come back from the park. There are some well regarded, convenient rentals near Forks, and the DE's always recommend renting a place with a kitchen so that you can buy food and cook it yourself. There is a good supermarket in Forks.

Lake Quinault Lodge is the grandest of the park concessions. It has a lot of charm, but it is not actually inside the park, and some of the rooms can be a little noisy and bright from parking lights. Be careful choosing your room. The lodge has an excellent restaurant and a real sense of history. There are lovely travels in the nearby Quinault Rain Forest, and Ruby Beach is not too far.

I cannot recommend Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, which is one of the other park concessions. It is close to some wonderful trails, but it is a set of basic huts positioned around a big parking lot. There is also Log Cabin Resort, which is on the eastern shore of Lake Crescent. The setting is great, but the accommodations are simpler than those at Lake Crescent Lodge, and they have garnered mixed reviews.

Port Townsend...
Level Contributor
3,904 posts
90 reviews
3. Re: Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

Kaleberg, excellent and thoughtful summary on the lodging choices.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,722 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Port Angeles vs Lodging Inside Park

There are several good lodging options in the Forks area. The Lake Front rooms are much quieter. There are also other options at Quinault.

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