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best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

Georgia
Level Contributor
64 posts
2 reviews
best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

I will be driving to ONP from Seattle in July. I'll be in the area for a week and will be traveling to North Cascades after I leave ONP. What is the best route to take to tour the park? I have never been in this area and would like to experience as much of the park as possible. My husband has limited mobility so we won't be doing a lot of hiking and will be staying in hotels. Should I drive in from Seattle and circle the park to the southwest or the southeast?

Thanks for your help.

Port Townsend...
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
Level Contributor
11,722 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

All of the popular attractions on on the West and the North of the park. How many nights will you spend on the peninsula?

I would work my way around the park from the south and leave to the North Cascades via the Port Townsend ferry. The other option would be to take the Bainbridge ferry and visit just the north and west staying in Port Angeles and Forks/La Push. Then backtrack to the Port Townsend ferry.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,775 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

Seattletennis, I hesitate to write this response because I love ONP, but I don't think your plan is best for you and your husband. ONP is not like Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, etc... Those parks offer drives where you pass through magnificent scenery. Even if you don't get out of the car, you can still enjoy great natural beauty. ONP is not like this. The park is accessed by a two lane highway that runs along the Olympic Peninsula. Most of the road is outside of the park and not along the coast. It is very boring, with only one or two scenic patches such as the 20 minute drive along Lake Crescent or the second half of the 45 minute drive up Hurricane Ridge. For the most part, all you see until you see is clear cut or manage forest, no views of mountains or ocean. In ONP, uou have little sense of being in the park until the very last minute when you drive up to a trail head, and even then, you sometimes have to walk to get to the good stuff.

To make matters worse, there are few hotels in or near the park. The tourism infrastructure here is somewhat limited. There are more than acceptable hotels in Port Angeles and several good restuarants. There are decent but not great hotels in the otherwise dismal little town of Forks and not a single good restaurant. There are a handful of park concessions like Kalaloch Lodge, Lake Quinault Lodge, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, and Lake Crescent Lodge. These places are far apart and tend to book up fast. Finding a good meal in the park is often difficult and sometimes just impossible.

Have you read much about ONP? What did you hope to see? This park is really best for hikers and kayakers. For them, it is a paradise. I gather your husband can walk about a mile. He might be able to enjoy Rialto Beach, where you can drive right to the beach. He could probably do the 20 minute Hall of Mosses at the Hoh Rain Forest and the 40 minute round trip Marymere Falls, although perhaps not the climb to the falls. The Spruce Railroad trail at Lake Crescent is out, as is Second Beach. He could walk around the meadow at Hurricane Ridge, but probably not do much of the Hurricane Hill Trail. I don't know if he could manage the steps down to Sol Duc Falls. They are shallow but descend about 40 feet, and you have to walk a little less than a mile to the falls. Ruby Beach should be possible.

Is it worth it? Only you know the answer. It all would involve a lot of driving for little payoff. For your own sake, do some reading about ONP and see if it serves your purposes.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,722 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

I agree with Pala go south and then west. Return via Port Townsend or Edmonds. I am assumming when you say limited mobility, it means your husband can do Some walking. If he can visit the Park and and enjoy what it has to offer. kaleberg is right when he says it is not your typical National Park, but I you certainly do not have to be a hiker or kayaker to enjoy the Park! Most visitors to ONP are neither. And I am both. If he can walk short distances Rialto and Ruby Beach can be viewed (although Ruby means navigating some drift logs to walk the beach. One does not have to walk very much to enjoy Lake Quinault and some of its short nature trails with world record trees. Same with the Hall of Mosses at the Hoh. Not sure wether he can do an easy .9mile trail to beautiful Solduc Falls. Lake Crescent is worth visiting just for the drive along the shore. and by far most of the visitors to Hurricane Ridge never venture past the parking lots. Great place for a picnic past the Visitors Center. My only advise would to maybe pick to good locals where you can sit a relax and enjoy the moment, since you will be staying for a whokle week. Thje key for you maybe to spend a little extra and pick a good facility. It is getting late to find places, but I can give you some possibilities. Although I usually camp, I decided last week to get away from all the noise of the 4th and found a place for this weekend.

Georgia
Level Contributor
64 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

Yes, please post the possibilities for lodging.

5. Re: best route to take to see Olympic N P from Seattle?

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