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Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Danville, California
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Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

We will leave San Juan Island on Monday 9/5 for 5 nights exploration of Olympic National. My current thought was to include a stay at Lake Quinault? The morning of the 10th (10AM) we are picking up people at the Portland Airport and headed to Dundee for 2 nights to visit the wineries! I was planning a drive via Astoria.

How would the experts space out their locations to stay? Which route to drive (Couperville to Port Townsend)? Kaleberg, your website is extraordinary and I will be using it for detail hikes, wineries, beaches, etc for our overall excursions?

We have a pretty flexible budget! VRBO, B&B's or stay in Park accommodations?

Thanks for any input!

Poulsbo, Washington
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1. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

http://www.quinaultrainforest.com/

Here is a link for the Quinault Valley. The Lodge is quite nice, although I prefer the Lakeside Rooms. There are plenty of easy day hikes around the Lake. This is Rainforest. Into the middle of September the Roosevelt Elk herds are going thru the rut which means the large bulls are bugeling to their females. If you are luck you will witness this. Drive the south shore and North Shore Loop and look for herds in the Maple glades along the river. You can see some of my photos taken this year and last. My favorite easy hike is to Pony Bridge. The valley has lots of waterfalls. I would start by staying two nights in Port Angeles. Pick your best weather day to explore the Hurricane Ridge area. I was there a week ago and the wildflowers were wonderful although they will be further along when you get here. Also explore lake Crescent and drive to the end of the Sol Duc Valley and hike the 1 mile to Beautiful Sol Duc Falls. I would then spend two nights in Forks and hit the Ocean Beaches (Rialto and Second) and spend a day at the Hoh . Be on the lookout for Elk. At dusk you can see them in the fields just outside the Park boundry. I will include a link for Forks. I would choose the Quiieute River Resort. Good food is the only problem with Forks. You are booking late, but at least it is after the holiday.

http://www.forkswa.com/

Port Townsend...
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2. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Coupeville/Port Townsend is about your only, and the best, choice for getting to the Olympic NP. Be sure to get reservations for the Coupeville/PT ferry, though most of the heavy traffic will be going the opposite direction it is always recommended - especially since it will be the end of a holiday weekend.

I would only disagree with glaciermeadow a bit...two nights in Forks is a bit much. I am biased but would encourage you to stop in Port Townsend (maybe stay the evening) enroute - historic, "Victorian", artsy, sailing/boating, maritime center and plenty of good food (to make up for the rest of your Olympic trip).

Since you are probably going to be ending up in the Quinault area (sw corner of the park/peninsula) it is a nice drive down Hwy 101 to Astoria, there I would consider seeing the Long Beach peninsula (much much more developed than Washington's northern coast but mostly in a not so bad aspect - especially the inland/bay side.)

Astoria also has some interesting accommodations and sites - Lewis & Clark Natl Memorial/Ft Clatsop, Maritime Center Museum, the Columbia River: bridge/bar/bay...) The airport is on the other side of Portland, from Astoria, but it has some easy access. Dundee will get you right in the midst of good wineries.

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Rather than staying in Forks and Port Angeles, consider staying at Lake Crescent. It makes a perfect base for exploring Hurricane Ridge, Rialto and Second Beach, the Sol Duc Valley, and even the Hoh Rain Forest. Since you will have three or four nights, you could try renting one of the houses on Lake Crescent itself. At that time of year, it might be possible to book a place for under a week. (Note: I own and rent out a house on Lake Crescent, but I speak without prejudice here, as my house is rented during the time of your visit). If renting does not suit you, how about staying in Lake Crescent Lodge?

I agree with Perret about the charms of Astoria. Ft. Clatsop is great, and the Columbia bar is awesome.

Poulsbo, Washington
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4. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

I do not disagree with Perret or Kaleberg, but my reason for suggesting two nights in Forks is to spend as much time as possible at the Hoh and the Olympic Beaches. I agree Forks leaves a lot to desire, but when I go to the westside of the Park I personally want to be there as long as possible and not backtrack. Morning and late afternoon means less people, sunsets and lowtides. Again I only use my accommadation to sleep as there is plenty to do. Lake Crescent is another option. I think the Resort I mentioned is quite nice. Food in the area is another matter.

Danville, California
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5. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Yes it is at least after the holiday otherwise we would be who knows where? What a mess!

First thank you all for the great suggestions. At first I was going to do the 2 Port Angeles (Meadow Inn looked terrific) and then 2 Forks per glaciermeadow. But our typical MO for National Parks is to stay in the park to avoid long in and out drives and enjoy the "delicious" food. So Kalebergs suggestion for Lake Crescent won out, except!

The VRBO offerings had only ONE property available at Lake Crescent which surprised me. I then called Aramark for Lake Crescent Lodge and Lake Quinault Lodge. For accommodations we change rooms each night (2 Lake Crescent (Roosevelt, then Singer), 1 Sol Duc Hot Springs (looks like hippieville?) and then a Lakeside room at Lake Quinault. This current wound is self-inflicted with my unbelievably late planning. But one of my favorite sayings is we all make our own bed(s), so sleep in it (them)!

So hopefully a little perseverance will get us 3 nights at Lake Crescent in the same room? The Mrs will not know our plight until the last minute!

The Astoria waterfront properties are higher priced than I expected? Cannery Pier really high and eventually I will come to grips with the HI Express at $240 (20% off to book 14 days in advance (yes unbelievable planning))!

Edited: 29 August 2011, 19:23
Green Valley...
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6. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Suggest you post on the OR Forum; much has been said there about lodging in Astoria.

Danville, California
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7. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Plan B?

Reading the reviews about Sol Duc Hot Springs leave me a little "cold"!

Where would be the next best spot to locate (Forks?) for a night before heading to Lake Quinault?

Thanks.

Poulsbo, Washington
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8. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

I have never stayed at Sol Duc, as i have mostly been a backpacker over the years. What I have seen at the facility has not apealed to me. Again although I have not checked it out for a while I think Quilleute River Resort on the river is nice if it is avalable. Otherwise the Pacific Inn and Forks Motel are fine. At Quinault I personally prefer the Lakeside Rooms as they ar quiet, modern and larger.

Port Angeles, WA
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9. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

Here's the thing about Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. The "resort" consists of a lodge type building and a set of small cabins around a parking lot. The lodge contains a small general store and a fairly good restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have had good salmon and honest WA red wine there. Behind the lodge are a set of swimming pools into which the water from the hot springs is piped. The cabins are clean and, I have read, pretty comfortable, but they are very basic. On the other hand, there are superb hiking trails leading from the cabins, and one of the best trails in the park, the trail to Sol Duc Falls and beyond to Deer Lake and the Potholes, is just down the road. Frankly, I would take Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort over Forks because the food is better, and the setting is great. But you are quite remote, and there is no cell phone coverage due to the valley location.

Danville, California
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10. Re: Suggested Itinerary 5 Nights = 9/5 to 9/10

@Kaleberg

Thanks for the input about Sol Duc Falls. The remoteness and setting is a positive for us. Plus I have never owned a cell phone, so I will not know what I am missing!

What are your thoughts about this rental unit at Lake Sutherland?

http://www.vrbo.com/350667#rates

Thanks