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Thanks to Karlyn Langjahr, guest Blogger: Olympic Coast Discovery Center Manager
Adventure Travelers Winter Itinerary #101 for Washington’s Olympic PeninsulaWinter activities on the Olympic Peninsula are pretty much the same as what you can do during any other time of the year – just with different attire! Hiking, kayaking, surfing, biking.
Two-day Adventure on the Olympic PeninsulaArrival Evening in Port Angeles or surrounding area Go for a run or bike ride along the Olympic Discovery Trail. Be sure to put your lights on! Day 1 ~ Hurricane Ridge - Get up early and head to Hurricane Ridge for some outdoor altitude play! A 45-minute drive takes you into the Olympic Mountains. The road is scheduled to be open Fridays through Sundays and Monday holidays through the end of March, weather permitting. Depending on the weather, it will also be open December 26 to January 3. If the parking lot gets too full, the road may close temporarily, so an early start is good thing! Sitting atop an alpine meadow is the day lodge and observation point. From here you have many choices whether there is snow or no snow! No snow? Wander along the trails and stop at great spots for photo opportunities. Snow? Skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoe, snow board! Carrying chains in the car is mandatory during the winter. Take the Ranger-led snowshoe walk that is about a mile and takes about 90 minutes. Learn lots and see the area in a new way. Sign up at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center when you get there. These walks fill up fast. Minimal cost of $7.00 for adults. $3 for children 6 – 15. Free for children 5 and younger. Scope out places to take your cross-country daring-do. Here’s the scoop for Hurricane Ridge.
Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center
Wilderness Information Center
Olympic National Park
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-565-3130Day 2 ~ Kayaking the the Morning - Depart for Lake Crescent area A deep, clear 12-mile long lake in the Olympic National Park, 17 miles west of Port Angeles along Hwy 101. There are several spot to launch: Fairholm at the far west end, public boat launch at Barnes Point or in front of Lake Crescent Lodge. Other nooks and launch areas can be found. Enjoy the gorgeousness of this special place. Short paddle, long paddle, your choice. Be aware that the weather can change very rapidly on the lake and the wind usually starts to gather steam at noon. Feel like a short hike to loosen up the legs after sitting in the kayak? Trail options around the Barnes Point area are: the Moments in Time or Marymere Falls. The hike to Mount Storm King is longer and difficult but well worth the steep climb. Be REALLY careful in the winter when the ground is slippery. The cliffs are non-forgiving. If it is snowy or icy, save it for summer! Moments in Time Nature Trail is approximately a ½-mile loop trail and offers nice views of the lake and winds through old-growth forest and former homestead sites. It is located between Nature Bridge and Lake Crescent Lodge. A 1/3-mile trail extends from Storm King Ranger Station parking lot. Marymere Falls is a spectacular 90' waterfall just one mile from Lake Crescent. The trail leads through old growth forest with flowering plants and mushrooms in season. If it’s snowing or freezing cold the waterfall becomes fairyland like you’ve never seen. Totally worth the hike, but be really careful crossing the bridge and along the switchbacks. Across the lake near the headwaters of the Lyre River you’ll find the Spruce Railroad Trail that is also part of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The Spruce Railroad Trail connects the North Shore of Lake Crescent and Lyre River trailheads. Much of this relatively flat 4-mile trail runs on or adjacent to the World War I Spruce Railway bed and offers excellent Lake Crescent views.
Have a safe, warm, adventurous time!
- ... search Yelp or TripAdvisor for restaurants with high reviews and read all the restaurant ads in magazines before planning your next travel destination?
- ...have friends who tell you about a chef in an area that prepares amazing local, sustainable food and you start researching how to get there ASAP?
- ...watch TV shows that are on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel?
- …Washington Trail Association’s website is set as a browser favorite.
- …the trunk of your car is a storage unit for at-the-ready adventures; a sleeping pad, dusty hiking boots, snow shoes, extra socks, bug spray, a carabineer.
- …you are blown away by Ed Viesters and like each and every one of his Facebook posts.
- … you love dirt and you tear up a little removing your bike rack at the end of the riding season
- …you plan based on what and where are we going to find something to do for everyone.
- …your activities include touching, tugging, digging and discovering (running up, down and all around while discovering awesome stuff)
- …you want to avoid driving endless hours and plan ahead for stop-offs every 60-90
- … you are driven to make meaningful memories where coming away with some sand or dirt between our fingers and toes
- …you seek out locations that will provide privacy
- …you travel to make memories and plan trips that provide stress-free ease of travel
- …you appreciate the journey as much as the destination
- …you will make dining choices on atmosphere as much as on the food
- Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
- Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
- Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
- Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
- Shopping on Water Street.
- Glenwood Springs, Colorado
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Port Angeles, Washington
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
leaves changing color along Hood Canal. Grab a bite to eat at one of the several places with local seafood. Check out the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop for suggestions. You'll probably see bald eagles and herons, and perhaps a herd of Roosevelt elk. If you pack a lunch, stop at Triton Cove State Park. Continue on Hwy. 101 North to Port Angeles. Fromthere it's about 45 minutes to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Hopefully, there will be new snow on the mountain range. Stunning hike to Hurricane Hill! You can see the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, and the interior of the Olympic Mountains. Overnight in Port Angeles or the surrounding area. Day Two. Heading west on Hwy 101. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Crescent. Take a walk through the woods to Marymere Falls, one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The trailhead can be found turning off Hwy 101 with the signs to Lake Crescent Lodge. The lodge is open until January 1, then closes for the season. Continue around the lake to Hwy 113, the to Hwy112 West. Hwy 112 is one of the newer Scenic Byways in our state. At this time of year the leaves along this route, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca sparkling water to the north, is one of the favorite drives. Scenic it is! Head to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most NW tip of the contiguous US. There is a short hike, mostly on boardwalk to the overlook to Tatoosh Island. You'll often see whales and an array of marine animals and shore birds. Make a stop at the Makah Museum. World-class exhibits you won't soon forget. Either stay along Hwy 112 or wander into Forks or La Push on the Quileute Nation for the night. Day Three. Check out the Visitor Center in Forks, Land of Twilight. You'll be amazed at the map with pins representing visitors' homelands. There's John's Beach Combing Museum in Forks. Take a look at what washes up on our shores. Traveling south on Hwy 101, make a turn into the Hoh Rain Forest. Walk the Hall of Mosses for that other-worldly experience of hiking through canopies of drippy moss. Catch the Ranger-led walk if you can. Back to Hwy 101 and a stop at Ruby Beach. One of our favorites. Continuing south, Kalaloch Lodge has dining and accommodations right above the beach. Or further down Hwy 101, you'll find Lake Quinault with many types of lodging and dining. Interesting fact about Lake Quinault. The National Park owns some of the property around the lake. The Olympic National Forest owns part of the land and the Quinault Nation has jurisdiction over the water. The morning of the fourth day, head back to Seattle/Tacoma/Portland/Olympia. It's closest to keep going on 101, making almost the entire loop.