Driving The Olympic Loop

CaptureOne common question asked by visitors coming to the Olympic Peninsula is:  Can we drive all the way around the Peninsula in one day? The answer is YES! But would you WANT to? It's about 308 miles around and takes about seven, non-stop driving hours. Since there are three wildly different worlds in one - misty rain forests, snow-capped summits, and rocky shores—wouldn't you want to experience them all while you are here. For an American locale, the names sound vaguely exotic, distinctly different: Dosewallips, Elwha, Queets, Hoquiam. And how fitting, for the territory they share makes up the moody, remote, and richly varied corner of the continental United States.

Lupine near Hurricane Ridge

The drive is a popular year-round excursion, best road conditions being from April through October. By staying overnight along the Loop, YOU, the visitor can experience the richness the area. If you simply drive the Loop, you would miss Hurricane Ridge, Rialto Beach, the Sol Duc Hot Springs and the Hoh Rainforest. Not to mention the abundance of waterfalls. Check out OlympicPeninsulaWaterfallTrail.com.
Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral pools

Sol Duc Hot Springs

Lodging is available along the Loop and at certain places branching off the Loop. Take a look at all the lodging by clicking here.
Fresh Shelled Oysters

Fresh Shelled Oysters

And, of course, while you are traveling around the Loop, you'll need/want to eat. Dine on scrumptious Olympic Coast Cuisine. From Dungeness crab and clams to wild salmon or halibut, to local cheeses, ciders, chocolates and farm fresh produce, you will find fresh and fabulous along the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop. Check here for members of the Culinary Loop. Words to the wise: Bring adequate rain gear when hiking and camping. You never know about the weather here. And, dress in layers. It could go from drizzle to warm and sunny back to rain in no time! Don't forget to take the 10 Essentials in your backpack when you are on the trails. And, when you go beach walking, consult a tide table. For further information: Olympic National Park, 600 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles, WA 98362; tel. 360-565-3130;  www.nps.gov/olym/.  Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, 360-452-8552, 800-942-4042, www.OlympicPeninsula.org

2 thoughts on “Driving The Olympic Loop

  1. HikingMike

    I wish Sol Duc Hot Springs was open more of the year because we would love to go! We have made visiting the Olympic Peninsula and doing a partial loop a new yearly tradition in February, hitting new spots each time and some favorites again. Cold weather is the best time for a hot springs soak anyway!

    And, yeah, no way you can do it in one day if you want to do a few things along the route. We did it in 2 days our first trip, and increased it to 5 days last time.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hi HikingMike,
      We couldn’t agree with you more about wanting the Sol Duc open more in the winter. It would be so nice to soak with snow flakes coming down.

      I assume you know about the Olympic Hot Springs? These are natural springs up the Elwha River Valley. Primitive. Clothing seems to be optional attire at these springs….just sayin’.


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