Tag Archives: Hiking

Olympic National Park Entrances

Hwy 101 Scenic Byway map

Olympic Peninsula Hwy 101 Scenic Byway

From Hood Canal to Lake Quinault, follow the Highway 101 Scenic Byway to find several possibilities for entering the Olympic National Park. Each place offers different terrain, experiences, and chances to learn more about the park. PORT ANGELES - The primary Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily 8:30am - 5:00pm. General information, a children’s Discovery Room, bookshop, maps, exhibits and a near-by nature trail makes this a must stop while in Port Angeles. Be sure to take time to watch the movie. If it isn't running, just ask one of the rangers to start it. For park information call 360-565-3130. If all you want to check is the 24- hour recorded road and weather update, call 360-565-3131. If you need backpacking information or permits, or to acquire required bear cans for backcountry camping, check with the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) May 1 - June 11,  8am - 4:30pm daily June 12 - September 10, 8am - 5pm daily (until 6pm Friday, Saturday) September 11 - 30, 8am- 5pm daily.
Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

HURRICANE RIDGE - The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:30pm with information, maps, exhibits, an orientation film, and nearby trails. The snack bar and gift shop are open daily 10:00am - 6:00pm. The information desk is staffed daily 10:00am - 5:30pm. Enjoy the Terrace Talk, daily 10:30am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm. Learn about this amazing wilderness park at a 20-minute talk. Topics vary. Join the easy one-hour guided walk to explore life in the mountains for a Meadow Walk, daily at 11:30am. and 2:00pm. Discover wildlife, wildflowers and other features of the Olympic landscape. HEART O’ THE HILLS - At Heart O’ the Hills Campground amphitheater, join others to enjoy the Evening Program,on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards. Junior Ranger Forest Activities are on Saturday at 10:00am for one hour of forest activities. Meet at the campground amphitheater.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

LAKE CRESCENT - Storm King Ranger Station is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 4pm with information, activities for kids, and access to trails. Join the Marymere Falls Forest Walk on Fridays at 10:00am. Meet on the Lake Crescent Lodge porch for this easy, 1-1/2-hour guided hike. Got a younger one with you? How about them becoming an Olympic Junior Ranger? This program starts Saturdays 10:30am at Storm King Ranger Station. Join a ranger for an hour of hands-on activities. One of the highlights of summer in the park are the evening programs. Lake Crescent evening gatherings are on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:30pm at Storm King. Learn more about the park after dark. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station. MORA - Beginning June 25, the Mora Ranger Station is open Friday - Monday 1:00 - 5:00pm for   information and maps. Bark Rangers - If you have a dog with you, you might want to show up on Saturdays, Sundays at 10am at the Rialto Beach Trailhead. Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. There is also an Evening Program - Monday, Friday 8:00pm at the Mora Campground amphitheater. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.
beach

Kalaloch Beach

KALALOCH - Kalaloch Ranger Station is open daily with information, exhibits, bookshop, and maps. Science on the Shore is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Times and topics vary with changing tides. Explore the shore with a ranger in this hands-on program. Schedule and location information will be listed on bulletin boards. Vacation Volunteers can take a walk on the coast with a ranger and help leave this park better than you found it -  Saturdays 10:00am - noon.  Bark Rangers - Daily, 1:00 p.m. at  at Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. Meet at the Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo, daily at 1:00pm.  The Evening Program is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm at the Kalaloch Campground amphitheater. Topics on bulletin boards. QUINAULT RAIN FOREST - Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on North Shore Road is open Thursday - Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm. It is closed for guided walks and lunch. You find information, exhibits, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. Life in the Rain Forest Walk is scheduled Thursday - Monday at 1:00pm. Learn about rain forest plants, animals and homesteader lore. Meet at Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station for this easy 1-1/2-hour, 3/4-mile walk.
Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

HOH RAIN FOREST - The remodeled Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:00pm. At this visitor center you'll find general park information, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. You can get backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans here. There is the Rain Forest Walk at 2pm daily. Learn about giant trees, wildlife and more on this 1-1/2-hour easy walk on the Hall of Mosses or Spruce Nature Trail. Meet at the Hoh Visitor Center. The popular Evening Program begins at 8:00pm at the Hoh Campground amphitheater. Dates and topics on local bulletin boards.
Staircase trailhead sign

Staircase Trailhead Sign

STAIRCASE -  At the south end of Hood Canal you'll find the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park. The Ranger Station hours vary. They do have information, exhibits, maps, trails nearby. If you are headed into the North Fork of the Skokomish River you will need backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans that are available. Thursday through Sunday at 2:00pm there is a Forest Walk.  Meet at bridge for 1-1/2 -hour walk by the Skokomish River. Discover Staircase!  on Sundays at 10:00am. Meet at the ranger station for this 1/2 -hour talk about the plants, animals or history of Staircase area. Fun for all ages! Evening Program is held Thursday through Saturday 7:30pm. Meet at the Staircase amphitheater.

Thirteen Special Places

Get ready to overload your schedule with 10 + 3 special places on the Olympic Peninsula. There have been several lists compiled over the last few weeks, all with gorgeous photos and travel hints for the peninsula. Let's start with ExOfficio's  10 Totally Amazing Places to See on the Northern Olympic Peninsula. This list has amazing photos, as well as short descriptions of some of our favorite places.
Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

We totally agree that the places on ExOfficio's list shouldn't be missed, but we think there are a couple missed opportunities to get into the flavor, history and fun. Dungeness Spit is mentioned #1 in ExOfficio's list and we are glad it made the list.  Dungeness Spit is especially precious. It's the longest natural sand spit in the USA. The 5.5-mile walk out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse is a test of endurance, since the walk is totally on sand.  You can sign up to be a lighthouse keeper for a week. Lots of responsibility, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or as the lighthouse keepers website says, Stay a Week...Memories for a Lifetime!
SR112 Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum and Joyce General Store count as one stop.  Summer hours for the museum are Thursday - Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Try to go when Margaret is there. She is the all-knowing docent of wisdom when it comes to the area. The log building, built in 1914, was once the train depot. Now it houses historic photographs, newspapers and examples of the days gone by.  Lots of artifacts and info about the recent Elwha River dam removal project is housed here. Take a reality step back in time when you enter the General Store. It's still got its brass mail boxes and absolutely everything you could possibly need - from motor oil to Wesson oil, from brushes to clean mushrooms to brushes to paint the house. Plus they have bumper stickers that say, "I ♥ Joyce", a definite memento for anyone you know named "Joyce".
John's Beachcombing Museum

John's Beachcombing Museum

John's Beachcombing Museum. A new must-do on the peninsula - near Forks. Here are some comments from visitors to this unique collection:
  • "Some very cool and very unusual stuff in there!"
  • "This place is amazing!!! I am an environmental science teacher and I learned an amazing amount of information about what washes up on our shores. Thanks John for a great and informational time."
  • "Absolutely loved our trip through John's museum. It was great listening to John's stories and the kids were totally engaged from the drive in until we drove away... Thanks John, this is a must see and we will be back." Admission to tour the museum is $5. Prepare to spend some time there! It's open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or for group tours by appointment, for more information or questions call 360-640-0320.    

Stars! Stars! Get Close to Famous Stars!

John Goar

John Goar with two of his telescopes

If you’re around the Olympic Peninsula and can get to Hurricane Ridge for the telescope viewing and full moon hikes, don’t miss it! This is an advantage of high elevation (5,242') with little ambient light. 2014 is the fifth consecutive summer of public telescope viewing at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. You may get to see Saturn and her moons, globular cluster M13, planetary nebula M57 (a.k.a. The Ring Nebula and galaxy M31 (a.k.a. The Andromeda Galaxy). Did you think Andromeda was only in science fiction? Plus, you can take your imagination other mysterious, far-away places through the scope eyepiece.
  • July 22 and 23 - 10:45pm
  • July 24 – July 30 beginning at 10:30pm
  • Aug. 14 - Aug. 20 beginning at 9:45pm
  • Aug. 21 - Aug. 29 beginning at 9:30pm
John Goar, your host through space, is the Astro-VIP at Olympic National Park -- a volunteer who leads free public telescope viewing. John is a member of the Olympic Astronomical Society, an astronomy club that meets monthly in Bremerton, Washington.  John is also a certified Master Observer by the Astronomical League. In the offseason, John teaches math and science at Kingston Middle School in Kingston, Washington. The Olympic Astronomical Society will have their 17th Annual OAS Hurricane Ridge Star Party on July 26th and on August 23rd, weather permitting.  Most OAS members will be happy to have the public look through their telescopes! Full Moon Hike to Hurricane Hill
  • Saturday August 9, Sunday August 10 - DEPART 8:30pm
A three-mile, round-trip hike.  Meet at Hurricane Hill Trailhead. It is a 1.5 miles drive beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Please wear sturdy shoes.  A constellation tour will occur at the top of Hurricane Hill. Both the Telescope Program and the Full Moon Hikes will cancel if there is cloud cover. For cancellation due to clouds, visitors can call the Hurricane Ridge Road Hotline on the day of the program after 3 pm.  (360) 565-3131.

Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic Discovery TrailThe Olympic Discovery Trail connects North Olympic Peninsula towns on the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific Coast. This unique way to explore the Olympic Peninsula includes more than 130 miles of paved trails which wind through towns, forests, river valleys, mountains, and coastlines. The Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) is open to travelers, and their pets, using non-motorized modes of transportation. This includes hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. ODT can be done as a whole or broken into smaller sections for shorter day trips. The four main sections are:
  • East End the Sound and Bay Section which includes Port Townsend, Discovery Bay, Sequim Bay, and Miller Peninsula
  • East Central the River and Prairie Section with Blyn, Sequim, Dungeness Prairie Cross, and Port Angeles Harbor
  • West Central the Foothills and Lake Section which includes Port Angeles, Elwha River, Lake Crescent, and Joyce
  • West End the Forest and Ocean Section with Sol Duc Valley, Forks, and Pacific Beaches Continue reading

Backcountry Camping and Hiking on the Olympic Peninsula

Hiking on the Olympic Peninsula

Hiking on the Olympic Peninsula

Hiking and backcountry camping are great ways to explore tthe Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park have trails, campgrounds, and dispersed campsites to suit all types of outdoor enthusiasts. Year round Big Quilcene Trail #833 follows the Big Quilcene River along old growth forests and lush meadows into the Buckhorn Wilderness. This is a beautiful area for a day hike. Backpackers hoping for an extended trip can follow the trail to Upper Dungeness and Tubal Cain Mine Trails. Continue reading

Venturing to the Enchanted Valley

13  Quinault, Enchanted ValleyLocated in Olympic National Park is one of the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail's most spectacular destinations: the Enchanted Valley, also known as the Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls. Snowmelt and winter rains lead to cascading waterfalls along the cliffs. During the full moon in June, the waterfalls are often at their peak. The trail head for the Enchanted Valley hike is about 6.5 miles from Lake Quinault Lodge along Graves Creek. The hike into the valley is about 13 miles one way through temperate rainforest and is usually done as a backpack trip. Camping here during the summer months is an awe-inspiring experience. Imagine falling asleep to the sounds of multiple rushing waterfalls. Check with the back country ranger at Olympic National Park to find out when the trail is open.  360-565-3102. Camping permits are available at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles and the South Shore Lake Quinault Ranger Station located next to Lake Quinault Lodge. No reservations necessary.   Black bears also enjoy visiting the area. Please remember to use caution and bear canisters.

Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail – A Magical Misty Tour

Waterfall Trail Madison Falls

Madison Falls

The Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail is a self-guided tour including more than two dozen waterfalls.  Nicknamed the Magical Misty Tour, the Waterfall Trail covers rainforests, mountains, coastlines, and other landscapes. A number of waterfalls are reached by short, easy hikes. Some are even handicap accessible. Marymere and Sol Duc Falls are popular cascades easily reached year-round. In contrast, to reach Striped Peak Falls requires a moderate hike. This waterfall is best viewed from November to May. The Enchanted Valley is a spectacular destination for backpackers. This area is also known as the Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls. At least one hidden gem, Maple Creek Falls, is visited by boat only. Continue reading

The 11 Essentials For Hiking

Switchback Trail to Mt Angeles- don't forget the essentials for hiking

Bring your 11 essentials for hiking to have a fun and safe trip

The Olympic Peninsula has many amazing hiking trails. To help dayhikers and backpackers be safe and prepared we're sharing the 11 Essentials for Hiking. Versions of this list are shared by many hiking associations including the Washington Trails Association and outdoor retailers like REI. Whether heading out for an afternoon or a few days, having these essential items will help you be prepared for unexpected situations. 1. Navigation (map and compass) 2. Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses) 3. Extra Clothing 4. Head Lamp/Flash light Continue reading

12 Olympic Peninsula Things To Do Before You’re 12 – Part 1

#1 and #2:  Visit the Temperate Rain Forest in the Hoh Valley of the Olympic Peninsula
Hoh Rain Forest Olympic Peninsula

Mossy Hoh Rain Forest

Among the only protected temperate rain forests in the Northern Hemisphere, the Hoh Rain Forest is a not-to-be-missed attraction on the West Side of the Olympic Peninsula. Moisture-laden air from the Pacific brings an average of 140 inches of annual rainfall to the Hoh Valley, (record of 190 inches) in addition to condensed mist that contributes another 30 inches. Nineteen miles inland from Hwy 101 you’ll find the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. Here, three loop trails are easy to stroll and give a great sampling of the area: The Hall of Mosses Trail is 3/4 mile and shows the moss-draped maples, magically green in the spring, spectacular with color in the fall, and a treat any time of year; the 1-1/4 mile Spruce Nature Trail meanders through the late-secessional (younger) forests of red alder and cottonwood, showing the landscape carved by this glacier-fed river; and a paved ¼-mile nature path suitable for a wheelchair or stroller. Rangers are available for interpretive walks and children can participate in the Junior Ranger Program, ending by being sworn in as a Junior Ranger by one of the Olympic National Park rangers.
  1.  Hoh Rain Forest: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-the-hoh.htm
  2.  Junior Ranger Program: http://www.nps.gov/olym/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm