Tag Archives: Hoh Rainforest

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.

6 Travel Tips for this Spring

Here are six travel tips from a native Olympic Peninsula-ite, who thinks that winter and spring are special times to enjoy the outdoors here. Yes, of course, it can rain, but good gear will negate any reasons to not get out there to enjoy the lush greens and fresh air. You can find exquisite glimpses of nature that only happen at this time of year. There is a quiet solitude on most trails and the beaches entertain the changing weather. Late winter, early spring are good times to come visit. Whether you storm watch or shred the ski slopes, you'll find yourself renewed.
Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

  1. TRAVEL TIP #1.  Do some research before you come. If you aren't one to make reservations ahead, at least check to see if there are activities that may limit hotel availability so you will be prepared. Be sure places you want to go are open and accessible on the days you plan to come. For example, at this time, the Hurricane Ridge Road is open Friday - Sunday. And it depends on the weather. Have a back up plan to find snow if the 'Ridge road is closed and that's your destination. Don't over plan. Give yourself time to enjoy being here. The Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner can help with ideas. OlympicPeninsula.org. PS. If you are bringing your dog, be sure check out the Dog-Friendly Map info from another blog.
  2. TRAVEL TIP #2. Plan your visit by drive times, not by miles. Drive times and distance don't always make sense. For example, if you are planning to drive directly to Neah Bay from Seattle it is only 154 miles, but it takes about 4-1/4 hours to get there. Magnificent scenery along the way, but no freeways. From Port Angeles to Forks, it is 56 miles and takes about 1-1/4 hours. These times are dependent on traffic and weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Please obey the speed limit. There are multiple law enforcement agencies that will be watching!
  3. TRAVEL TIP #3. Pack for wearing layers and bring some rain gear. That's an all-season recommendation for the Olympic Peninsula. You can drive from a sunny Blue Hole in Sequim to the damp, wet rain forest. Some tennis shoes are good for hiking on slick boardwalks and sturdy hiking boots are good for trails if they are muddy. I've seen flip-flops on the beach in the winter and wondered if the people hadn't packed correctly, if they were trying to be one with the Pacific Ocean, or if they were just teenagers. I'm pretty sure their feet were cold no matter their reasons!
  4. TRAVEL TIP #4. Budget accordingly. Ferry (if you take one), gas, food, lodging, park permits, attraction fees and souvenirs. The Olympic Peninsula is abundant with things to do for free and low cost. Check out a previous blog for some free suggestions.
  5. TRAVEL TIP #5. Check out what the locals are doing. The communities around the peninsula are little jewels to explore. Take a look at the local papers, or bulletin boards at grocery stores or shop windows. Join the people who live here to see what they support in their communities. You can find everything from gem shows, to yoga retreats, to baking classes, to fly tying workshops, to "you-name-it" gatherings, to great local theater.
  6. TRAVEL TIP #6. Be realistic. I guess this is the biggest tip - to be realistic. Have an idea what you'd like to do, but remember all the variables. Weather, distance being the two main ones. Don't try to do too much. Come and visit multiple times. Enjoy what you can do while you are here. Maybe one trip is only to go to Sol Duc Hot Springs and see one waterfall there. Maybe the next time you'll go to the beach and stay, checking out a couple nearby beaches. The next time, maybe you will only camp at the Hoh Rainforest and do the hikes from the campground and take a raft trip down the river. You couldn't do all of those itineraries in one weekend. Well, I guess you could, but you'd need some R&R when you got home!
Enjoy your visit. Relax, play, and let the nature of the Olympic Peninsula soak into you.

Accessible Travel on the Olympic Peninsula

Here's a video from the National Forest Service. It takes a quick tour around the Hwy 101 Loop of places to go and things to see that are wheelchair accessible. This is the first blog to start gathering information about wheelchair accessible travel on the Olympic Peninsula. If you can add additional places or ideas for wheelchair exploration, please comment here, or email to communications@olympicpeninsula.org. We want to build an all-inclusive data base! One new great new possibility on the Olympic Peninsula is going for a ride up in a hot air balloon to view the peninsula from above! There is a company based in Sequim, called Morning Star Balloon Co.  An article in the Peninsula Daily News  by Chris McDaniel on Sept. 23, talked about Captain-Crystal Stout, the Chief Flight Officer and Owner, and the special, two-seated aircraft designed for challenged individuals. Captain-Crystal is also the Executive Director of a fantastic non-profit, 501(c)3 foundation called Dream Catcher Balloon Program. To find out more about this awesome program go to Dream Catcher Balloon Program.
PDN article

PDN article. READ MORE

While the weather is still nice this fall, Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and the Meadow Loop Trails are a good place to get outside and enjoy the wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains to the south, and Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands to the north. The Loop Trails offer several short, flat viewing areas. Check out TripAdvisor for some lovely photos of the area. Madison Creek Falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail has a paved trail that runs from the parking lot to the base of the falls. This 200-foot path is paved and near a great spot for picnicking.   Check out OlympicPeninsula.org website for a list of accessible accommodations.  

Traveling this Fall? Trip #32

Traveling around the Olympic Peninsula in the fall can be sublime. The days are usually warm, evenings cool and mornings have that crisp, clean warmth. Here's a quick 3-day itinerary to see the best of the best. Day One. Starting in Seattle or Tacoma. Be ready for a busy day.  Enjoy the splendor of the
Hurricane Hill Hike

Hurricane Hill Hike

Elk in the Dosewallips River

Elk in the Dosewallips River

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. From

there 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.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Fall at Lake Crescent

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.
Olympic Peninsula Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

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. Olympic Peninsula Map

Top Five Fall Campsites

fall campsites Fall is a fantastic time to camp on the Olympic Peninsula. Depending on your campsite, you can see the leaves changing from green to gold, birds on their migration journey, and even salmon making their annual pilgrimage. Between Olympic National Park, Olympic National Forest, state and county parks there are many campsite options. Below are five of our favorite fall campsites on the Olympic Peninsula. Since there are many types of camping- RVing, car camping, backpacking, etc- we've tried to include options for everyone. Sol Duc - On the western side of Olympic National Park is the Sol Duc Valley. Home to Salmon Cascades, Sol Duc Falls, hot spring pools, and dramatic old growth forests, the Sol Duc Valley has much for visitors to explore year round. Campers can pitch their tents beneath the canopy of towering, moss covered trees. In late October and early November visitors can watch coho salmon leap through the air on their journey to spawn up the Sol Duc River. Continue reading

4 Cool Campsites

campsitesThere are many choices of campsites on the Olympic Peninsula. Inspired by Sunset Magazine's "West's Best Camping" issue, we're highlighting 4 Olympic Peninsula campsites where you can keep cool this summer. Dosewallips State Park - Located on the Hood Canal and Dosewallips River, campers can keep cool while exploring the salt and freshwater coastlines. In addition to tent sites and cabins, Dosewallips has platform tents reminiscent of the style early pioneers or loggers would have used. Each tent can sleep up to five people and is furnished with bunkbeds, lights, futon, table and heater. In the evening everyone can gather around the picnic table or sit out on the tent's deck. Heart O'the Hills- Heart O'the Hills is the closest campground to Hurricane Ridge. It has 105 sites, with picnic tables, fire rings, and community bathrooms. The shade from old growth forest provides cover from the summer sun while sitting at camp or exploring. There are hiking trails for most abilities from the campground. The Heart O'the Hills amphitheater has seasonal interpretive programs led by park rangers. Check Olympic National Park's newspaper, The Bugler, for current programs and times. Continue reading

Olympic National Park Celebrates 75 Years

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National park

The road to Hurricane Ridge

Olympic National Park is the Olympic Peninsula's largest natural attraction. Originally established as Olympic Forest Reserve in 1897 it was officially signed into the National Park Service in 1938. Today Olympic National Park is three parks in one. With temperate rainforests, towering mountains, and jagged coasts, there are adventures for every age within its boundaries. In honor of the park's 75th anniversary, here are a few top attractions to see in the park. Hurricane Ridge-  A short 17 mile drive from Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is one of Olympic National Park's most awe-inspiring and popular destinations. Located in the Olympic Mountains, its snow-covered trails attract snowshoers and cross country skiers in the winter. During the brief summer season mountain meadows are covered in bright colored wildflowers. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a great place to start a tour of the park. Rangers can share information about current program schedules, road conditions, weather, and more. There are lots of ways to get kids and teens involved with the park, including internships, volunteer opportunities, the Junior Rangers and the Jr. Ocean Steward program. Junior Ranger Booklets can be picked up at visitor centers throughout Olympic National Park. 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