Tag Archives: Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail

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.    

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.  

Finding Totem Poles on the OP

A Few Totems Around the Olympic Peninsula
Sequim Totem Pole

Sequim Totem Pole

After a meeting in Sequim we stopped to look at the new totem pole installed at the site of the new City of Sequim offices. The totem is the starring highlight of the plaza outside the building. Stop to take a look (and some photos!) on your way through Sequim. The totem represents the sun always shining in Sequim. We know that's true! The legend this pole represents can be found at this link. There is also a geological reason the sun shines a lot in Sequim; and that is because of the rain shadow created by the Olympic Mountains. As weather systems come ashore along the Pacific Coast, the mountains slow the systems down where a majority of rain gets deposited on the western slopes, creating the famous, lush, mossy rainforests. For a description about the rain shadow, Wikipedia does a pretty good job:
Rain Shadow Effect

Rain Shadow Effect

The Dungeness Valley around SequimWashington lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The area averages 10–15 inches of rain per year, less than half of the amount received in nearby Port Angeles and approximately 10% of that which falls in Forks on the western side of the mountains. To a lesser extent, this rain shadow extends to other parts of the eastern Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Island, and parts of the San Juan Islands and southeastern Vancouver Island around Victoria, British Columbia.
Port Ludlow Totem Pole

Port Ludlow Totem Pole

After spending some time examining the Sequim totem, I got to thinking about other totem poles and carvings on the Olympic Peninsula.  Port Ludlow did a re-dedication last July 4th of their 40-foot refurbished totem pole that sits on Burner Point. It was originally carved from a 720-year-old western red cedar that grew near the Hoh Rain Forest and was blown down in the 1993 windstorm. If you get to stop to see this totem, you’ll find places to go kayaking, good food and beverages, and a picture-worthy marina. There are often bald eagles keeping an eye on things around the area. If you have time, Ludlow Falls is not far. OlympicPeninsulaWaterfallTrail.com  
Artists Pavilion, Neah Bay

Artists Pavilion, Neah Bay

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center

PA totem poles

Port Angeles Totem Poles

Another stop on Hwy 101 is in Blyn at the Tribal Center for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Longhouse Market and 7 Cedars Casino. There are several totems at these properties along the edge of Discovery Bay. A stop at the House of Myth (the totem carving shed) at the Tribal Center is a special treat if the doors are open. Stick your head in to watch! They are actively carving totem poles by traditional methods and tools. It smells so good with cedar essence in the air.

Port Angeles waterfront has two totem poles to stop and visit while you pick up additional information you may need from the Visitor Center on Railroad Avenue. One represents our glorious past, our great present and the future for all of us. While you are there you might want to walk out the pier for a view back across the city with the Olympic Mountains in the background.
Carved figures at the Makah Cultural & Resource Center

Carved figures at the Makah Cultural & Resource Center

Part of the Olympic Discovery Trail goes in front of the Visitor Center. This rails-to-trails project along the old railroad line traverses peninsula lowlands, bordered on the south by the Olympic Mountains and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One end point is the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, the other is La Push on the Pacific Ocean. When complete, the trail will be a 130-mile-long, wide, paved path designed for multiple uses: bicyclists, hikers, and disabled users, with a 4’ shoulder for equestrians where appropriate. There are several totem poles in Forks and some lovely carvings in La Push. If you’re in Neah Bay, you’ll see two figures by the Makah Cultural & Resource Center and Museum. Be sure to stop by the new Artist's Center on Hobuck Road, Neah Bay.  

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