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Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

My husband and I, both in our late 60's and in good health, are flying to Seattle

for 12 days in early-mid August 2014. Our main focus is to see Mt. Rainier

and ONP with one day side trips to Victoria and Seattle. We are experienced hikers

but would like to restrict our hikes to less than 5 miles round trip. We recently

hiked in Glacier and found the 10 miles r.t. to Iceberg Lake wonderful, but

exhausting. Seeing as much scenery and wildlife as possible is our goal.

Would love advice on our itinerary.

Thursday Day One Arrive SEA 11am, rent midsize car, and drive to Packwood

via east side of Mt Rainier. On the way, do Grove of Patriarchs and pick up trail maps at

visitor center in Ohanapecosh. Check-in Mt View Lodge for 3 nights

Friday/ Day Two Pack lunch and spend most of day in Paradise area hiking Nisqually

Vista trail and Myrtle Falls. Do Ricksecker Pt, Christine Falls, and Trail of shadows

in Longmire. On way back to Packwood, stop at Reflection lakes, and if time and energy

allows, hike all or part of Bench and snow lakes. Should we skip Trail of Shadows to

have energy for Bench and Snow trail?

Saturday/ Day Three Sunrise area hiking. Sunrise nature trail 1.5 m r.t..

Is this part of Sourdough Ridge Loop trail ? ( the descriptions are unclear)

Also hike the Silver Forest trail as far as Emmons Vista , 1 mile r.t.

If we missed Bench and snow trail, do that before returning to Packwood.

Sunday/ Day Four Check out of lodge and drive to Quinault area of ONP

Pick up trail maps at visitor ctr. Drive up Higley Peak for overall view of area.

check into Quinault River Inn for 2 nights. After supper, look for elk in Bunch field

and hike big Cedar Trail.

Monday/ Day Five Spend day on Quinault Loop Drive concentrating

on south shore's short hikes. Also Irely Lake trail , 1.1 mile (not Skyline Trail)

on north side.

Tuesday/ Day Six Check out of Inn. On the way to forks, go to Ruby and Kalaloch

area beaches. Since we will be there at low tide, will concentrate on tidepools.

How should we dress for this, especially our feet? Check into Forks Motel

for 3 nights.

Wednesday/ Day Seven Full day at Hoh R.F. Since the 10 mile r.t. trip to the Hoh

River is quite far, would it be worth doing only only half way in and back, for 5 miles r.t.?

We'll also do the shorter trails

Thursday/ Day Eight Spend most of day at Upper beaches like Rialto and Hole in Wall

enjoying wildlife and tidepools( low tides only) If time allows possibly visit timber

museum and do the mill tour in Forks (my husband ran a sawmill operation for

many years so we'd enjoy these)

Friday/ Day Nine Check out of motel and visit Sol Duc Valley including Merrimere and

Sol Duc Falls,and Salman Cascades viewing platform. Then Crescent Beach area and

Elwha Madison Falls . Check into Aircrest Motel in P. A.for 3 nights.

Saturday/ Day Ten Take 8:15 am ferry to Victoria,BC (should we walk from motel or

park near ferry?) Walk around Inner harbour area and up to Government street as far

as Chinatown, stopping for lunch along the way. Take water taxi to Harborside Gardens.

Walk to Fishermen's Wharf and then walk Breakwater at Ogden pt. Walk to Beacon Hill

and on to Christ Church Cathedral for the 4pm recital (every Saturday) Walk back

to Inner harbour, stopping at Empress Hotel and Miniature World if we have energy left.

Relax by the harbor and eat supper while waiting for return ferry at 7:30

Sunday / Day 11 Concentrate on Hurricane Hill area hikes, drive to Obstruction Pt.

Visit Elwha to Observation Point if missed on Day Nine. Depending on tides,

visit Murdock Beach( aka Round rock beach) and/or Purple Haze lavender Farm.

Monday / Day 12 Check out very early and drive to Seatac area via Tacoma. Park car, which

will be filled with our luggage, either at airport or the Burien Transit Center Park and

Ride for the day. We will take bus or light rail for day trip to Seattle. We have 11pm

red eye flight home so we'll drop off car to rental agency near airport around 7-8pm

While in Seattle will walk to Smith tower and Chinese room, Klondike

gold rush N.P., monorail to Seattle Center, Olympic Sculpture Park and Pike's Market

and Waterfront. Will probably buy senior bus pass if take bus from Burien and possible

bus rides downtown.

We have flights booked and have lodging reservations. We could still change the order

of our itinerary as well as time allotted each day. Did we schedule too little or too much

time for some of the day trips? Too short or too long at each lodge?

We are not fussy about food and have no allergies, but advice on restaurants

at each location would be wonderful. We will only eat out for supper each night.

Thank you


Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

Thank you for doing some much research in advance. It is a pleasure to read such a detailed, thoughtful itinerary. I do have some ideas that might be useful.

Ruby Beach is as exquisite as its name, but Kalaloch, although impressively large, has few if any tide pools. Try Beach 4 instead. You can wear any kind of comfortable shoe, as you will not be walking in the pools. If you enjoy clambering over rocks at the beach, you might want to bring hiking poles for balance. These could be useful when you go to Rialto Beach. Many visitors there like to clamber over the rocks at Hole in the Wall, which is part of Rialto Beach, not a separate beach. You should also try to get to Second Beach. It's just as beautiful as Rialto Beach but quite different, and the trail to the beach is only 20 minutes. However, you do have to clamber over a huge driftwood barrier to reach Second Beach, so if you are at all unsteady in your feet, this might be a poor choice.

Given the fact that you do not want to any hikes over 5 miles, I don't see how you could begin to fill a full day at the Hoh Rain Forest. The most glorious trails at the Hoh RF showcase the beautiful Hoh River as well as the trees. The River Trail takes you to various sites along the river, but the first really spectacular site is Tom's Meadow, and that is 3 miles out and 3 miles back, so that may be pushing it for you. The Hall of Mosses Trail features some really magnificent trees, and it is short and easy, but it is well away from the river. I think you should realistically budget only a half day at the Hoh. Bring a lunch as there are no services at the visitor center or nearby.

Marymere Falls is not in the Sol Duc Valley. It is in the middle portion of Lake Crescent, at the Barnes Creek turnoff. I assume when you say "Crescent Beach" you mean Lake Crescent? Crescent Beach is another beach on the Straits of San Juan de Fuca, not far from Salt Creek Recreation Center. It is not worth visiting; it is not at all in the same class as Ruby, Rialto, Second, Kalaloch, or Beach 4.

Hurricane Hill hike may be a bit much for you. It is only 90 minutes round trip, but it ascends 700 feet, and most of the ascent is compressed into three steep and tiring portions. It is, however, a surpassingly lovely trail

and well worth the effort. I hope that Obstruction Point Road will be open when you arrive. It should be, but you never know how much snow might still be there in August. It is a scary looking road, but it is actually quite safe as long you drive sanely. There are many pullouts to enable two cars to pass. You probably won't do the hikes at its end, but the drive passes through such incredible mountain scenery that you will be glad you took the trip.

I am surprised you want to visit Murdock Beach. Why? It is all the way out past Joyce, about 30 minutes west Port Angeles, and it is not a pretty beach. Its attraction is that it is a good place to look for geodes and agates, but there is no guarantee of finding any. If you do decide to go, be aware that the entire beach gets swallowed up at high tide, so it is only worth going at low tide. Purple haze is off in the opposite direction, east of Port Angeles and at least an hour away for Murdock beach. You might want to rethink this day's plan, as it has you zigzagging for a couple of hours.

Aircrest is not an attractive place. You could do better in Port Angeles. I know nothing bad about it, but, as I say, it is not attractive either in itself or in its location.

I think your Seattle day will be quite grueling, given the fact that the places you want to see are scattered around, and that you will not be able to go back to a hotel for a break. Don't get up too early that morning. It's going to be a long day.

Seattle, Wa
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2. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

i think your Rainier portion sounds good, but be aware the Ohanepecosh visitor center never opened this year due to sequestration. There will be an additional 8% cut under sequestration to the parks next year as well, so it's unlikely it will be open. Plan on printing out whatever trail maps you can from the website for your hikes until you get get more info at Paradise.

Washington State
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3. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

The Washington Trails Association website has decent descriptions of hikes and includes recent reports from members. That website might help. http://www.wta.org/

Renton, WA
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4. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

Why are you taking a car from Port Angeles to Victoria? The biggest attraction, outside of the city itself, is Butchart Gardens, and there is public transportion from the Empress Hotel to that beautiful place. Victoria is a very walkable city. Leave the car in PA, right across the street from the entrance to the ferry.

Poulsbo, Washington
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5. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

A couple of thoughts. If you want to see elk at Bunch Field go early in the morning or around dusk. I go there all the time and was there last weekend. During the day they are rarely in the open in a big field like that especially in August when you will have plenty of cars relatively speaking. I am assuming you know the River Inn is a basic motel. Just fine though I stay there often. Good price. For 185 you can rent a house where elk graze all the time on the property, but that may be more than you want to spend. You can save money by eating in.

The walk to the big cedar will take very little time. Irely Lake is more lie a pond especially in Summer. No real trail around the tiny lake. The walk to it used to be pretty, but a storm in 93 really took out some great trees. A much better hike is from Graves Creek to Pony Bridge at the end of the South Shore Road. Gravel and a little rough at the end, but worth it. I also think the Falls Creek Loop is a better hike. You will see the biggest firs in the Park. Again the 93 storm blew down a lot of trees, but there are still a few giants. Gatten Creek Trail is also nice.

The Forks Motel is fine, but The Huckieberry Lodge is a much better option for the money. Great spot for the money. They have a good outdoor grill where you can cook and two units have kitchens. You can sit around a campfire at night.

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6. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

Thank you Kaleberg for your kind words and detailed comments. I appreciate very much your

experience and candid suggestions and will make some adjustments to our plan.

Christy1: I have made a note to check the potential closure for next summer. Thank you!

Bobmgr: Sorry for the confusion. We do not plan to take a car on the ferry to Victoria-we'll be

walking the city or using water taxis.

Thank you all

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7. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

Thank you glaciermeadows for the hiking info on Quinault rainforest. We'll skip

Irely and check out the 2 hikes you mentioned.

Does anyone have any info on parking at Burien transit center and taking bus to Seattle?

Also how is parking near the Port angeles ferry while we take a passenger only ride to Victoria?

Port Angeles, WA
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8. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

Parking in Port Angeles will be no problem. There is a lot right across from the ferry dock.

Newtown, PA
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9. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip

I noticed you're planning to go to Hurricane Ridge on a Sunday. When we were in ONP this past August, the road gets closed for one Sunday in August for a bike race. It threw a wrinkle into our plans as that Sunday was the only clear day we had in the park. I would check to see if that bike event won't be on that Sunday when you will be there.

In turn I was so glad we got a chance to drive up Blue Mountain on Deer Park Road instead of Hurricane Ridge. The views at the top were fantastic and there's a short half mile loop trail at the top with more great views. The road is not paved heading up, but was in good shape and I didn't find it that scary of a drive. There were quite a few cars at the top. Just throwing this out as another option.

My pics from Deer Park Road are in this album, photos 175-209.


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10. Re: Advice about August 2014 Mt Rainier and ONP trip


Thank you for the heads up about the possible race! I'll find out, and if necessary

either go to Victoria on Sunday or visit Deer Park and the loop trail instead. Do you think

Hurricane ridge and Deer Park areas could be done on the same day Thanks for the photo link

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