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Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

Elkton, Maryland
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Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

First off, thanks to all responders. And thank you Kaleberg, for your most excellent website - extremely helpful.

So...we fly to SEATAC on a Friday, stay through the weekend. (Stepson lives there.) Monday a.m. we drive to Port Angeles - stay one night - hope to do some hiking in the Hurricane Ridge area both Monday pm and Tuesday am. Tuesday mid day we drive to Forks where we spend T/W/Th nights. We hope to do one of the days at the Hoh Rainforest area and the other exploring along the coast. Friday we drive south, want to stop at Lake Quinalt, and then maybe a stop at the Wolf Preserve (again, thanks Kaleberg for that tip) and then over to Packwood (Mt Rainier area) where we spend the next three nights.

Questions are - a. what is the recommended route from Seattle (Ballard area) to Port Angeles? Mapquest gives a few options. It will be a Monday a.m. around 10 or so.

b. If we leave Hurricane Ridge by 2 the next day, can we drive over to Forks to get to our VRBO rental before dark (allowing for a stop at a grocery store to stock up)? Do we have time for a stop at Lake Crescent? Was planning to take 101 all the way - is that the best choice?

c. When we leave Forks on Fri a.m., do we have time to stop at the Wolf Preserve, and maybe Lake Quinalt, and still get to Packwood by dinner time?

d. Re weather - we like to hike and are fairly well outfitted. But i am confused re the weather. I know there may be snow on trails, but should we plan for it to actually SNOW on us? Last July we were at Glacier NP and it blizzarded on us on a high trail. We had hats/gloves, etc and were GLAD we did. Do I need them on this trip as well? (ONP dates are 7/30-8/3)

e. We are not particularly 'city' people - but we have Fri-Mon in Seattle. Anything interesting we should see/do? More interested in landscape stuff. We can figure out the Pikes Place Market ourselves.

f. I have read that there is road improvement/construction in the ONP area. Will it greatly interfere with any of the plans I outlined above?

Again - thank you so much. Our vacations are limited and therefore so valuable to us. TripAdvisor helps us to really make the most of the experience.

Amy

Snoqualmie...
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1. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

a) If you are staring in Ballard, take the Edmonds ferry over to Kingston. The ferry runs more frequently than the Bainbridge ferry, and you'll avoid all of the construction near the Seattle waterfront.

b. yes, easily. the days are long and it;s not that far.

c. yes, but I'd get up early. It's a full day.

d. you've got a better chance of seeing a Sasquatch than seeing snow, You may get a cold rain, but you won't see snow. There may be snow on the ground, but it won't snow on you. Dress in layers.

e.If you are not city people. how bout a loop trip over the Cascades?

f. Not more than any other vacation. Check before you go about specific road construction. In the northwest we do a lot of our road construction the summer, but this is nothing to cause you to delay a trip to the Olympics. Make sure to see the beaches near Forks!

Edited: 02 July 2012, 02:50
Poulsbo, Washington
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2. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

I do not know anything about construction projects on the Penninsula. We just got back from Forks after two nights. There was no construction happening. Yes you would have plenty of daylight left to stop for groceries on your way to Forks. Sunny Farms, just west of Sequim has great produce and meat. Always worth a stop.There is a decent Thriftway in the middle of Forks for anything else you need including clothes and camping supplies etc.. You will be driving the length of Lake Crescent, so you will see plenty of it. Most trails should clear of snow by the end of July around Hurricane Ridge. You will not need gloves. Some kind of hat is a good idea more for sun or possible rain. Temps in the mountains should be at least in the 60's during the day if not higher.

Yes you want 101! You do not have time on your way to Packwood to do anything at Lake Quinault. It is only 5 minutes off of 101, If you want a quick look at the Lake, you can but you need hours to really make a visit worth while.

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

Forks is only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Port Angeles. You will have plenty of time for stops.

As NapoDyno has said, the Edmonds Ferry is a good choice for you. It's great you are coming out to the Peninsula on a Monday. You will be going counter to any traffic, and the ferry should not be too crowded.

I have been up to the summit of Hurricane Hill three times over the last two weeks. This is turning out to be a great year for the Olympic Golden Marmots; I saw nine of them frisking around the trail. The last time I did the Hurricane Hill hike in shirt sleeves. The snow on the trail is melting fast, and by late July virtually all of it will be gone. There may be a very short stretch right around the middle of the hike where the shade will preserve a few yards of snow on the trail, but you should be able to manage in sneakers. However, it is my hope that by the time you get here Obstruction Point Rd. will be open. If it is, and if you plan to take the trails there, be prepared for long snowy patches on parts of the trail. Hiking pools should be all you need to get through them. Yak Trax are even better. It should be sunny and mildly warm with no chance of snow whatsoever, but do bring layers in case it gets chilly or windy. A hat, as Glaciermeadow suggests, is essential, as are sunglasses.

I haven't encountered any road construction out here. Could you be thinking of the Elwha Dam removal? If so, don't worry about it. It has no effect on the roads.

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

Your plan sounds pretty good. The 101 around the ONP is fantastic. I've done it and hope to take my mom and sister sometime.

My only suggestion is to cut the time in Forks down to a night. Forks folks will hate me for saying it, but there is nothing there. It is often billed as being close to all the the things in the ONP, but truthfully, it's not. There's nothing much there. It is a good place to stay overnight to get a jump on a long day hike at Point Alva, Lake Ozette, or Hoh but you could stay much better places. For example you could skip Forks all together and stay at Sol Duc for a night, then head down to Hoh in the morning, then stay at Kalaloch the next night. Both places are within the ONP. Sol Duc is literally at some of the trail heads and has hot springs. Kalaloch is literally on the beach in the ONP intertidal zone and within spitting distance of other great beaches. It's also fairly close to Lake Quinault which would give you a chance to stop there on your way over to Packwood.

If you plan to go to Paradise or Sunrise at Mt. Rainier to hike please be over prepared: warm and cold/snow clothes. Paradise is the snowiest place on earth with about 600 to 700 inches of snow a year. Currently there is about 100 still on the ground. Paradise is at 5,400 ft and Sunrise is at 6,400. It can snow in the summer. A friend once forgot his gloves while hiking there in the summer and nearly got frostbite when a storm blew in in July.

I live near the mountain and volunteer in the park. It has it's own weather system, it's rugged, and even in July you will likely find parts of some trails aren't melted out. It is a fabulous place to visit, and I encourage everyone to go - but please be prepared and be careful. Last year a number of people were injured trying to traverse trails that had not melted out. I suspect this year is going to be similar and some of the trails may not melt out at all this year.

Poulsbo, Washington
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5. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

I have never heard anyone say Forks is close to everything in the Park, but it is close to three of the best sites. The Hoh Rainforest, Second and Rialto Beach. It also has several nice places to stay. There are some nice cabins where you can cook in, since eating out is the problem. Unless you like rustic I would not stay at Sol Duc. Camp yes.

seattle
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6. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

From Ballard to a ferry across Puget Sound, I usually go to the Seattle ferry terminal via 15th, Elliott, and Alaskan Way and take the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry. Getting to the terminal is almost a straight shot and much closer than Edmonds. The viaduct construction hasn't held me up going south on Alaskan Way to the ferry terminal as the the right hand lane on Alaskan Way is now a dedicated lane for ferry traffic approaching the terminal entrance.

I go to Edmonds when I want a change of scenery.

Going on to Port Angeles, the route from the Hood Canal Bridge onward is the same going by either the Seattle-Bainbridge Island or Edmonds-Kingston ferry.

Elkton, Maryland
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7. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

Feedback from our trip: Well, we're back and it was amazing. Everything worked perfectly. On our free day in Seattle, we drove up to Chuckanut Drive (sp?) and had a lovely day.

We toured the Boeing plant in Everett which was FANTASTIC on the way.

We took the Edmonds ferry as suggested and it worked perfectly. Stayed in Port Angeles and hiked 2 days at Hurricane Ridge. BEST HIKING OF OUR LIVES. We should have stayed longer.......

Drove to stay at a VRBO outside of Forks, which was fine. Went to Rialto Beach, which was nice for an hour or two but that's all. Did the Hoh Rainforest and Sol Duc Falls, but NOTHING compared to the Hurricane Ridge area. I cannot stress enough how incredible it was.

Stopped at Ruby Beach on our way out of town to Mt. Rainier. It was so foggy we couldn't see anything.

Never went into Forks at all - just one time to stock up on food from their grocery store (which is by no means a big supermarket). Cooked all our meals at our rental (which we prefer) and packed lunches for the trail.

It was a wonderful trip and Obstruction Point Road (which had just opened a few days prior) was the highlight of the whole week.

Cannot thank my friends from Trip Advisor for making our time so special.

Ever coming out my way (NY, Philly, Maryland)? Glad to return the favor.

OH and I got a private message on here from a guy who was going to be out there the same time we were - and we MET him on the trail. How cool is that?

Thanks again

Amy

8. Re: Few questions prior to late July ONP trip...

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