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itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Sugar Land
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itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

We will be at the Lake Crescent Lodge with my in-laws and four kids, ages 10-16, arriving the evening of July 30th and heading to Cannon Beach, OR on August 2nd. This will be our 1st trip to the area, and we love moderate hikes, tide-pooling, and enjoying beautiful scenery. My mother-in-law has mobility issues but is happy to sit at a pretty spot while the rest of us explore the area. We want to see as much as possible, but realize that things are far away and don't want to waste too much of our time in the car. Here is our tentative itinerary:

7/30 drive up from Portland OR, whale watching in Port Townsend

dinner in Port Townsend, check into Lake Crescent Lodge

7/31 Hurricane Ridge

Marymere Falls trail

Sol Duc Hot springs & falls trail

dinner at Lake Crescent Lodge

8/1 Hoh rainforest area-hall of moss trail

Rialto beach

?Makah museum & Cape Flattery?

?lunch & dinner at?

8/2 check out, drive to Ruby Beach

lunch at Roosevelt room

explore Lake Quinalt area-?Big cedar trail?, Falls creek loop trail?

dinner in Astoria, OR (2.75 hrs from Lake Quinalt) & check in to Cannon Beach hotel

My biggest ? is our 8/1 itinerary. Is it worth driving to Cape Flattery and the Makah museum, and if so, should we skip Rialto beach since we'll be seeing Ruby beach plus spending two nights in Cannon Beach, OR.? As far as dining goes, we will have a mini-fridge in our cottage and bring a cooler, so picnic lunches are a possibility. Should we eat dinner at Sol Ducs the 1st night and Lake Crescent the other? Is there a reasonable dining spot for 8/1 near Hoh or Rialto beach? Are there any must-see hiking trails? Thanks so much for your help.

Port Townsend...
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for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
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1. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

To me, Cape Flattery isn't worth the drive. Save that time and explore the beach some more and enjoy the time out of the car. Everyone has their favorite, I prefer Ruby to Rialto

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Please look at my website, www.kaleberg.com, to orient yourself a bit with respect to the trails you have mentioned in your post. There are tide tables there, too, which are useful for tide pooling. You have many questions; I will try to answer most of them.

Don't skip Rialto Beach in order to drive all the way out to Cape Flattery. You have only a few days. If you were going to hike Shi Shi Beach it would be worth driving all that way. Otherwise it is not worth it. Rialto Beach is gorgeous, and it is much bigger than beautiful little Ruby Beach, with more tide pools. In addition, it is the most accessible of the beaches you have mentioned. Your MIL might have trouble walking down to Ruby Beach, but she will have no trouble with Rialto, and I would hate for her to miss this iconic spot. Rialto Beach is more remote and wild than the OR beaches, at least than most of them, and you should see it.

Food is a sore, sore point. Olympic National Park is one of the most magnificent wildernesses left in the US, but it has sadly limited dining opportunities. There just is nothing good anywhere near the Hoh Rain Forest. If you don't mind very simple burger type fare, you can try 3 Rivers Resort, a rustic little campground and store near LaPush. Their burgers, pie, and coffee drinks are honest. I have eaten at Sol Duc Hot Springs, and their dinners are fine, not great, but more than acceptable. They are, however, rather expensive for their quality. Lake Crescent Lodge has a lovely dining room; try to get a table right by the window looking out on the lake. Their food differs widely in quality from year to year because they often change chefs. I ate a wonderful dinner there about 4 years ago. Friends of mine who ate there the following year reported dreadful food. I just don't know the current state of the cooking, but I would say, given the convenience and the beauty of the setting, to give it a try. In general, once you get west of Port Angeles, which has many good, if not top quality, restaurants, finding good food is challenging.

I am a little concerned about your schedule for 7/30. Lake Crescent Lodge is a 2 hour drive from Port Townsend, a long way to go after dinner. Fortunately, the days are still long here. You don't want to miss your first sight of Lake Crescent and its dazzling sapphire color by arriving after dark.

Renton, WA
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3. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

You do realize that going from Port Townsend to Lake Crescent and then Hurricane Ridge means backtracking, right? Lake Crescent is west of Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is east of Port Angeles. I'm not aware of a decent place to eat near Sol Duc,, the beaches, or the Hoh, but I am no expert (kaleberg is). I agree with Pala32 that Cape Flattery is not worth the trip.

When you have seen either Ruby or Rialto and then arrive in Cannon Beach you will realize that you are comparing apples and kumquats....no comparison whatsoever.

Edited: 13 July 2013, 23:00
Sugar Land
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4. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Thanks so much for y'all's quick responses :)

Yes, I realize that we will be backtracking from Lake Crescent to visit Hurricane Ridge. Our kids really want to go whale watching, and it will be an easy activity for my MIL. We are flying in and visiting family in Portland, OR, so that's the itinerary with least backtracking for the whale watching.

-We'll drop the Cape Flattery/Makah museum and focus on Rialto Beach. Kaleberg, I will check out your website & tide tables so that we can figure out the best time to visit it. My MIL is petite, so maybe my husband can carry her down & up the tough parts of Ruby Beach. And thank you so much for the dining advice.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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5. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

I am not sure if I have your last day in Olympic right. If you are driving all the way to Cannon Beach from Lake Crescent Lodge you will not have time to see much at Quinault after lunch there. Maybe settle for the Rainforest Trail across from Willoughby Campground.

Sugar Land
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6. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Hi Glaciermeadows,

According to Google, it's about 3.5 hrs from Quinalt Lodge to Cannon Beach, but I understand that driving times in ONP often take longer. I am guessing we won't have as much time for hiking in the Quinalt area as we would like. Options include the Quinalt Rain Forest Nature Trail, the Falls creek loop trail, the Big Cedar trail,& Maple Glade Rainforest. Not sure which would be best. We do plan to take the Hoh Rainforest Hall of Moss trail the day before. Is it worth trying to see the "World's largest Sitka spruce" off south shore road? We realize that realistically we won't arrive in Cannon Beach until around 9pmish and are OK with that. We are used to driving long distances in TX, and are glad that the scenery in ONP will be MUCH nicer with opportunities to stop and enjoy the beauty :)

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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7. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Like I said do the Rainforest Nature trail across from Willouby Campground. You will pass right by it on. Our way to the Lodge for lunch. Gorgeous old growth Firs in rainforest with a small waterfall. The record Spruce just up the road can be done in 15 minutes so why not. The giant ancient Cedar is more impressive do to its age over 1000 years and its girth. Near Kalaloch look for a sign for another giant Cedar. It is just off of the hwy. and worth a look. Too bad you did not have more time, the Quinault Valley alone deserves a couple of days.

For those visiting Olympic, I kicked to Klahhane Ridge yesterday. It was gorgeous. Still a little early for the best of the wildflower display, but should be perfect in another week or so!

Edited: 14 July 2013, 20:04
Sugar Land
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8. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

Thanks so much for clarifying the trails, glaciermeadows. We will follow your recommendations :)

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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9. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

A fervent yes to the Klahane Ridge Trail. I did it the day before yesterday, and it was glorious. If you have the moxie, go for it. Take your time. It gets much easier after the junction with the Hurricane Ridge Trail. However, your mother-in-law cannot possibly do this trail, and it takes 2 hours round trip. If your MIL would be happy and comfortable waiting at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, or, perhaps, the lovely overlook at the meadow across from the VC, great. Otherwise, this hike would be cruel for your family. Make sure everyone has a good hat, strong sunglasses, and plenty of water.

I have another thought. How would your MIL feel about a wheelchair trip up Hurricane Hill? I have seen people push strollers up the Hurricane hill Trail, and I even saw one iron-thewed hero ascend on crutches. Would your family want to try this?

Sugar Land
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10. Re: itinerary for family reunion trip, 3 nights in ONP

I will ask my in-laws about the Klahane Ridge options. In Tetons NP my MIL skipped a similar trail and napped in our van while my FIL loved hiking with us. I am not sure if she will bring her wheelchair, but if she does my husband and strapping 16 yr old son might enjoy that upper body workout :). Kleberg, we will probably stop for lunch & groceries in Port Angeles after exploring Hurricane Ridge. Would the Sunny Farms store work for fruits, snacks and deli sandwiches?