We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Topic
ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Hello All,

I am planning a trip to ONP during the aforementioned Labor Day weekend. I will be driving up from Sacramento on 28th Aug and hope to reach ONP on the 29th late afternoon or evening (with a stop in Portland to pick up one more family).

We are going to be 4 adults and 3 kids between 3 and 13.

I have not booked any accommodations yet.

Any recommendations about the sights to take in and the accommodations?

I am going to shamelessly beg an itinerary because after reading so many posts, I am just confused as to where to stay and which hikes / sights to visit considering the wide range of the age of children in our group.

I am planning to leave the park on the 2nd of Sep to stay overnight in Portland before driving all day on the 3rd, back to Sacramento.

Thanks a lot in advance for your suggestions.

Edited: 22 July 2013, 22:31
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,838 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

You have to help us to help you. Your visit presents several challenges, notably the size of your group and the range of ages. Obviously, you cannot take a three year old on a long, tiring hike. Planning meals and naps is going to be important, too. Here are some questions you need to answer in order to enable us to set up a realistic itinerary.

1. Are you willing to split the group to pursue different activities, or do you all want to stay together?

2. What sort of things do you like to do? Hike? Kayak? Swim? Try local wines? Eat?

3. What do you know about ONP, and why did you choose ONP for your vacation?

4. What sort of lodging are you looking for?

5. What kind of a car or cars are you going to drive? It's such a big group.

6. What kind of a budget do you have?

7. How much time are you willing to drive each day?

Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

First of all, thanks a lot for such a quick postback kaleberg! I also stumbled upon your site and must say it is very helpful.

To answer your questions,

1 - We would prefer staying together as a group. Having said that, we don't mind splitting locally, eg. a couple of us like kayaking so they may go, but the rest might just enjoy a picnic on the bank of whatever water body we are kayaking on, or some short drive + hike or vista point visit!

2 3 - 4 mile hikes are acceptable. I know, such short hikes might be in short supply in such a vast NP. But we can just turn around if the going gets too tough. 2 of us have done some kayaking before. I am checking out some child carriers in my local REI to haul my 3 yo when he gets tired!

3 - I know that it has a rainforest in addition to alpine terrain but REALLY want to get out of Sacramento's heat! :-).

4 - Though we have done multi-night tent camping in the humboldt redwoods, we are not packing for camping in this trip. Lodge/Motel preferable.

5 - A sedan and a van. We might pile on into a single 7 seater Odyssey while in the park itself.

6 - I saw the map (on your site) and have ready through many forum posts and am aware that there might be 2-4 hour driving time each day. probably more?

7 - Budget - I am certainly not into 5-star lodging (if you have been to Yosemite - you won't find me at the Ahwahnee lodge :-( ). After all , I chose to drive 13 hours one way rather than fly to Seattle for about 600$!

Thanks again for replying.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,838 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Hmmm. I'll fire off a few thoughts.

For kayaking, contact Adventures through Kayaking 888 900 3015. They lead guided sea kayaking tours in Freshwater Bay that are terrific. They are just west of Port Angeles, so, obviously, if you wind up in the southern half of the park, you will not be able to use them. They have double kayaks suitable for children, but the 3 year old is too little for kayaking, so if you want to do this, someone will have to be left out.

Rent a house. Your group is just too big and too diverse to do well in a hotel for 5 days. Try VRBO.COM. Look at the following places: Lake Crescent, Place Road in Port Angeles (only if you can find a house right on the beach. Place Road has a "lost world" type beach community that no one knows about and a regular, nothing-special inland stretch. You only want the beach part), Lake Dawn (right at the foot of Hurricane Ridge. It's a bit dark but could work for you).

Learn more about the park. ONP's glory is its diversity. It has 3 ecosystems: rain forest, alpine, and marine. You will want to see something of all three. That means a trip to either the Hoh Rain Forest or the Quinault Rain Forest, a trip to Rialto and/or Second Beach, and a trip to the trails at Hurricane Ridge. You might also check out the trail to Sol Duc Falls, and the two main Lake Crescent Trails: Marymere Falls and the Spruce Railroad Trail.

If you rent a house, stay there the whole time but be prepared to pare down the destinations. ONP is just too big to see everything from one base. If you want to see both the northern and the southern halves of the park, you will have to change lodgings. This could be rough with such a large group.

ONP lodging and food choices are limited and surprisingly expensive. Be prepared to spend more than you think if you try for Lake Crescent Lodge, Lake Quinault Lodge, or Kalaloch Lodge. I do not recommend that last; it is too far from everything to serve as a convenient base. I will go out on a limb and suggest looking into Log Cabin Resort on Lake Crescent if you can't find a rental. It had been getting quite run down in recent years, but it has new managers who seem to be committed to sprucing up the place, and the location is just perfect for you.

Few trails in ONP are suitable for a 3 year old. You will really need that carrier. Short, accessible trails include the Hall of Mosses at the Hoh RF, Rialto Beach (which could be a long hike or a short hike depending on when you turn around), Marymere Falls, Madison Falls (tiny), and Moments in Time Trail at Lake Crescent (tiny). You could also do the first part of the gorgeous Hurricane Hill Trail, but you might flag on the 700 foot ascent if you had to carry a child. I have seen many stalwart fathers, however, carrying their little ones up this lovely trail, and kids of all ages get a thrill out of spotting the many marmots, deer, and Olympic Blue Grouse.

Take hiking poles if you are carrying a child on your back. It helps incredibly and makes hiking much safer for the child. Leiki makes great ones.

I can help with shopping for groceries and with restaurants in the northern half of the park.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,831 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

I am going to approach this differently. At this late date, you may need to work back words by first securing a place to stay. Kaleberg's suggestion of Log Cabin Resort may be a good one. I see another slight problem. Olympic is so big, that I always recommending staying in at least two locations. With that many people I can see where you would not want to do that. With your situation I would choose between Lake Quinault and the Port Angeles area. I would start looking to see what is available in Port Angeles. Having not stayed at Log Cabin Resort in like 25 years I can not comment on it. Great location though. Like Kaleberg I would be happy to help you with what to see and do, but first you need to secure lodging. Do not come without reservations. If you can't find a site I will send you one. I am a kayaker, but with such limited time, it is not something that I would try to squeeze in. Get to the Hurricane Ridge area for the cool mountains, the rainforests and the wild ocean beaches.

Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Thanks for your suggestions glaciermeadows and kaleberg.

Yes, I am finding it a bit of a challenge to lock in accomodations closer in the park. I do see some availability in Port Angeles.

Am looking into Log Cabin Resort and a few properties I have narrowed down on VRBO.

Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Finally! I have booked accommodations in two places.

29,30 Aug in PA. Arriving on 29 Aug late Afternoon - 4ish

Plan to visit Hurricane Ridge and Hurricane Hill and Crescent Lake area on 30 and 31Aug.

31 Night check-in in a motel in Forks.

Go to Hoh Rainforest on 1st and maybe a beach (Rialto?)

On the 2nd checkout and drive to Quinault rainforest and after visiting that, head to Portland, OR.

Do you think this is a sane plan? What else can I include in the itinerary?

Edited: 24 July 2013, 07:06
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,831 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

This will work. On your way to Forks or while visiting Lake Crescent, make sure you include Sol Duc Falls. Stop at Salmon Cascades. You may be lucky enough to see salmon jumping the falls there. You will not have much time to really experience Quinault, but you can't do everything. Do not miss Rialto. That would've a huge mistake. You can always gon there for sunset.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,838 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Sounds like an excellent plan. Where are you staying in PA?

Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

In PA, I am staying in Days Inn. Nothing spectacular I am sure. I like to have a fridge and microwave in the room for storing / heating small quantities of toddler food and milk and apparently they have it. Nothing like a quick bowl of Mac and Cheese for the finicky toddler.

In Forks, it is the Forks Motel.

Edited: 25 July 2013, 16:10
Sacramento...
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: ONP during Labor Day weekend, 29 Aug through 2 Sep 2013

Yes, about Quinault, I fear we may not have enough time but we are not in a hurry to reach portland on my way back. Also, we hope to check out a little bit early and have an on-the-go breakfast so we can make use of the whole day.

If I reach PA around 4 on the 29th, do you think there is enough time to visit the Dungeness Spit. What if I drive straight to the spit and THEN go to the hotel late in the day?

Get answers to your questions about Olympic National Park