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lodging

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lodging

We are planning a trip in July, 2014 and hope to stay in, or very near the park. Mountain scenery and hiking are important. Which lodge, motel or cabins would be good for us?

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: lodging

I can suggest some terrific places to stay, but first you need to look at a map and decide what you want to see and how many nights you want to spend in the Park. The Park is huge. You need at least three nights and four is better. What is your budget for accommodation? IMO you need at least two bases if you want to avoid a lot of unnecessary driving and backpacking. The three areas to look at are Port Angeles and Lake Crescent. This gives you access to the Hurricane Ridge Area, Lake Crescent and the Sol Duc Valley. If money were not an issue, I would stay at Lake Crescent Lodge.

The next area is around Forks. The area lacks decent food, but there are several nice places to stay. Google Forks Chamber of Commerce for ideas. Staying around Forks gets you close to the best wild beaches and the Hoh Rainforest.

If you add extra time there is also Lake Quinault and the Quinault Rainforest. The great thing about Quinault is there are a few nice places to stay like the Lake Quinault Lodge, which has good food. I was at Quinault last week and stayed at a fantastic rental that I just loved. Quinault really requires two days if you want to hike and enjoy the area. Google Quinault Rainforest. I really suggest you do some reading. As I said this is ad huge Park and takes some effort and planning to do it right!

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: lodging

You need to read a guidebook, or possibly two or three. ONP is not like other national parks, and lodging is very limited here. You can trust your luck to TripAdvisor, or you can do some research. It's your time and your money.

Private
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3. Re: lodging

Thanks glalciermeadows and kaleberg for the suggestions. I will start reading immediately. We have been to Glacier National Park in July for the past four years, and already have reservations for Summer 2014. It just occurred to us to extend the trip and spend some time at Mt Rainier. We were there several years ago but had to cut the trip short. Olympic and Redwood will be new to us. We have plenty of time, but not unlimited funds. Staying in the parks has always been best at Glacier, and the old lodges are wonderful. Hikes that gain elevation is what we seek.

Best guidebooks?

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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4. Re: lodging

Remember Olympic is nothing like Glacier and very different from Rainier and North Cascades NP. The mountains are in the center of the Park and are surrounded by forests. You only get glimpses of the mountains from certain parts of the Park. Access to the mountains without a lot of hiking is by way of roads in the Port Angeles area to the North. The west side of the Park is about wild coastline and rainforests. Start by looking at maps of the Park on the internet and familiarize yourself with the area. The Park Service has some good maps of the Park you can download from the Net. Then decide how many days you want to spend there. That will help us guide you. Read other visitor's trip reports on TA. I think you can get a ton of info without buying a guide book. If you Google Quinault Rainforest you will see photos, maps and trail info for an example. Washington Trail Association is an excellent source for hikes.

Port Angeles, WA
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5. Re: lodging

There are three easily accessible mountain trail systems. The best is the set of trails atop Hurricane Ridge. Port Angeles is the best base for Hurricane Ridge. Unfortunately, there is no park lodge there. In years past, I would have warned you that mid-July is too early for mountain hiking here, but after this year's freakish summer, during which some trails opened in June (!), I can't be sure of anything. I do caution you that some of the best trails might be under snow. Obstruction Point Road, for example, which is the gateway to several jaw droppingly beautiful trails, may still be closed.

You can hike some beautiful mountain trails in the Deer Park region, which is also close to Port Angeles. Unfortunately, they are all upside down trails, so you have to start by descending and return by ascending, but they still offer great scenery. Deer Park Road is scary, however, and, like Obstruction Point Rd., opens late in the season.

Finally, you can hike above Sol Duc Falls to reach Deer Lake and the magnificent Potholes, but these trails might be inaccessible in mid-July. This area is west of Port Angeles. You can stay in Sol Duc Hot springs Resort (very rustic) or on Lake Crescent, which has a national park lodge, Lake Crescent Lodge, as well as the more basic Log Cabin Resort.

There are other mountain trails in the park, but many of them are harder to access.

Don't bother to buy a guidebook. That's what libraries are for. You don't have to worry about reading the latest or the best; just check out a few and get oriented. Then write back with a tentative plan. Since you really want to hike in the mountains, is there any way you could postpone your trip to August, or even September?

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6. Re: lodging

The only books I buy are hiking or travel guides, everything else is borrowed from the library. One of my favorites books is "Day Hiking North Cascades" by Craig Romano, which is beautifully written and informational. I planned hikes for several months enjoying his glorious descriptions of the trails and scenery, only to find most trails closed due to heavy snow. (July, 2011 I think it was)

The Olympic Peninsula sounds fascinating. We could wait until Sept. 2016 to come, but no. Maybe a second trip then.

Are most roads accessible by regular car? We can stay a week or two if we find reasonably priced comfortable lodging. I did a quick look at the lodges and cabins in the park and they already have limited availability for summer, 2014, and would be a splurge price-wise. We do not camp.

I can tell you guys love it there. Any suggestions you make will be greatly appreciated. We have no itinerary yet, except Glacier NP June 27 - July 11. Then we will go anywhere there is cool weather, nice scenery and hopefully not too many people.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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7. Re: lodging

I have owned about 5 cars since I moved to this area in 79 and visits before. I have never owned a 4wheel drive vehicle and have hiked all over the Olympics. You do not need a special vehicle. If a road is open in Summer, snow will not be an issue. I take my sedan on Obstruction Point and Deer Park Road. You just need to drive cautiously and defensively on these roads. You can run into others especialy pickups driving too fast the other way. these are mountain roads with blind curves and dropoffs. The rest of the roads in the Park are good unless you get on Forest Service Roads. There will be plenty of options for next year in Port Angeles, Forks and Lake Quinault. You need to decide how many nights in each place and let us know what you can afford. Summer (which includes September) is the most expensive time. There is a range in prices. I have stayed at three different places in the last four months at Lake Quinault for instance.

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8. Re: lodging

Thanks again, glaciermeadows. Many National Park Lodges book up a year in advance so I wanted to get started. I booked Glacier for 2014 back in 2012 and still could not get the exact dates I wanted.

We would love to have your guidance on how many days to stay in each place in order to have the best experience.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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8 reviews
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9. Re: lodging

I will shoot you some ideas a little later when I get some time. First I suggest you look at all three Park Lodges and decide if any fall into your budget. If not I can give you options. Doing this so early means you will have some good options. Also spend some time looking at a Park Service Map to familiarize yourself with where things are. Most visitors probably spend an average of about three nights in the Park.This is enough time to hit some of the highlights and give you an impression of Olympic. With a week you will have more time to experience Olympic's many moods and what makes this place so unique. This is on top of the fact that you want to spend time hiking.The weather is always a wild card especially on the Westside.

Private
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10. Re: lodging

You are so kind. I am sure your ideas will be wonderful!

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