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.

5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

I am an amateur photographer traveling solo in a car rental. I plan to be out shooting and hiking most of the day. Is my itinerary feasible without being too rushed? Suggestions on accommodations (cheap-moderate motels or lodges) and food would be appreciated (I am a vegetarian lacto -ovo no fish). Any suggestions on sunrise and sunset location favourites? Also, should I drive back to Port Angeles to catch the ferry to Victoria or should I take it from Seattle? I think a rental car drop off in PA may be expensive as the pickup is n Seattle.

Day 1

Drive early morning from Seattle to Poulso (bakery) then stop in Port Townsend to walk around and grab lunch. Drive to Dungeness Bay and walk around. Visit Sequim if lavender in bloom. Sunset on Hurricane Ridge. Overnight in Port Angeles.

Day 2

Sunrise on Hurricane Ridge with some hiking. Post hike soak at Olympic HotSprings. Tide Pools at Tongue Point, Salt Creek Recreation Area (at low tide). Head to Sol Duc falls if time permits and then to Lake Crescent for sunset. Overnight Lake Crescent.

Day 3

Sunrise at Lake Crescent then breakfast . Drive along the 101 west to 113 north to 112 west between Clallam Bay and Sekiu. Stop along the coast and then continue west to Neah Bay and trek out to Cape Flattery for sunset. Overnight at Hobuck Beach Resort or Chito Beach or Bullman Beach Inn.

Day 4

Explore coastal beaches (Portage Head, Shi Shi beach, Point of Arches, Rialto Beach, Second Beach) and La Push. Sunset and sunrise on beach.

Overnight in Forks.

Day5

Hoh rainforest and Lake Quinault area and Graves Creek if time.

Overnight either in Seattle or Lake Quinault

Drop off car and take ferry to Victoria, BC . on Day 6

Edited: 01 April 2014, 03:46
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,845 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Some misconceptions here. First, you won't be hiking on Hurricane Ridge in April. You might snowshoe, as there will be many feet of snow up there. As of this writing, there are just under 8 feet. If you want to photograph the sunrise, you will have to drive up the road in the dark, and the last stretch of the road will be icy. Same thing in reverse, of course, for sunset. On the other hand, the road is beautifully engineered.

Second, err, you seem a bit uninformed about the seasons. Lavender blooms in the summer, not in April. Also, Dungeness Bay is not very impressive. Sequim Bay would be a better choice, but better still would be to visit the Dungeness Spit in Sequim.

Third, Olympic Hot Springs is closed to visitors and has been for some time. It is undergoing restoration to its natural state. Instead, just go on to Sol Duc Falls, a beautiful short hike, and then pay to soak in the swimming pools at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. They pipe in the hot spring waters. Call to make sure they are open. The drive along the Sol Duc Valley is very pretty as it passes along the river.

Day 3 looks good. Day 4 looks good but tiring. Shi Shi Beach is a strenuous hike, particularly if you are carrying a tripod. Don't do Second Beach at sunset as you need to hike through the woods to reach it, and those woods are dark and a little rooty. You also will need to clamber over an enormous pile of driftwood to reach Second Beach. This is a beautiful beach, one of my favorites, but it is only at its best around low tide as its finest tide pools are hidden at higher tides.

Where are you staying at Lake Crescent?

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
19,305 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

I'll let some of the ONP experts comment on the itinerary but I might add a suggestion. Late April you'd have a great chance of seeing fields of Tulips in the Skagit Valley. Google skagit valley tulip festival. You could stop there then come across thru Anacortes and take ferry from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend. I suggest this as I think its way too early for the lavendar festival but I may be wrong.

For Victoria its a much shorter trip from PA and since your there already it just makes more sense to do it from there. Depending on your time frame you could take the Victoria Clipper back to Seattle or come over to the mainland via Tswassen and take the train back to Seattle. I expect you'll get some other ideas.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,845 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

I will second all of what Kaleberg has already told you. I live in Poulsbo and have never quite understood why Sluy's Bakery is so popular. I think you are trying to do too much on the NW Coast. If you had more time I would say go for it. Is snow what you want at Hurricane Ridge? With so little time I would hit the beaches further South which are more accessible and would give you more time for the Hoh and Quinault. The rainforests are better for photography in late May and June, but you obviously have to visit earlier. I would save more time for Quinault. So many great opportunities for photos in a relatively small area. Pony Bridge past Graves Creek is quite lovely as is Maple Glades. You need time though.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Thanks for your replies "Kaleberg","Glaciermeadows" and "Davidgmg" I thought about renting snowshoes in PA if there was snow up on the ridge. I may decide to try and catch sunset as I can leave when there is still light and return after sunrise to snow shoe. I couldn't find the Dungeness Spit in Sequim on the map. Is it in Sequim Bay? I read that the Olympic Hot Springs were more natural than the Sol Duc but I am open to a hot soak anywhere :)

I may do some of Day for early in the morning of Day 5 if it is too rushed.

Thanks for the info about Second Beach. I travel with a headlamp as well but won’t risk the return in the dark. Is the Rialto Beach a good option for sunset? Ruby Beach? Where can I get a tide calendar?

I haven’t yet booked any places. Recommendations in Lake Crescent? or elsewhere. How about Neah Bay?

David: I am visiting the park before a planned event in Victoria and will be retuning home to Toronto via Victoria by plane. I could do the trip clockwise and end in PA without visiting Port Townsend but I am not sure about picking up the car in Seattle and dropping it off in PA. I think I will do the 1 hour drive north to check out the Tulip Festival and then make my way to Port Townsend. Thanks for that info.

Glaciermeadows: I am not firm on my plans. I could drive up to the ridge to see the views and continue on to stay at Lake Crescent to spend more time at the lower elevations. I thought that Cape Flattery at sunset was special so I wanted to stay overnight near Neah Bay.

Shawn

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,845 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

I will tell you this sunsets will be great at any of the Beaches. Keep in mind that on the Coast in April you may not even see a good sunset on any given day. There is a 50 50 chance it could be grey and wet. I would hate to see you truck all that way and have grey and wet conditions. Ruby and Rialto are great places for low tides and sunsets. Rialto had some great sea stacks for a foreground. There are some chain motels in Port Angeles. If you want a budget motel near Lake Crescent look at Granny's Café and Motel. It is only 5 minutes from the Lake. In Forks Pacific Inn, Huckelberry Lodge or if you want to be close to the Beaches Oceanside Resort in La Push. At Quinault Quinault River Inn or the Motel unit at Rainforest Resort. With their proximity to the rainforest I highly recommend you spend a night and a full day at Quinault. Great area to see and photograph elk.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,845 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

I forgot you can get tide tables at most stores in the area like grocery and hardware stores. Here is one online just scroll down

tides4fishing.com/us/washington/la-push-quil…

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,845 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

You can rent snowshoes in Port Angeles at Brown's Outdoors, 360 457 4150. They are only 5 minutes from the entry station for Hurricane Ridge. Snowshoeing in April varies. If the snow is relatively fresh, it is wonderful. The temperatures are mild, and the Hurricane Hill Road, which will not be plowed until June, makes a great snowshoeing route. It starts just at the far end of the parking lot. There is no avalanche danger because the road runs along a ridge line. Don't, however, head off the road. Avalanche danger on the slopes is high in spring.

Google the Dungeness Spit. It is an enormous spit jutting out into the Straits of San Juan de Fuca. There is a photogenic lighthouse about 5 miles down the spit. Many seals and sea birds hang out here; it's one of the best birdwatching spots in the region. It's in Sequim, so it is a convenient stop on your first day.

Yes, the Olympic Hot Springs are more natural than Sol Duc Hot Springs (which are not natural at all), but Olympic Hot Springs is closed to the public. Over the years, bathers altered the terrain around OHS, digging little bathing pits. The park is restoring the area to a more natural state. Let's hope they finish soon.

If you have a headlamp, you can easily handle the Second Beach trail after dark. It's only a mile, and it is not particularly tricky, just a little muddy and rooty. Be careful on the driftwood wall; you have to walk along big logs. Also, there have been car break-ins at the parking lot, so be aware.

Check out the park website, and call the recorded number, 360 565 3131, periodically. The message tells you which roads are open and how much snow is on Hurricane Ridge. We are still getting a flake or two at night up there.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Thanks "Kaleberg". I'll check out the conditions prior to going up to the ridge. I found the spit on Google as well. That's what I meant when I mentioned the bay in my post. I will take care re: car break ins. I never leave anything of value in the car and never in plain sight, even here at home. I may not go to Cape Flattery and the Neah Bay area so as to give me more time on the beach area further south. What do you think?

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Thanks for the info "glacier meadows". Once I firm up my plans I will look into booking rooms. Not yet sure if I want to stay in LaPush or Forks.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 5 day road trip- Olympic Peninsula in 3rd week of April

Hey guys: I still haven't decided whether to spend the night at Cape Flattery or try and get to one of the beaches for sunset around La Push. Would it be feasible on my 3rd day to see sunrise on Lake Crescent,breakfast, then head out to Cape Flattery stopping to see the views between Clallam Bay and Sekiu. I could head towards Forks or La Push and maybe see the sunset there (i.e. 2 chances to catch a sunset) and spend overnight in that area. Are the sunrises on those beaches nice. I know it all depends on the weather but I am happy to be there even in the rain and fog :)

Also how do the Quinault and Hoh rain forests differ? Is Gray's Harbour Refuge worth visiting on the way back to Seattle?

Thanks again for all the useful info you've given me. I appreciate it.

Get answers to your questions about Olympic National Park