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Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

philadelphia
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Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

Hello all,

My husband and I were originally making a quick visit to ONP this summer in connection with an Alaska cruise leaving from Seattle. However, we are now no longer cruising. We will be flying in/out Seattle July 8th - July 15th. We arrive on the 8th at 10:30am, so I am counting this day for sight-seeing. We are staying at Lake Crescent Lodge the 10th and 11th. We are staying at Lake Quinault 12th and 13th. Our plan is to enjoy moderate hikes, beaches, and canoeing during this time. We have no other lodging reservations. We are very open to recommendations regarding ONP as well as WA in general. Should we enjoy Seattle both the 8th and the 9th or should we go to Mt. Rainier? Is there a 3rd option equally as appealing that I haven't explored yet? We love national parks and cities both. I love all opportunities to see wildlife, but I don't get the impression this trip will be like Yellowstone or Glacier on the wildlife front. Any recommendations for improving chances of seeing big beasts? We are used to buying bear spray for our WY/MT trips. I get the sense that we don't need bear spray for ONP....do you disagree?

I have had many great experiences thanks to the advise of Trip Advisor experts. I look forward to your feedback. Thanks much!

Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

You won't need bear spray. Human/bear encounters are rare here, and, fortunately, we only have black bears, not grizzlies. July is not the best time to spot elk, but if you visit the Hoh Rain Forest, look for elk at the side of the road near the visitor center. Look closely, as the woods along the roadside are very dark and shady. The best time to see them is late afternoon/dusk, but dusk falls so late in early July that you will probably be settled in to your lodging by then.

Consider calling Adventures through Kayaking (888) 900-3015 and booking a sea kayaking trip. You almost always see seals on these trips, and in early July you might see seal pups.

You can usually see eagles along the tree line at Second Beach, a beautiful place to hike. Make sure you arrive at the trail head about 45 minutes to an hour before low tide, and hike left as you face the beach. You can reach a small sea cave and a series of little coves with tide pools filled with anemones.

In early to mid-July you might or might not be able to hike Klahane Ridge via the Switchback Trail. The upper reaches of the trail will probably still be under snow, but the first 800 ft. or so might be clear. This trail's lower meadows are so filled with flowers that we call them The Hanging Gardens. The scents, the colors, and the views are unforgettable. You might see mountain goats up on the ridge line. If you do, keep your distance. They are dangerous, and the park personnel make an effort to scare them away from popular trails. Several years ago, a freakishly aggressive goat killed a hiker, the only fatality caused by an animal in the park's history.

Hike the easy Hurricane Hill Trail on Hurricane Ridge. The wildflowers are gorgeous there, and you can almost always see Olympic Golden Marmots. Sometimes you can also spot Olympic Blue Grouse. On the way back, take the little turnoff to your right labeled Elwha Ranger Station. Walk out about 10 minutes to the overlook, one of the loveliest views on this trail. Many marmots and grouse hang out in this area, and there is also a dramatic stand of corn lilies, also known as false hellebores. I hope this turnoff will be free of snow during your trip, as it is really lovely.

You have made excellent lodging choices; I wouldn't change them. You can get some ideas for hikes on my website, www.kaleberg.com. There are tide tables there, too. As you refine your plans, keep writing in to TripAdvisor for more detailed suggestions and advice.

philadelphia
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2. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

Kahlberg...thank you for taking the time to provide such a helpful response. I love your kayaking recommendation....nice idea for a bday present for my husband. We will be in ONP for his 40th. I am really looking forward to this trip!

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

That's wonderful! Congratulations to your husband.

Poulsbo, Washington
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4. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

Very little canoeing out here. Kayaking is as good as it gets. Another option for a different kind of kayaking is

rainforestpaddlers.com/RAFT%20KAYAK%20BIKE/R…

If it were me, I would add another night and stay in Forks. There you could make the most of the Hoh Rainforest and Second and or Rialto Beach. You do not want to pass up a sunset at Rialto or lowtide for viewing the incredible tidepools!

I was at Hurricane Ridge last week and Lake Crescent yesterday. There is a ton of snow at the Ridge.Your hiking at higher elevations will probably be a little limited, but still worth doing what you can. While staying at Lake Crescent walk the trail from the Lodge to Marrymere Falls. Also drive to the end of the Sol Duc Valley Road just west of the lake. Walk 1 mile to gorgeious Sol Duc Falls. If you have the time continue up the trail. You will hit more falls and some beautiful forest.

At Quinault there are several short but beautiful nature trails. Some gorgeous giant Douglas Firs across the road from Willouby Campground. The world record Sitka Spruce is a short walk on the grounds of the Rain Forest Resort just a little up the road from the Lodge. On the North shore on the other side of the Lake stop at a little turnout across from Lake Quinault Resort. A little trail will take you to a world record ancient Red Cedar. This tree is over 1000 years old.

My favorite easy hike is at the end of the South Shore Road. You will pass some nice waterfalls and drive right through rainforest. Most of the 12 mile road is gravel, so take your time. At the end of the road park. Walk 2.5 miles through gorgeous forest to lovely Pony Bridge.

I hate to see you cut Seattle short, but I would deffinately include Rainier, especily on a clear day. The Park is spectacular!

philadelphia
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5. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

glaciermeadows....thank you for your recommendations. i appreciate your help. looking forward to this trip!

Bainbridge Island...
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6. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

All the previous responses are great ones.

Some other suggestions:

Wildlife - http://www.olygamefarm.com/ (in Sequim) since you'll be in the Olympic area.

Dungeness Spit (in Sequim) one of the longest in the world at 5.5 miles www.fws.gov/washingtonmaritime/dungeness/ sure to see tons of native birds

Whale watching.

Overnight trip from Port Angeles to Victoria

Port Townsend - Fort Worden

Bainbridge Island - Bloedel Reserve

and Seattle is fun too.

frederick
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7. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

any suggestions on 2 or 3 night back country trips in ONP or is it better to just day hike ONP?

Port Angeles, WA
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8. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

Paw Lee, please start your own thread. It gets really confusing when posters piggyback onto others' threads. No one can remember who wrote what to whom.

Poulsbo, Washington
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9. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

Paw Lee start your own thread. When? Are you by yourself? Are you experienced in the back country? Do you have the proper equipment? How far are you comfortable hiking. What kind of elevation gains? Do you want montains forests or the ocean? It is not a simple answer. More hikers in ONP are day hikers rather than backpackers. Most visitors are neither.

Edited: 26 June 2013, 00:17
10. Re: Olympic National Park area itinerary suggestions

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