Olympic Peninsula in Two Days

I LOVE the Olympic Peninsula.  There are so many beautiful places to explore that I could spend all summer camping there and never get bored.  So how, you might ask, am I going to squeeze all that into two full days?  It was hard to choose, but I have narrowed it down to my favorite places.  There is some driving involved, but the reward is worth it.

When visiting my most favorite places on the peninsula, Shadow Mountain RV Park is a good base camp.  It is located about 15 miles west of Port Angeles and has a small general store and a gas station.  You won’t be spending much time at the RV park, but it does have a play park and a home made miniature golf course for the kids.

Day One

  • Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge offers spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains and of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Hiking is abundant and offers many kid-friendly trails.  You can even find snow as late as July on some of the trails.  On our last visit there wildlife was everywhere and we saw plenty of deer and even a bear!  Obstruction Point Road (weather and snow permitting, open from July 4 through October 15) is a gravel road branching off from the parking area that offers access to more hiking trails and even more amazing views.  The visitor center has lots of info, snacks, and maps to get you started.  Winter activities can be enjoyed weather permitting.  To access Hurricane Ridge, take Hurricane Ridge Road 17 miles south of Port Angeles (Click here for directions).  There is a $15 per car load fee to enter Olympic National Park, but stays valid for 7 days.  So when you go to visit the Marymere FallsHoh Rain Forest tomorrow, you won’t have to pay the entrance fee.  Check out the Hurricane Ridge webcam here.
  • Marymere Falls – A gentle waterfall cascading 90 feet into a small pool.  This one mile trail is well traveled and well groomed perfect for families.  Along the trail you will walk among old growth trees.  The steepest part of the trail is at the waterfall where you can get up close.  Plenty of photo opportunities and places to stop to throw a few rocks in the creek.   You can find Marymere Falls about 5 miles west of Shadow Mountain RV Park.

Day Two

  • Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park – The Hoh Rain Forest is magnificent.  An artist could never paint all the shades of green in this forest.  It is Hoh Rain Forestone of the few remaining temperate rain forest in the continental United States.  And did I say amazing!  Plan to check out the small visitor center and talk with a ranger.  There are two short and kid-friendly hikes.  One takes you through the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 mile) and the other is the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles).  For you more enthusiastic hikers, there is a 17.3 mile Hoh River Trail.  Take your time walking through the Hoh Rain Forest.  My kids like to look for nurse logs and find the bright colored woodpeckers.  You can even spy the Roosevelt Elk lurking around.  The Hoh Rain Forest is located on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, Upper Hoh Road off of Highway 101.
  • Ruby Beach – When I think about the Washington coast, I picture Ruby Beach in my Ruby Beachmind’s eye.  It is breath-taking.  After parking in the small lot, you take a short hike down to the beach.  You will first encounter a shallow river which empties into the Pacific Ocean followed by millions of smooth beach pebbles graduating in size down to the sand.  You can find the perfect driftwood bench to relax while the kids play and watch the ocean circle around the sea stacks.  Also, the perfect spot for sunsets.  Ruby Beach is south of the Hoh Rain Forest on US 101.  It is about 32 miles from the Hoh Visitor Center to Ruby Beach, but takes about an hour to drive.

Suggestions to help you plan your trip:

  1. Make sure to check the status of the road up to Hurricane Ridge before you go, especially in winter months.
  2. Plan to see Hurricane Ridge on a clear day.
  3. Lake Crescent Lodge is located close to the Marymere Falls hike and hosts a restaurant.
  4. Plan to take a rain jacket to the Hoh Rain Forest.  They do get between 140 to 170 inches of rain per year!
  5. The Hoh Rain Forest is about a two hour drive from Port Angeles.
  6. Check the tide charts to learn when high and low tides are for Ruby Beach.
  7. If you are looking for a place to eat, Kalaloch Lodge is just a little south of Ruby beach and offers a great menu.
  8. The drive from Ruby Beach back to Shadow Mountain RV Park is about 1.5 to 2 hours (68 miles) so plan accordingly.

Thanks for reading and please comment, share or add any suggestions about the Olympic Peninsula.

Comments

  1. maggie wright says:

    I love this! I worked for several years in the parks all over the country. Loved Olympic National Park. The photos brought back so many memories. Thanks for the posting

    • Hi Maggie – Thank you and thanks for sharing your comment. I am glad the pictures sparked good memories for you. I couldn’t agree more, Olympic National Park is one of the best. 🙂

  2. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed this article and have listed it in the latest edition of the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival. Be sure to share it with your social media.
    Thanks,
    Jim
    http://jimsgotweb.com/travel-carnival-20/

    • Thank you so much Jim for including my post! I really appreciate it 🙂 I hope to submit more articles for Byteful Travel in the future. Take Care.
      Carley

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