For our last trip in July, we headed northwest to the state of Washington to explore Seattle and Olympic National Park. While here we hiked, did sightseeing, sunset watching, and stargazing. Below is a breakdown of the trip and a few takeaways!
Know Before You Go
- The summer months are the most frequently visited of the year at Olympic
- The park is huge! It stretches over 1,442 sq miles and has everything from mountains, rain forests, lakes, and beaches
- Entrance fee into the park is $25 a vehicle (depending on where you go, i.e. Hoh Rain Forest)
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Table of Contents
Where to Stay
There are plenty of places to stay the night in or around Olympic National Park. You have your choice of campgrounds, hotels, motels, and lakefront resorts and Airbnb. We chose to stay at an Airbnb right outside the park in a town called, Sequim. Port Angeles is another nice little town if you want to stay in a more urban area than a campground!
What Did We Do?
Vance Creek Bridge
Our first stop on our list was Vance Creek Bridge. Although not in the national park it’s on your way and a really interesting place. What you’ll find is an abandoned railway bridge that is the second tallest railway trestle in America.
Disclosure: This area has a lot of warning signs stating you should not to hike the trail and it is really dangerous. Go at your own risk.
High Steel Bridge
Similar to Vance Creek Bridge, High Steel Bridge is a truss arch bridge rising 365ft above the Skokomish river. This is about 15 minutes from Vance Creek and a perfect stop before you make your way into the park. Much more accessible than Vance Creek gives the less daring folk the opportunity to see incredible views without any risks.
Northern Side of Olympic National Park
1. Port Angeles and Sequim
We stayed in Sequim in a lovely little Airbnb and grabbed a bite to eat at Barhop Brewing and Artisan Pizza. Port Angeles or Sequim is a great spot to find an Airbnb or hotel for the night if you’re staying on the eastern side of Olympic National Park. To get there from the bridges you drive up the 101 next to Hood Canal. Route 101 is a nice scenic drive and during the mid-summer months (July/August) the water is a turquoise color due to algae.
2. Sunset at Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent is on the northern side of Olympic National Park, right next to Marymere Falls. For sunset, we snagged a front seat view at East Beach with our Banzai Unlimited inflatable lounger
There are two main lodging areas near Lake Crescent and reservations are booked through www.olympicnationalparks.com.
- Log Cabin Resort – Northern side
- Lake Crescent Lodge – Southern side
3. Stargazing at Deer Park Campground
My favorite part of this trip was stargazing at Deer Park Campground. This is south of Port Angeles and a bit of drive on a dirt road up the mountain. There is no service and if you’re driving at night (like we were) take it really slow. The road is a switchback straight up.
Eastern Side of Olympic National Park
On our second day in Olympic National Park, we headed east from Sequim driving down rt 101. Checking out Lake Crescent taking our time at the multiple viewpoints which were magnificent.
Hoh Rain Forest
The main objective of the day was to visit Hoh Rain Forest. Hoh Rain Forest is a forest of moss-draped trees along the Hoh River. There are two main trails, a visitor center, and a campground. You can knock both of them our in about 2 hours if you’re stopping to take pictures, etc.
- Hoh River Trail
- Hall of Mosses
Heading south from Hoh Rain Forest on Rt 101 brings you right to Ruby Beach. At Ruby Beach, where you have to trek over piles of driftwood to put your toes in the sand.
Olympic National Park is massive and there’s a lot to see. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hit every item we wanted to, some of these items include, Marymere Falls, Sol Duc Falls, and the Sol Duc Hot Springs.
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