View Full Version : Olympia Nat'l Park in May/June

Julie Kenward
12-30-2009, 12:54 PM
I'm looking to take a week+ long vacation in (and around) Olympia Nat'l Park in late May/late June of 2010. I'm looking for a good book or website to help me plan my travel. I want to experience the coastline, the mountain range and the forest so a book that highlights all three or a general park book would be great.

Also, if there are any "can't miss it" places (especially ones they don't tell you about in tourist books) I'd love to hear about them as well. I'm primarily looking to take landscape/scenic type photographs while there.


Brad Manchas
01-02-2010, 10:43 AM
First it is the Olympic not Olympia National Park. If I were a first time visitor I would concentrate of the north and west sides of the park. The Port Angeles to Forks area makes a nice base to work from unless you want to be spending the time camping in the park.

From Port Angeles it is a nice and beautiful drive up to Hurricane Ridge where a number of trail will lead into the interior of the park and some beautiful scenery. On the way up don't forget to stop and look back over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island BC, US and Canadian San Juan Islands and Mt Baker in the distance. Port Angeles also has the Cho ferry operated by Black ball that has several daily sailings to Vancover Island, a great place to visit.

Lake Ozette on the west side is great place to wander about, the trail eading to the lake is easy, from there to the pacific is a bit tougher but nothing most people can't handle when hauling some camera gear or backpacks.

Lake Quinault on the southwest side of the park, just outside of the Olympic nat'l forest is also a great place to setup base from, the lake, river and surrounding mountains offer some great views and photo op's. The Lake Quinault lodge is a beautiful old lodge on the lake.

Particularly the Col. Bob wilderness, trails heads leading into it are in this area. You will find huge trees, draping moss and a very verdant ecosystem here in the rain forest. There are several places to visit the rain forest along the river drainages like the Hoh system.

Even though you are talking about early summer (or almost) understand that there will probably still be considerable snow at the higher elevations and almost certainly it will rain at least some during your visit. This area is one of the wettest you can visit in north america, so be prepared. Thopugh if you are in the Sequim area you are in the rain shadow of the mountains and are in one of the drier places on the wwest side of Washington state.

Living in the area means I haven't really looked to books that might offer a visitor more information on what, where or how but visits to the Dept of Interiors website will offer guidance and info on the park and adjoining national forest. The cities of Forks, Sequim or Port Angeles can also offer more information on their sites.

Julie Kenward
01-02-2010, 10:57 AM
Brad, thank you! I have been dreaming about getting out to this area for nearly a decade but haven't really been able to figure out what/where to go because it ALL looks so interesting. I very much appreciate your time giving me a good starting place to begin my research as I prepare for my trip.

Susan Griffith
01-03-2010, 01:02 PM
Hi Julie,

The Olympic peninsula is just an amazing place and you will have a fantastic trip out there.

Here are some of the books that I have in my collection on the Olympic peninsula.

Olympic National park: a natural history by Tim Mcnulty
Day hiking the Olympic peninsula by Romano

There are also tons of field guides for the area as well.

Brad had some great suggestions and I think i would add Tongue point to the west of Port Angeles for some great tide pooling if the tides are right during your visit.

The Sol Duc falls would also be pretty nice that time of the year. Its one of my favorite spots for macro photography with all the micro landscapes and water.

The coastal strip is just gorgeous and traveling down toward Kalalock will afford you great views of the pacific and tons of places to stop and explore.

Also the birding that time of the year should be quite good.


Julie Kenward
01-04-2010, 07:45 PM
Thank you, Susan...now I think I can really start to whittle down where I want to go and photograph. You two were a great help. :D

Michael Bowland
01-08-2010, 07:57 PM

I lived in WA for 30 years, the Penninsula is quite beautiful! You will find better weather in August and September rather than early spring, which tends to be rather wet. Must sees include.... Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc Falls ( a short 30 min. easy hike) and Ruby Beach on the coast. Along the way... Port Angeles will provide wonderful water and marina shots and Lake Crescent Lodge is a mainstay in the area and a nice central location for Penninsula exploration. Have a fabulous trip!

Julie Kenward
01-13-2010, 07:25 PM
Thank you, Michael. I will definitely talk the timing/rain thing over with my friend and see if maybe we could do the trip later in the summer. Great advice!

Rosalind Philips
01-21-2010, 01:52 PM

My favorite birding book for the Washington Coast is "A Birder's Guide to Coastal Washington" by Bob Morse. It has a 2001 copyright but it is still accurate. I also like to catch a boat out of Neah Bay to look at seabirds.


Ron Tnompson
01-25-2010, 12:23 PM

You might want to look at The Cape Flattery trail, the Dungeness National Wildlfie Refuge and of course Huricane Ridge

Hal Everett
02-24-2010, 11:36 PM
I can second the comments on the seasonal weather. I have lived on the Olympic Peninsula for 23 years. While there are exceptions, wet, dark, gray days are the norm here until mid July. I can count the number of sunny 4th of Julys on one hand. Late August, and early September tend to be much nicer.