The adventure continues in our great WA road trip with days 5-8, if you missed days 1-4 catch up here. This post contains our Olympic National Park road trip itinerary.
Day 5 saw us headed to Olympic National Park with a stay in La Push and later in Port Angeles. Olympic National Park is large and spread out, with many different areas to explore, so we felt it best to split our stay in this park into two different locations.
Washington Road Trip Itinerary
We left Packwood and Mount Rainier on our way to the coastal part of Olympic National Park. We didn’t make any stops outside of topping off the gas (and emptying a few bladders) until we got to Quinault to eat lunch in the Roosevelt Room at the Lake Quinault Lodge. The food was only decent and we probably wouldn’t eat there again as the service was also slow. The lodge itself was pretty and had a nice view, however. The Quinault area is home to the world’s largest Sitka Spruce Tree, which is about a half mile stroll from the road (there is a good size parking lot near the trailhead).
We also hiked the nature trail through the Quinault Rainforest before getting back on the road with our next stop at the Kalaloch Ranger Station to pick up our Junior Ranger and Ocean Steward books.
Before we made our way to our unit at the Quileute Oceanside Resort, we stopped at Kalaloch Beach 3 and saw whales just 30 or 40 feet from the beach! We had not expected to see whales, so when we parked along the side of the road and people told us they were there we nearly ran down the trail 🙂
We did stop briefly to see the lookout on Beach 4 and stopped again at Ruby Beach, where we wished we had more time to explore this beautiful spot!
From there, it was a fairly quick drive to get to Quileute so we could make dinner in the unit we rented at the Quileute Oceanside Resort & RV Park on First Beach (Note: We wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying here. Repairs were not being kept up, there was no air conditioning and no screens on any of the windows so it got quite warm, and the beach was littered with garbage when we were there after the 4th of July, but the view was nice!).
We had two priorities for the day — the Hoh Rainforest and relaxing on First Beach just outside the door of our place at Quileute! At the Hoh Rainforest we did both the Hall of Mosses trail and Spruce Nature Trail and appreciated the diversity of each trail.
In spite of warning signage on the trail, we didn’t see a bear or the Roosevelt Elk I was hoping to see. We ate our lunch at the picnic area by the visitor center before attending a ranger program and heading back to our unit to relax!
We decided not to stay in one location for our time in Olympic because we didn’t want to spend all of our time in the car. The first 2 nights were in La Push at the Quileute Oceanside Resort, and the next 2 nights were in Port Angeles at a VRBO home. On our way, we stopped at Second Beach, which had a persistently full parking lot that we later learned was due to people camping on the beach. It was worth the lengthy hike down to the beach as the tide-pooling at low tide was phenomenal!
After seeing our fill of starfish, anemone, crabs, and sea stacks, we drove to Sol Duc and hiked to Sol Duc Falls. We wanted to see the naturally heated pools, but did not go in as they are quite expensive to enter and are frankly just like any other pool except that there is no mechanical heating in use.
Leaving Sol Duc, we made our way to Lake Crescent and hiked the moderate trail to Marymere Falls.
We ate dinner that evening at Nourish Sequim, a delicious farm to table restaurant before topping off the car at the Costco in Sequim and finally returning to Port Angeles to do laundry and take a shower! I wanted to see lavender fields, but in the interests of time we chose to skip it. Another good reason to return to Sequim on another trip!
On this, our main day in the Port Angeles area, we made the obvious choice to head up Hurricane Ridge! It was a beautiful drive and we enjoyed the scenery, wildflowers, distant peaks, and the visitor center.
We did make a mistake in that we didn’t pack a lunch, so we headed back into town to eat before turning right back around to go to the main visitor center at the base of the road to Hurricane Ridge. We ate at the First Street Haven right downtown for a late breakfast / early lunch and the food was delicious! We also did some shopping in the area and found some cute shops. Because we had not found a good gift shop in Olympic National Park and the main one at Hurricane Ridge was still closed when we headed back down for our meal, we ended up heading back up to Hurricane Ridge for another visit and at that point did walk on some of the paved trails at the visitor center.
Before leaving this area we needed to stock up on supplies, especially healthy snacks and produce, and were grateful to find that the natural foods store in Port Angeles, Country Aire, is fantastic and on par with our local Co-Op (The Wedge) for organic food, meats, produce, and toiletries. We ended that day with supper at Next Door GastroPub (not the healthiest or most peaceful place to eat but the food was fairly good) in Port Angeles before heading back to our rental home for the night.