Olympic Peninsula – The place that has it all

As I made a list of all the travel posts that are due, Olympic National park topped my list for obvious reasons. This national park wasn’t like anything I’ve visited before. It had all kinds of landscapes – from snow capped mountains to rain forests to black sand beaches to pristine lakes – I would love to get lost here for a month coz I don’t see myself getting bored anytime soon 😀 As always, my friends and I hiked almost everyday in this park, but none of it was too long/hard, making it an active yet relaxing trip. We visited during the Memorial Day weekend and I would highly recommend visiting during that time of the year since the weather was perfect (no rains in WA! That’s a rare phenomenon you guys) The trip involved driving about 3-4 hours everyday, which isn’t much considering it is a national park. Owing to its sheer size, there are a bunch of small towns where you can stop and grab food/stay for the night which makes planning a trip to this place a little easy. Without further ado, I’ll get right into the details

Day 1 – Hurricane ridge

Day 2 – Lake Crescent, Sol Duc falls, Hoh Rain forest

Day 3 – Rialto beach, Lake Quinault

Here’s a map which shows the route that we took around the Olympic National Park –

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Day 1 – Hurricane Ridge 

We took a flight to Seattle on Friday night and stayed at Kent before leaving to Hurricane Ridge the next morning. The drive to Hurricane Ridge was scenic (isn’t it the case with every drive in Seattle? ;P ) We decided to do the Hurricane Ridge trail which was about 3 miles with ~800 ft elevation. If you are not a fan of hikes or if you are traveling with family, there is a visitor centre from which you get a really good panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and it is totally worth driving there just for this view. Apparently, this place is called the Alps of the US and rightly so. The trailhead started about 1.5 miles beyond the visitor centre where you can park your car and start walking. The temperature at this place in the park is about 10 Deg lesser so dress accordingly in layers. The hike is so beautiful, making you want to stop and admire the view every 10 minutes. After being blissfully distracted by the majestic mountains, when you finally reach the top, the 360 Degree view will definitely take your breath away. On one side is an endless ridge of snow capped mountains in the distance with the greenest grassland separating you from the mountains. On the other side is Salish sea with the Victoria island, BC in the distance. Once you reach the top, the way you know you are at the top is when you get a message from your mobile carrier welcoming you to Canada! 😀 It is that close to BC. Oh and to make this hike even more worthwhile, we spotted so many Marmots on our way to the top, burrowing away to glory and making for cute photo props 😀

That night we wanted to stay at Lake Crescent lodge , but it was sold out by the time we checked so we stayed at this Airbnb at Port Angeles. This place didn’t disappoint at all! It was the cutest Airbnb with such amazing amenities and even an Arcade game (Say what!) with glass walls in the living room facing the port. I would totally recommend this place if you are looking to stay in that area.

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Day 2 – Lake Crescent, Sol Duc falls, Hoh Rain forest

The next morning, we drove to Lake Crescent after breakfast. It is a beautiful lake lodged in-between mountains and perfect to spend time on a lazy afternoon. We walked around for a bit, filled our lungs with the fresh mountain air and headed to the Sol Due Falls. The drive was about an hour through tall and lush green vegetation and the hike to the falls itself was relatively easy and short. It was a beautiful waterfall with a small bridge overlooking the falls on one side and a gorge on the other. I’ve never been to a waterfall inside a rainforest and this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Once we got a taste of how a rainforest would look, we couldn’t wait to explore the Hoh rain forest which was our next stop. We did the hall of moss trail which basically takes you through the moss filled rainforest which looks right out of a “Stranger Things” frame (If you don’t get the reference, it is high time you watch the series :P) It was a blissful walk but definitely a fulfilling one since it was the last time we were going to be around this landscape.

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Lake Crescent
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How beautiful is this lake
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On our way to Sol Duc Falls
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Sol Duc falls

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The gorgeous Gorge!
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Hall of moss
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Hoh Rainforest

Day 3 – Rialto beach, Lake Quinault 

We crashed at an Airbnb at Forks, WA that night and headed to Rialto beach in the morning. This could’ve easily been the most moody beach I have been to till date. One would argue that foggy beaches aren’t fun, but hey its not like I can play in the water in any of the sunny NorCal beaches too, so I’ll take that 😀 The foggy coastline and black sands strayed with logs of wood definitely added character to this beach and we spent some time walking around and chasing the waves (with our boots on :D). It was our last day in the park so we didn’t waste any time even on the road and took in all the views our eyes and hearts could possibly take for the day. Our last stop was Lake Quinault which was another picture perfect lake with post card worthy views. I’m definitely going back to that Lake Quinault lodge and staying there for a weekend in the near future coz man those views :O We just sat by the shore, contemplating life and our existence 😉 until it was time for us to drive back to Sea-Tac and catch our flight back to California.

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The black sand beach
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Foggy and moody

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Lake Quinault

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View from the Lake Quinault lodge

This was definitely a unique national park, and one that I see myself visiting again in the future mainly because of its diverse landscape and breath taking views and multitude of things to see and do! Hope you guys had fun reading as much as I had writing this post! And thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Mal

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