Olympic National Park Journals

Washington: Big Beaches, Big Mountains, Big Forest

Best of IgoUgo

A June 2005 trip to Olympic National Park by callen60

Stone Creek Lodge Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington More Photos
Quote: Exploring Washington could take a lifetime--we chose some highlights and took our best shot in a week.

Olympic Overview

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Stone Creek Lodge Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
Memorable MomentsWe packed a lot into a week, and a lot sticks out. Two of the best moments were gazing into the top of Mount St. Helens as steam vented from the lava bridge, and walking the wonderful beach at Kalaloch in Olympic National Park as the mists swirled over the sea stacks off shore.We emerged through the mist and fog to a spectacular view of the Olympic Range at Hurricane Ridge. That gave our carful a surreal, heavenly experience: at sea level, it was a misty, gray day with no hope of sunshine. As we drove up the mountain, heading through one of the tunnels, the sunlight crept in as we neared the tunnel's end. All of us gasped at the halo-like effect as we e...Read More

Olympic National Park

Marymere Falls/Marymere Falls Trail

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park"

Marymere Falls/Marymere Falls Trail Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
A terrific family hike to a beautiful spot, Marymere Falls is one part of Olympic that's nearly right on the main road (US 101). That means you won't be alone, but as with many national park attractions, if you get there by mid-morning, you shouldn't find the crowd too bad.The trail is wide and impossible to miss, and it winds through one of the Peninsula's many pleasant forests. It isn't rain forest, but it's damper than anything east of the peninsula. The banana slugs practically need marked crossings here. The falls are beautiful, but the uppermost viewpoint does require some climbing. That path is narrower, steep, but with handrails. It's worth it, though. It's well under the fore...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2006

Marymere Falls/Marymere Falls Trail
Lake Crescent
Olympic National Park, Washington

Hoh Rain Forest

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park"

Hoh Rain Forest Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
Olympic National Park holds the only temperate rain forests in the lower 48, and some of the few in North America. The Hoh is one of Olympic National Park's main attractions, and like many of the others, requires that you head into the interior of the park. The drive to the rain forest heads up the Hoh River Valley, and turns off of US 101 about 10 miles southeast of Forks. It's nearly 20 miles from there, about two-thirds a pleasant trip through privately-held land until you cross the National Park Boundary with about five more miles to go. You'll have nice views of the river at several spots, particularly as you near the end of the road.There's a visitor center and ranger station, plus p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2006

Hoh Rain Forest

Olympic National Park, Washington

Hurricane Ridge/Olympic National Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park"

Hurricane Ridge/Olympic National Park Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
The Olympic Peninsula is a wondrous collection of different environments: remote ocean beaches, rain forests, old growth forests--and alpine heights. Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible example of the latter, accessible via a paved road that leaves Port Angeles at sea level and arrives, 20 miles later, at 5200 feet. There's a relatively new visitor center, which includes a big gift shop, a restaurant, and a nice balcony from which to enjoy the view. The view is spectacular--you're looking into the Olympic Range at eye-level. What's particularly impressive about these mountains is their proximity to the ocean: remember, these nearly-10,000-foot peaks are only miles away from the Pacific....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 22, 2006

Hurricane Ridge/Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge Road, Off Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, Washington

Kalaloch Lodge

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Stone Creek Lodge Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
It's national park lodging, so you're paying extra for location--but what a location! Right in the middle of the ocean strip that is the western piece of Olympic National Park, Kalaloch is smack on the bluff that overlooks the beach. The bluff cabins are comfortable, more spacious than you might expect, and also overlook Kalaloch Creek as it flows into the Pacific. We housed our family of five and my sister-in-law's family of four in one of the larger cabins (no. 6). Recently renovated, with nice pine walls and tile floor, it slept eight comfortably: two bedrooms (each with a queen), another queen in the open room between the bedrooms, and a queen-size futon in the living room. We added a rollaway and...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Kalaloch Lodge
157151 Route 101, 35 Miles South Of Forks
Olympic National Park, Washington
(360) 962-2271

Mount Rainier National Park

Stone Creek Lodge

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

View of Mt. Rainier up Kautz Creek Photo, Olympic National Park, Washington
Quote:
Right outside Mount Rainier National Park--and in this case, that means only 200 yards--is this pleasant collection of cabins, each adorned with colorful flower boxes. Our crew spent 2 nights here in the fairly large, clean, and comfortable Garden Cabins that slept the five of us well, albeit in one room. The queen-size bed was indeed snuggly, as advertised, and covered with a colorful quilt. The bathroom is small (Manhattan apartment small), but that seems like a small thing when you're in the mountains. Your host, Sandy, is gracious and kind and provides a roaring campfire every night. She's provided each cabin with a notebook full of park information that's really helpful. I thought $125/night w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Stone Creek Lodge
38634 SR 706
Olympic Peninsula, Washington 98304
(360) 569-2355

Copper Creek Inn

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
This comfortable, friendly, and excellent restaurant is nearly the perfect mountain inn. Located in the woods of Highway 706, 2 miles west of the Nisqually Entrance to Mt. Rainier, the structure dates from the 1920s. The all-wood interior and cedar-lined walls still retain that classic feel. There are 12 tables or so, and even during the late hours at which we dined (after 9pm on both nights), we weren't alone.We stumbled onto this place after arriving late at Nisqually. The first place that was recommended had closed, and we walked in here just because they were the only ones still serving. The menu was varied, hearty, and interesting: chowders, stews, chili, grilled trout, steaks, chicke...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 25, 2006

Copper Creek Inn
35707 State Route 706
Ashford, Washington 98304
(360) 569-2326

Mount Rainier National Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Mount Rainier National Park Photo, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
Quote:
The last stop on our swing through Washington, we arrived at Stone Creek Lodge near Nisqually Entrance near dusk. That left just a day to explore this large park, which can't possibly do justice to this beautiful area. Most of the driving is on (paved) mountain or near-mountain roads, so don't let the distances fool you into thinking you can get everywhere with ease. Plus, this place is best experienced by getting out of the parking lots and visitor centers, and into the meadows, mountainsides, and trails.Paradise, the aptly named subalpine valley on the south side, is a 35-minute drive from Nisqually Entrance. Here, you'll find the soon-to-be-replaced Jackson Visitor Center, slated to be ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 22, 2006

Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Ave. East
Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington 98304
(360) 569-2211

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument"

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Photo, Olympia, Washington
Quote:
A little-known member of the Cascade Range before May 1980, Mount St. Helens is only one of nearly a dozen major volcanoes stretched between northern California and southern British Columbia. Although it's been a quarter century since its eruption changed the landscape here permanently, the effects are unmistakably visible. It can be a haul to get here: the Castle Rock exit off I-5 is closer to Portland than Seattle, and the volcano itself is another 90 minutes east. There's a string of visitor centers along the way. We stopped first at the one at Silver Lake, operated by the State Park System. For those over 16, there's a $3 fee per center, but a $6 monument pass gets you in here and at t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 22, 2006

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Rd.
Amboy, Washington 98601
(360) 449-7800