Olympic National Park - Part 3, Coast and NW area

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by lcampbell on November 5, 2002

COAST – Olympic has more than 60 miles of wilderness coast, which is interspersed with numerous Native American reservations. All of the coastal areas are different and each has their own charm, but all remain virtually unchanged by time or man. Again, best to have a "home base" in Forks or Kalaloch.
Lake Ozette – This is a large freshwater lake near the coast that is perfect for kayaks or canoes, with a boat-in campsite, as well as a drive-in campground. This is also the trailhead for a great 9-mile loop trail to the coast. From the trailhead, a 3-mile boardwalk goes to Cape Alava, then follow the beach about 3 miles to the Sandpoint Trail, and then another 3-mile boardwalk back to the trailhead. Lake Ozette is also a great starting point for long coastal hikes or backpacks. From Lake Ozette, a good day trip is to the Makah Reservation, where there is a half-mile hike (one way) to Cape Flattery, the most northwestern point in the USA.
Mora – You can visit scenic Rialto Beach by car, or try hiking 1.4 miles to Third Beach or 0.8 miles to Second Beach from the trailheads on the La Push road. Second Beach is a great place for tidepools and seastacks. There is a campground at Mora, and be sure to visit the tribal town of La Push on the Quilcene Reservation.
Kalaloch – see my separate journal entry on Kalaloch.

Lake Crescent – Glacier-carved Lake Crescent is a huge emerald lake at 9 miles long and 1 mile wide, and incredibly deep. Get information at Storm King Ranger Station, which is also the trailhead for a short hike to Marymere Falls. You can canoe or kayak on the lake, with rentals available in Port Angeles or at Fairholm store on the west side of the lake. You can relax at East Beach, or try the Spruce Railroad Trail, the only trail at Olympic National Park that allows bicycles. Lake Crescent is accessible from Port Angeles, but there are two lodges on the lake: Lake Crescent Lodge and Log Cabin Resort.
Sol Duc – The scenic drive up the Sol Duc River ends at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (see my separate journal entry), and at a trailhead. The best short hike from the trailhead is to Sol Duc Falls. You will get an incredible reward for a 1.6 mile round trip hike. This trailhead is also a great jumping off point for long hikes and backpacking into the high country. The 20+ mile Seven Lakes Basin Loop is a backpack filled with flowery meadows, sub-alpine lakes, and scenic ridges. But permits are limited in this area, so contact the Wilderness Information Center at the park for reservations as soon as possible. Sol Duc is a bit of a drive, but is accessible from Port Angeles.

Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Olympic Peninsula, Washington, 98362
(360) 565-3130


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