Olympic National Park

12:02 a.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey all, 

A friend and I are planning a trip to Olympic National Park this summer and I'm just wondering if anyone has some good knowledge to share. 

We would like to do two to three nights in the Valley areas and two to three nights on the Coast...basically I'm just wondering if anyone knows of some good trails/loops to do. 

Any information would be great! 

Thanks, Nature Gurus!  

1:07 a.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
second gear
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The internet and different guide books have LOADS of info -- how difficult do you want? How far is 3 days for you? How much climbing do you want?  Would you settle for out and back?  Do you want some route finding?  The Olympics have all sorts of variety, but it can involve a great deal of driving from one side of the range to the other.

For example, a great out and back is up the Hoh river valley, and if you go far enough you can get into some serious climbing.  I've heard of people doing route finding and making it a partial loop up the Hoh and down the Sol Duc Hotsprings area. I mention that side particularly for its proximity to the beach routes you seek.

So, having hiked a great deal of it myself, peruse the internet, and maybe get an Olympics specific hiking book.

No matter where you go, you won't be disappointed :D

11:37 a.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Beautiful place

12:44 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Royal Basin makes a nice two to three day hike. If you climb, Mt. Clark and Mt. Johnson in the Needles have some fairly easy routes. The hike in has lots of rhodies!

1:25 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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unless you are getting shuttled around it is impossible to hike from the mountains, to the rain forest, and to the coast. The coast is a detached unit  from the main part of the park. Even in august some of the higher altitudes may have snow fields.

Im planning a 8 day trip through the elwah valley in May.

- mjg

1:31 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
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This is were I mostly play!  I love the ONP! 

Coastal, If you are looking for a quieter place and a really nice beach I would head for Shi Shi, at the north end of the Coast.  It can still be busy in the summer months but not near as bad a the Ozette Triangle.  If you are looking for a easy walk both of the La Push beaches are very nice but can get quite busy on weekends and holidays. 

A search on the ONP web site will bring up these beaches.  Their are a lot of other beaches on the coast depending on how much time you have.

As for the highlands, it all depends on what you want to see and how long you want to go.  On the west side (Coastal side) their are three main entry points.

  1. The Bogachiel River, Just out of Forks;  This leads up to the river valley and lots of trails and camps - Rain Forest Area.
  2. The Hoe River, South of Forks about 15 miles, this is also Rain Forest, and leads up to Hoe Rain Fores Visitor Center and a great valley beyond.  All the way to Mt. Olympus if so inclined.
  3. And the Lake Quinault, the southern trail head.  This is actually a group of trail heads that will take you just about anywhere you want to go given enough time. 

Their is also some great areas on the North side and the East side.  I would strongly recommend you get a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map # 216, Olympics as a starting point to get some Ideas and route information.   From their we can give you more specific information on individual choices.


2:57 p.m. on April 15, 2012 (EDT)
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take your goat spray

2:52 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks, Dudes, for all the great info!

I have certainly checked out the internet for information on the park, but I wanted to see if I was missing anything special : )

As far as what I want to do...I myself would love to get into some serious climbing, but I don't think my buddy wants to, so this trip may be one just dedicated to hiking (we'll see if I can convince them otherwise!). As mentioned earlier, I would love to check out both the coastal and valley areas, but not as one consecutive hike. Do you think it is feasible to do a loop around the coastal area, then drive to another part of the park and do another loop in the valley areas?

This is basically all I have planned for the moment...I'll do more research in the next coming days. 


8:57 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace, MCreegan! 

I don't have any personal knowledge of the area, so I will leave that to those who do :)

Cheers, G

9:04 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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If you go up the Sol Duc valley there is a loop around Hart Lake and 7 Lakes Basin that is about 21 miles.  For hiking along the coast I would head towards La Push and hike from Third Beach south along the coast.  I've never hike along Shi Shi beach but people say that section is beautiful.  

Royal Basin is also a great suggestion!

12:29 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
Wolfman (Wolfgang Greystoke)
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Their is only one true loop on the coast, (Same in and out point) and that is the Ozette three point loop.  In at Ozette, out to Cape Alava, south to Sand Point, and back to Ozette. 9.3 miles, Usually 2 nights.   This is a VERY busy trail in the summer and reservation are recommended.  It's a nice area, but lots of people and lots of Racoons.  Most of the trails are board walk, which can be very slippery in the rain. 

All the other beach access points are in and out, or in and out some place else.  It really just depends on what your looking for on the coast part of your trip. 

I picked up a book a few months back called "Best Loop Hikes Washington" by Dan A. Nelson.  It has several loops in the ONP varying in range and difficulty. 

Here is a list of a few of the longer ones;

#6, The High Divide, 24 miles, 1600 to 4400 elevation.  This starts at the Sol Duc trail head and head up the river.  Then tuns south and head s up to the Seven Lake Basin / High Divide.  And finally back to the Sol Duc again.  I have not hike this trail but I do know this is a great area. (this is the trail that dm1333 is talking about - I think)

#7, Olympic Hot Springs / Happy lake Ridge, 18 miles, 1700 to 5300 Elevation.  Start on the Elwha River road.  (Note here:  I am not sure if this is open because of the Dam removal work going on.) But like the first suggestion, it's a combination of valleys and ridge hiking. 

#8, Long Ridge / Elwha Valley, 33 miles, 1198 to 5753 Elevation.  This starts out on the Humes Ranch trail and continues up the Long Ridge and then down the Elwha river vally.  If you have the time this is the trail I would recommend.  Hope you have cameras!!  Lots of ridge hiking and then down one of the coolest river valleys.  Or the reverse.  It's just out side of Port Angeles, so that could be your base of operations for the two trips.  Fairly inexpensive town to stay in as they are usually starved for business.  :)  I know, I grew up there. 

Their are several that are longer and many that are shorter.  So if you want some more information let me know.  Their are also tones of in and out hikes and hikes that are in and out some place else.  But if your renting a car those can be problematic. 


2:00 p.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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That is the route I was talking about.  It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever hiked. 

12:34 a.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome! PNW is IT man....but I haven't explored enough over there to give any advice.....except it might rain.

May 29, 2020
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