When my friend Sara (whom I collectively refer to as Sars or Sari) and her dad, Larry, came out in September, I tagged along with them when they visited the Olympics. From Seattle, we took the Bainbridge Island ferry, and drove up through Poulsbo to connect to Highway 101. In Port Angeles we drove into the Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. From the ridge, we drove to Obstruction Peak, and then hiked some before trekking west to the Pacific. After being in a car all morning, Sara and I were giddy and our hike involved carefully navigating scree and snapping selfies amid some stunning mountain backdrops.
That afternoon we made it to Third Beach, set up camp, and explored the tidal pools. The weather was gorgeous, and I would highly recommend camping here for it's wild scenery and privacy. The next morning, we went to Rialto Beach and hiked up to Hole in the Wall during low tide. The campsites at Rialto are easier to access. For example, at Third Beach, the beach is a 1.5 mile walk (one-way) so you have to pack all your stuff in and out. Which also lends a remoteness to the location.
After Hole in the Wall we drove to the Hoh Rain Forest, and walked amid new and old-growth rain forest. Not wanting to abandon the beach for too long, we headed back and lounged. I was designated camp cook, which means everyone received a well balanced meal and plenty of beers.
Before heading home, we stopped at the Next Door Gastropub in Port Angeles. The food was delicious and, as expected out here, there was a diverse Pacific NW beer selection. Although our visit only lasted 3 days, it's easy to spend a week here. The Olympic peninsula has incredible ecological diversity. On our visit, we went from alpine, glacier-capped mountains to the wild and rocky Pacific coast to exploring an old-growth rain forest. Amazing.
When we visited: early September
Areas visited: Olympic National Park and Forest, Hurricane Ridge, Third Beach, Rialto Beach, Hole in the Wall, Hoh River Rainforest.