My son's (19 and 16) and I are heading there in August. Planning to backpack five nights. I'll call us experienced section hikers. One wants beach, one wants rain forest, and one wants mountains. I'm hoping to hit all three on one five-night route. Is there a route that will do the trick?
No. The mountains are inland. You can get some rainforest with mountains (Hoh River trail, a long walk to mt. views), or can do a long beach hike, but not all three. "Getting there" takes longer than it appears b/c of 2 lane curvy roads once past Pt Angeles. If you do a beach trip, you need to be very aware of tides, you can get isolated around a headland at high tide. In some places, getting on the beach requires negotiating muddy hills with in-place ropes to hang onto. If all you have is five full days on the peninsula and want to experience all environments, it might be better to have a camping base (or motel), and do day trips - hit the high points - Hurricane Ridge for views and short walks, a day or two at one of the beaches, then an excursion to the Hoh forest. Expect crowds, unless you pick a single location and get a long distance from the TH.
I leave it to my fellow members to recommend specifics, but suggest you get a couple good books on ONP and do some research before you arrive. Also - the ferries are packed that time of year, so build in a lot of wait time.
Get your map out and check out the Hoh River tail to the Olympus guard station you then take the trail up to Hoh Lake and on to the high divide trail, this would give you rain forest, river and alpine.
from the Hoh trail head its a short drive to the beach, you could go to Railto Beach and do an over night to Hole in the Wall or over to Third beach trail head and Toleak Point
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