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potnia_theron
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PostFri May 10, 2019 1:40 pm 
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Just want to say that this forum is amazing, I wish I'd found it sooner.  So many helpful threads.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge of the area, everyone.

My wife and our kids are going to be in Washington for the first time in late May, and planning on doing a big loop from Port Angeles down the ONP coast before crossing over to Rainier and looping back up through Ellensburg before heading back to Seattle.  I know May isn't ideal for the alpine areas, but this started as a work trip for my wife (conference in Seattle for a few days before the trip), so we're just trying to take advantage of the fact that we'll already be out here.

I'm hoping you guys could look over this ONP portion of the itinerary and let me know what you think.  A lot of it is hard for me to gauge because I'm so unfamiliar with the area, and trip reports and pics can only go so far.

May 19th: Depart Seattle ~3:30pm, take the ferry across and drive up to Port Angeles.  Camp at Heart o the Hills.

May 20th: Check out Hurricane Ridge visitor center area (hurricane hill trail is closed unfortunately).  Drive to Sol Duc Campground (booked), check out the falls (bridge over the falls also closed, unfortunately). Is it worth trying to get up further north to check out the Cape Flattery trail?)

May 21st: Drive to Rialto, hike up to Hole in the Wall and camp on the beach (i have the back country permit, will rent a bear can in forks).  Backup night at Mora if the weather is terrible (assuming there is space?).  Low tide is at 9:15am -- how long do I have on either side of that to get up to Hole in the Wall before the beach is impassable?

May 22nd: Hike back out, check out the Hoh River/Hall of Mosses, night at Kalaloch.

May 23rd: Mess around on the beach, maybe drive back up to Hoh to walk up the Hoh River Trail a little bit, second night at Kalaloch.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri May 10, 2019 2:06 pm 
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Cape Flattery is a cool area...but it's a long drive for a short walk.  For such a limited amount of time in Washington, it probably wouldn't be maximizing your time.  It does have the distinction of being the NW tip of the Lower 48.

You'll be right there, so I'd definitely recommend stopping and poking around at Lake Crescent.  You'll be driving right along it so you'll definitely see it regardless.  Marymere Falls is a short hike right along the way.

The Hoh is worth checking out while you're here, but so would spending a bit more time on the beach.  Second Beach is a real quick jaunt, I would definitely recommend that, you'll already be close at Mora/Rialto.  Third Beach could be a short walk or a long hike.

Another interesting area you might not have time for but if you could squeeze it in is Dungeness Spit.  5 miles 1 way along a narrow strip of sand out to a lighthouse.  You don't have to go the whole way to get a feel for it.  Between Sequim and Pt. Angeles, off of 101 a bit.


As far as your itinerary overall, it's kind of a whirlwind.  You'll see lots of good stuff but not nearly enough time to see everything worth seeing in the area.

What's with Hurricane Hill trail being closed?  You could just wander in the opposite direction toward Mt. Angeles a little bit.  It will probably still be snow covered.  There's a very small rope tow ski area there you would pass by quickly.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri May 10, 2019 2:11 pm 
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I'm pretty sure there is an overland crossing right at Hole In The Wall, so you won't get stuck there regardless of tide.

I don't think I would recommend driving twice up the Hoh.  It's not real far distance wise but it's kind of slow going.  I'd see whatever you want to see up there on 1 visit and skip the extra commuting time so you can do something else.
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josh_pnw
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PostFri May 10, 2019 4:27 pm 
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You should be able to get up to, and past, Hole in the Wall at most high tides, but can't walk through the Hole itself at high tide.

Be sure to check out the construction status on Hwy 101 along Lake Crescent before you go if it's  a weekday. https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/lake-crescent-highway-101-rehabilitation-2017-19.htm

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Anne Elk
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PostFri May 10, 2019 5:05 pm 
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That's a heckofalot of driving!  Keep in mind that some distances are "farther" than road mileage would indicate as once you are west of Pt. Angeles, it's a 2 lane road, often curvy, so you can't speed.

I agree with olderthanIusedtobe re going to the Hoh twice. If you're going to do a big loop around the peninsula (south) to hook up with a route to Mt. Rainier, you might consider dipping down to the Columbia and then visiting Mt. St Helens as an alternative to Mt. Rainier. When my brother came out to visit the first time,  he was keen on that.  Or keep your Mt. Rainier plan and spend more time there, and take the back roads around the mountain on your return to Seattle. Is there some particular reason you want to see Ellensburg?  That's adding way too much IMO.

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Slugman
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PostFri May 10, 2019 8:56 pm 
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Camp at the Hoh. The car camping there is excellent. Then you can do the Hall of Mosses trail in the dark.

The driving doesn't sound that bad. Just a few weeks ago I  drove out to the Hoh and got in two nice walks, one to the little waterfall about 2.5 miles up the main trail, and then I  did the Hall o Mosses after dark. Then I drove down the Hoh road to Hiway 101 and camped for free at Cottonwood, a DNR campground right on the Hoh river. Next day I went to Rialto beach and Hole in the Wall, then drove home. 4 hours to Lynnwood from Rialto, but the last hour doesn't count, as I  enjoy waiting for the ferry in Kingston, and riding the ferry as well.

The below picture was taken 3/19/19 with a nine year old flip phone. Rialto beach.


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pcg
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PostFri May 10, 2019 9:17 pm 
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You didn't say how old your children were, but here's something they might enjoy. You could take a short side trip to La Push (just south of Rialto Beach) and walk out on the docks to see the sea otters that often hang out there this time of year.
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Riverside Laker
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PostFri May 10, 2019 9:28 pm 
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I rode up to Hurricane Ridge yesterday and noticed the trail you mentioned was closed due to maintenance. However, you can hike towards Mt Angeles instead, and still get up high with some great views. There were very few people camped at Heart of the Hills campground. Not sure if they take reservations.

Kalaloch campground is popular and fills fast, so hopefully you reserved it. There's a state park on the way, but it's not very interesting in comparison. The beach at Kalaloch is pretty nice. Not sure if I'd go back to Hoh a second time, since it's a long ways to backtrack. There are other trails you could consider that are closer.
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potnia_theron
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PostSat May 11, 2019 6:18 am 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
Cape Flattery is a cool area...but it's a long drive for a short walk.  For such a limited amount of time in Washington, it probably wouldn't be maximizing your time.  It does have the distinction of being the NW tip of the Lower 48.

You'll be right there, so I'd definitely recommend stopping and poking around at Lake Crescent.  You'll be driving right along it so you'll definitely see it regardless.  Marymere Falls is a short hike right along the way.

The Hoh is worth checking out while you're here, but so would spending a bit more time on the beach.  Second Beach is a real quick jaunt, I would definitely recommend that, you'll already be close at Mora/Rialto.  Third Beach could be a short walk or a long hike.

Another interesting area you might not have time for but if you could squeeze it in is Dungeness Spit.  5 miles 1 way along a narrow strip of sand out to a lighthouse.  You don't have to go the whole way to get a feel for it.  Between Sequim and Pt. Angeles, off of 101 a bit.


As far as your itinerary overall, it's kind of a whirlwind.  You'll see lots of good stuff but not nearly enough time to see everything worth seeing in the area.

What's with Hurricane Hill trail being closed?  You could just wander in the opposite direction toward Mt. Angeles a little bit.  It will probably still be snow covered.  There's a very small rope tow ski area there you would pass by quickly.


Marymere Falls looks like a nice spot, I'm gonna add that to the route!  Thanks for the info on Cape Flattery, I think we'll skip it this time.

I'd love to spend a lot of time at the beach, but I'm trying to be realistic about the weather prospect in mid-May, and not have us stuck on the beach for a long time if it's pouring.  I've heard the rainforest is pretty magical this time of year, so thinking that might be a better place to explore with raincoats than the beach.
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potnia_theron
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PostSat May 11, 2019 6:27 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
That's a heckofalot of driving!  Keep in mind that some distances are "farther" than road mileage would indicate as once you are west of Pt. Angeles, it's a 2 lane road, often curvy, so you can't speed.

I agree with olderthanIusedtobe re going to the Hoh twice. If you're going to do a big loop around the peninsula (south) to hook up with a route to Mt. Rainier, you might consider dipping down to the Columbia and then visiting Mt. St Helens as an alternative to Mt. Rainier. When my brother came out to visit the first time,  he was keen on that.  Or keep your Mt. Rainier plan and spend more time there, and take the back roads around the mountain on your return to Seattle. Is there some particular reason you want to see Ellensburg?  That's adding way too much IMO.

I'd love to spend more time around Rainier, but the scheduling works out so we get there right in the middle of memorial day weekend, and everything is booked up (and everything is likely going to be mobbed with people).  It's been hard to work out the driving route as well, since a lot of the roads aren't even scheduled to open until the 25th.  I'm hoping I can get an itinerary setup for you guys to look at later today.

I'm interested in getting out to the Ellensburg area for a couple reasons -- it'll be drier on that side of the cascades, and I think it'd be a nice change of pace after what will likely be lots of rain in ONP.  I'm also really interested in the geology of WA, and want to check out the petrified logs near some of the road cuts along I-82, let the kids hunt for fossils up by the old Blewett pass, see the giant current ripples in the gorge by Trinidad, etc.  Plus, even though the scenery isn't quite as majestic as closer to Rainier, we're from Massachusetts, so it's still a big change for us.
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potnia_theron
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PostSat May 11, 2019 6:31 am 
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Slugman wrote:
Camp at the Hoh. The car camping there is excellent. Then you can do the Hall of Mosses trail in the dark.

The driving doesn't sound that bad. Just a few weeks ago I  drove out to the Hoh and got in two nice walks, one to the little waterfall about 2.5 miles up the main trail, and then I  did the Hall o Mosses after dark. Then I drove down the Hoh road to Hiway 101 and camped for free at Cottonwood, a DNR campground right on the Hoh river. Next day I went to Rialto beach and Hole in the Wall, then drove home. 4 hours to Lynnwood from Rialto, but the last hour doesn't count, as I  enjoy waiting for the ferry in Kingston, and riding the ferry as well.

I was thinking of staying at Hoh, but was worried about the campground being full, since they don't take reservations.  I was able to book Kalaloch, and I thought it would be good to have a couple nights at the same spot, to give us a break from constantly setting up camp.  Plus, our kids are little, and with it staying light until 9pm or so, they'll already be asleep by the time it's dark, so probably wouldn't get to see the Hall o Mosses at night.
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potnia_theron
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PostSat May 11, 2019 6:32 am 
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pcg wrote:
You didn't say how old your children were, but here's something they might enjoy. You could take a short side trip to La Push (just south of Rialto Beach) and walk out on the docks to see the sea otters that often hang out there this time of year.

They would love that, added!  Thanks!
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potnia_theron
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PostSat May 11, 2019 6:37 am 
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Riverside Laker wrote:
I rode up to Hurricane Ridge yesterday and noticed the trail you mentioned was closed due to maintenance. However, you can hike towards Mt Angeles instead, and still get up high with some great views. There were very few people camped at Heart of the Hills campground. Not sure if they take reservations.

Kalaloch campground is popular and fills fast, so hopefully you reserved it. There's a state park on the way, but it's not very interesting in comparison. The beach at Kalaloch is pretty nice. Not sure if I'd go back to Hoh a second time, since it's a long ways to backtrack. There are other trails you could consider that are closer.

Yeah, Hurricane Ridge is apparently closed alternating weeks so they can repair the trail.  From what I've heard, though, the view is still really nice from the visitor center assuming the weather is good.

Any suggestions for a hike in that area if the weather is bad, and no view from the top?  Or maybe we just head out to Crescent Lake/Marymere?
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat May 11, 2019 10:07 am 
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potnia_theron wrote:
Any suggestions for a hike in that area if the weather is bad, and no view from the top?

From right by Heart O' the Hills CG is a pair of trailheads--Lake Angeles and Heather Park.  Both are pleasant enough wandering thru the woods before eventually getting up into the high country.  They can actually be combined into a challenging loop of around 15 or 16 miles but that might not be what you are looking for.
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Anne Elk
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PostSat May 11, 2019 1:25 pm 
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potnia_theron wrote:
I'd love to spend more time around Rainier, but the scheduling works out so we get there right in the middle of memorial day weekend... since a lot of the roads aren't even scheduled to open until the 25th. ...I'm interested in getting out to the Ellensburg area for a couple reasons -- it'll be drier on that side of the cascades, and I think it'd be a nice change of pace after what will likely be lots of rain in ONP.

Considering the added holiday crowds, you might seriously rethink plans and limit yourself geographically. Ferry wait times and traffic will really slow you down.  Appreciate that you want to hit several of our "iconic" landscapes, but quality time in a more limited area might be more satisfying than many hours in the car.

Good to have a "Plan B" for rain, but we've had several years now of record temps and unusually dry weather...like right now. We've broken records twice this week (80's). Note that there are webcams galore to look at - like this one at LaPush.  The famous Olympic rain shadow can mean that it's raining on the coast, but dry from Pt Angeles-Sequim. Checking LaPush today, I can see that the cloud relief we're promised for tomorrow in Seattle has already hit the coast.

Rather than rush out to Rainier (Paradise will probably be a mob scene), consider more time on the north peninsula: Someone earlier mentioned Dungeness Spit out of Sequim, and Clallam County's Salt Creek Recreation Area (outside of Joyce) got a big thumbs up from my neighbor who was just there and raved about the wildlife she saw (otters, whales, birds). It's only too bad that b/c of a major road washout, you can't drive to see the site of the removed dams on the Elwha.

Another add-on alternative to consider (rather than Rainier) would be to drive to Pt Townsend and take the ferry to Whidbey Island.  There are some cool things to see/do there: Deception Pass State Park (you can get off island there, too) Ebey's Landing, and the quirky but cool Earth Sanctuary near Freeland and close to the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry.

If you still want to get up close and personal w/a volcano, you could continue north and see some cool stuff around Bellingham/Fairhaven and then take a drive up to the viewpoint at Mt. Baker.  But I'll stop here. Can send additional info if that sound enticing, including my fave sekrit cheap(er) motel in B'ham.

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