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Olympic National Park - reviews and tips please
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markz2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Olympic National Park - reviews and tips please Reply with quote

Starting to plan our summer trips. Could anyone offer their suggestions or experiences. Campsites you liked, vistas, etc. We'll be camping with our two kids.

Thanks,
Mark
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windnsea
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I lived up in Seattle, the Olympic National Park was my favorite place to go and camp.

1. Soleduck Hot Springs on the north side. Some nice not too long hikes and the hot springs are awesome. Past the hot springs about 1/4 mile is a campground by the river.

2. Lake Ozette out on the point near Neah Bay. Great triangular hike out to the ocean on a boarded walkway. Neah Bay has a great PNW Indian Museum and some camping out just west of there on the road to the fish hatchery.

3. From just north of Forks go out to the Pacific and camp at the National Park campgrounds there.

4. The Hoh rain forest in the National Park. Good large campground and the rain forest is awesome.

Best Vista: Hurricane Ridge, which is up behind Port Angeles. You could also take a trip from Port Angeles over to Vancouver Island, but will need passports or the passport id card this year for everyone in the party. Why not take your van over and spend time on Vancouver Island? You can then ferry back to North Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) from Nanimo on the island.

Now I've talked myself into this trip!! Got any xtra room?
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Mark, we took the kids over to Rialto Beach several times.

http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/rialto-beach.htm

River, sea stacks, great intertidal and bird life and some nice coastal hiking both north and south.

I wrote a tune called 'Second Beach' inspired by uh, the Second Beach south of the river! Wink
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PNWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really not a bad spot in the park.

For something on the east side:
We camp at Dosewallips State Park on Hood Canal each summer. Great place for getting clams and oysters from the beach.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

windnsea wrote:
3. From just north of Forks go out to the Pacific and camp at the National Park campgrounds there.

4. The Hoh rain forest in the National Park. Good large campground and the rain forest is awesome.


X2! Loved Hoh Rain Forrest. No canopies over the table (Hello? Rain forrest), so bring table cloths and bench covers.
The Sequim Bay state park near Port Angeles I think was a good place. Loved that area -and it is pretty sunny! Dungeness Spit is a great place to visit.

I'd join you but MapQuest says it is 3,161 miles away, but only 2 days and 4 hours. Wink
John
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Vango Conversions
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My girlfriend and I spent this past Monday night and Tuesday snowshoeing on Hurricane ridge and had a great time. The views are awesome (if you have clearish skies). We got to the ridge about an hour before sunset on monday so we just played in the snow for a bit and watched the sunset, then they kick you off the ridge 1/2 hour after sunset. We went down to the Heart O' the Hills campsite for the evening where there was only one other campsite being occupied.

Tuesday we snowshoed along the ridge and it was overcast but you could still see across the straight.

Hurricane ridge is great for snowshoeing or XC skiing with awesome views. We're going to try and make another trip out to the ONP soon.
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a few ideas . . .

A list of campgrounds:
http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

If you come up the Hood Canal side, Staircase campground is nice, next to the inlet for Lake Cushman.

Dosewallips is good for beach/bay foraging of shellfish, as suggested. For oyster lovers, the Hama Hama oyster company in Lilliwaup is a good stop.

Weather is generally drier on the inland side.

Leave the van in Port Angeles and walk on the ferry and go to beautiful Victoria BC for a day trip. Passports required (kids too.)

Sol Duc hot springs has a nice campground an easy walk from the springs. This is more family-friendly option than Olympic hot springs, which has a decent hike (2 miles?) to get in and questionable water quality from all the smelly hippies like me.

How could you miss a sunset from the most western point in the cont. USA? Gotta head out to the NW tip.

I have heard good things about the Hobuck Beach resort, but have not stayed there myself. http://www.hobuckbeachresort.com/

Most of Hwy 101 on the west side is on Indian lands, or runs far inland away from the beach, so access is limited (unlike my fair state of Orygun with far better beach access, but that's another thread). So, keep that in mind.

A related thread is here:
Beach Camping in Washington State?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=424230

Happy trails,
CJ
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riceye
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bogachiel State Park just south of Forks is a pretty cool stop. The campground is right on the Bogachiel River. Very cobbly river bed, and easy access. The only downside is that hwy 101 is right up the hill, and jake-braking trucks can be heard.

There is a grocery store (Forks Outfitters?) that has an amazing produce department. Great stop to stock up for a few days.

No vampires seen during our visit, though.

There is a campground near Kalaloch that is very close to the beach. It has been full every time we were through. Lots of great trails that take you to interesting sights near the beach. Great seastacks, and debris from shipwrecks.

Sequim State Park is pricey, as far as state parks go, but showers available, and great crab eats are only a few miles away.

Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island was a really pleasant find. The upland campground has a couple of sites (#40? 44?) that are huge. and roll down into a woody glen. Really nice. Lower sites are rather like a parking lot. The drive there takes you past a really secretive area. Never did find out the purpose of the property.

And finally, we have camped at Kopachuck State Park on Henderson Bay near Gig Harbor several times. Our son goes to school in Tacoma and when we visit, Kopachuck is where we stay. Nice sites, and the coin op showers are a treat.

If the campsites were completely my choice, I'd boondock off any one of hundreds of roads on the peninsula. You can always pull into a state park for water or a shower, the only cost is for the coinbox in the shower.
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PNWesty wrote:
Really not a bad spot in the park.

For something on the east side:
We camp at Dosewallips State Park on Hood Canal each summer. Great place for getting clams and oysters from the beach.

This reminds me.. I need to organize a WetWesties campout at Dosewallips this year. That is a great park.
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

riceye wrote:
Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island was a really pleasant find. The upland campground has a couple of sites (#40? 44?) that are huge. and roll down into a woody glen. Really nice. Lower sites are rather like a parking lot. The drive there takes you past a really secretive area. Never did find out the purpose of the property.

I've camped in the lower part of Flagler (I think we had spot #90?) and it's nice to be close to the beach - but, man, is it windy down there.

The secretive area - Bangor Naval Base, where they have a lot of them nuclear ICBMs?
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riceye
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mariusstrom wrote:
riceye wrote:
Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island was a really pleasant find. The upland campground has a couple of sites (#40? 44?) that are huge. and roll down into a woody glen. Really nice. Lower sites are rather like a parking lot. The drive there takes you past a really secretive area. Never did find out the purpose of the property.

I've camped in the lower part of Flagler (I think we had spot #90?) and it's nice to be close to the beach - but, man, is it windy down there.

The secretive area - Bangor Naval Base, where they have a lot of them nuclear ICBMs?


That was my first thought, considering the location, but the spot is actually on Indian Island. I think it's just part of the Naval Reserve, and may be the site of some military remote sensing stuff.
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riceye
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and the Port Townsend Brewing Co.! Bring your growler!

Maybe some more local folks can suggest other microbreweries. I'd sure like to add more to my list.
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Franklinstower
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can use the washington state parks website to view campsites:

http://www.parks.wa.gov/

ofcourse you would no that since your planning reservations Laughing

Another place not on the map is Shi Shi beach. great for a day visit because it is a mile walk down to the beach...excellant surfing there too.

http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/shi-shi-beach-olympic-wilderness.htm

Paul
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brexcavator
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pacific Beach State Park is great. you camp almost on the beach in a nice, quiet, clean camp ground. You may not have fires at your camp site, but you may on the beach. We like to trip around all day and then start a fire on the beach and enjoy the waves until bed time.

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.m...CBoQ8gEwAA

Cape disappointment State Park is great during the eek when they are not busy, but I would avoid it during the weekends. We camped in a newer area and found lots of informative displays and great family friendly hikes.
http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.m...CBoQ8gEwAA
The little town of Ilwaca is one of the last grocers until Aberdeen. I would stock up in Aberdeen as there is not much going on as far as commerce in as you go north from there. The Olympic Peninsula is huge and not all nice. There are a lot of clearcuts and private lands and tribal lands that seem to last forever so plan accordingly. We find it nice to drive up through the peninsula and then take a ferry across from Port Townsend (Very cool town) to Whidbey Island (Coupeville is very cool ). Then you can see deception pass, pass through Anacortes (ferries to San Juan Islands and Victoria), the Skagit Valley (Tulips, Eagles, Orcas, ) and then you are at I-5. We make the loop comfortably in three days with loots of stops and nights in a cabin we love (www.dungenessbay.com).

My advice. Do the speed limit, stash your goods, put your hair back and break out the old man hat. Most of the folks are cool, but it is logging country and many here still blame your VW for the slowing of the logging here in Washington. Some towns have bad speed traps. You may not see them, but they see you.
That being said, enjoy..
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markz2004
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow and thanks! I seriously appreciate the low-down on some of the specific camp sites. Very Happy
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