National Park Guide:

Olympic National Park

National Park Guide:

Olympic National Park

Destinations  »  North America  »  USA

Destination: Olympic National Park, WA

Length of Stay: 4 nights (July 2018)

 

Lodging: Elwha Dam RV Park $46/night

National Park Service Fee:  7 day pass - $30 per vehicle | Annual NPS pass $80

Olympic offers awesome hiking, water sports, and camping. It’s also conveniently located less than 15 minutes from the super cool, hipster town - Port Angeles, Washington. We were torn between either visiting Olympic or Mt. Rainer National Park but after looking at all trails and deciding which hikes we wanted to do, it seemed like Olympic had more to offer in terms of the variety of ecosystems (mountains, rainforests and beaches) so that was the winner. We will say though, we were fortunate enough to see Mt. Rainer on our drive into Seattle and wow - it was breathtaking. We can validate why car accidents on I-5 are more prominent when the mountain is visible. We definitely plan on making a trek back out to see Mt. Rainer and North Cascades National Parks.

We arrived in Elwha Damn RV Park in late July and stayed for four nights. Our friend, Marion, is a nurse in Seattle and was able to come and stay with us for the long weekend. On the first day, we did the Mt. Storm King hike. Definitely not recommended after a five day cross country trip with long days in the car, but hey, AllTrails rated this trek as hard and they didn’t lie. It took us about five hours total. There is an option to stop and turn around near top where the trail is too steep to hike/walk up and you need to use the ropes tied from tree-to-tree to summit the storm king. Breathtaking views are promised for those that do finish it - you can even see Vancouver Island! Yup, literally another country just across the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

Destination: Olympic National Park, WA

Length of Stay: 4 nights (July 2018)

 

Lodging: Elwha Dam RV Park $46/night

National Park Service Fee:  7 day pass - $30 per vehicle | Annual NPS pass $80

Olympic offers awesome hiking, water sports, and camping. It’s also conveniently located less than 15 minutes from the super cool, hipster town - Port Angeles, Washington. We were torn between either visiting Olympic or Mt. Rainer National Park but after looking at all trails and deciding which hikes we wanted to do, it seemed like Olympic had more to offer in terms of the variety of ecosystems (mountains, rainforests and beaches) so that was the winner. We will say though, we were fortunate enough to see Mt. Rainer on our drive into Seattle and wow - it was breathtaking. We can validate why car accidents on I-5 are more prominent when the mountain is visible. We definitely plan on making a trek back out to see Mt. Rainer and North Cascades National Parks.

We arrived in Elwha Damn RV Park in late July and stayed for four nights. Our friend, Marion, is a nurse in Seattle and was able to come and stay with us for the long weekend. On the first day, we did the Mt. Storm King hike. Definitely not recommended after a five day cross country trip with long days in the car, but hey, AllTrails rated this trek as hard and they didn’t lie. It took us about five hours total. There is an option to stop and turn around near top where the trail is too steep to hike/walk up and you need to use the ropes tied from tree-to-tree to summit the storm king. Breathtaking views are promised for those that do finish it - you can even see Vancouver Island! Yup, literally another country just across the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

See how this fits into the North American Road Trip:

Hiking The Olympics

Sites to See

Missed Sites

Lodging

Mt. Storm King

This hike was quite a workout and took us the better part of an afternoon to finish, but boy are the views worth it. The last portion of the trail features 4 sections of climbing rope to get up to the steep summit so go at your own risk! If you want to avoid some rope burn, bring some callused hands or a pair of gloves. We were so exhausted after this hike/workout that we didn’t have the energy to make dinner so we decided to #treatyoself and get Thai! SO glad we did because this place was BALLER. Jasmine Bistro really hit the stop and our waitress was a local girl, McKenna, who was cool as and gave us some awesome recommendations. Get the curry fried rice!!

On day 2, we woke up at the crack of dawn, crammed in Marion’s car and drove the short distance to the ferry terminal. Pro tip: thanks to McKenna, we snagged free parking in front of a local bar - BarHop Brewing as opposed to paying the $12 it would have been for ferry parking. We then spent the day exploring Victoria, BC - read more about visiting Victoria and our recommendations about what to do there!

Cape Flattery

Marymere Falls

On our last day, we were completely energetically depleted and decided to take it easy so we drove back to the same trail head as Mt Storm King to enjoy the beautiful walk through the giant redwoods and sequoias as we headed toward Marrymere FallsIt was a great way to spend the morning. With lunch packed in our day packs, we decided to spend our final afternoon at Shi Shi Beach. Though it was a bit of a long drive, we were eager to make it to Cape Flattery first, which is Northwestern most point of the contiguous United States.

Shi Shi Beach

If you plan on doing this hike, pack a sweatshirt, it gets pretty chilly (drastically different than the campground) even toward the end of July. The trees are covered in moss and the hike has with gorgeous wooden walkways through the thick tree-line. It’s a good option for children or elderly folks alike. From there it was finally time to make the 2.5 mile walk down to Shi Shi Beach. My blisters were so bad from Mt Storm King that I had to do this hike entirely in flip flops but it was mostly flat until you arrive at the steep pathway that leads down to the water, so it wasn't the end of the world. This hike is definitely the highlight of our trip. Starting out in gorgeous redwoods, they lead you to the water. If you only have a short time to spend in Olympic - this would be an excellent way to spend it. The walkway down to the water was steep but something straight out of middle earth! The beach had a really pretty marine layer when we got there around 4pm in the afternoon and lifted before sunset. It was only us three plus another couple when we were there. Wanting to make it back before dark, we stayed for an hour or so before making the hike back. In addition to bringing sweatshirts on this trek, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring a spare gas jug...

Don't forget the gas!

En route back to the campsite (70 miles) spirits were high as we reflected on how cool Olympic is and how Washington is truly such a beautiful/magical state. Listening to the Lumineers and telling jokes didn’t last too long as soon as we realized that there were no gas stations open within 50 miles of where we were. We had limited phone service and it was getting dark (around 10:00pm). Realizing that we were inevitably going to run out of gas before we made it back into town, we decided to pull off on the side of the road and call AAA for roadside assistance. After speaking with a representative and receiving the confirmation text with tracking that the driver was on his way, we got a call shortly after where the same rep explaining that it was “too late” and the driver was “too far” to come out to us. After explaining our location and situation multiple times, AAA suggested we have a family member or friend come and pick us up. With dying phones and shotty service we decided to stay parked on the road side and not waste the remaining gas that we had, which would have only gotten us about ten miles down the road. When we explained we were from out of state, AAA then suggested that we call the police to ask for aid. Not wanting to take advantage of law enforcement, we started waving down passing cars - which were few and far as it was almost midnight.

Extremely dissatisfied with the way we were treated by AAA, we started to lose hope and contemplated sleeping all three of us in Marion’s tiny Honda Civic when suddenly a really nice Mustang pulled over. A couple on their honeymoon, Tom and Libby, offered us a ride! SO relieved and thankful at the kindness of strangers, we all piled into the back of their rental car and swapped stories of Olympic. Tom and Libby drove us all the way back to our camper and wished us farewell. Happy to be sleeping in beds, we all got a good night's rest and drove the hour long trek back out to retrieve Marion’s car in the morning. Needless to say, the moral of the story is:

"The moral of the story is:"

  1. If you plan on making the trip out to Shi Shi beach from most of the campsites in Olympic, fill up your gas tank prior! Actually, make sure you fill up your gas in all national parks… some of them don’t have stations readily available like you might be used to and commonly don't have cell phone reception.
  2. Bring layers and plenty of water.
  3. Always take rides from strangers 😉

After getting Marion’s car (and taking the pictures of the spot we were stranded in), we caravanned to her apartment in Seattle. While she slept, preparing for her night shift, we hit the Pike Place Market.

Hiking The Olympics

Sites to See

Missed Sites

Lodging

Mt. Storm King

This hike was quite a workout and took us the better part of an afternoon to finish, but boy are the views worth it. The last portion of the trail features 4 sections of climbing rope to get up to the steep summit so go at your own risk! If you want to avoid some rope burn, bring some callused hands or a pair of gloves. We were so exhausted after this hike/workout that we didn’t have the energy to make dinner so we decided to #treatyoself and get Thai! SO glad we did because this place was BALLER. Jasmine Bistro really hit the stop and our waitress was a local girl, McKenna, who was cool as and gave us some awesome recommendations. Get the curry fried rice!!

On day 2, we woke up at the crack of dawn, crammed in Marion’s car and drove the short distance to the ferry terminal. Pro tip: thanks to McKenna, we snagged free parking in front of a local bar - BarHop Brewing as opposed to paying the $12 it would have been for ferry parking. We then spent the day exploring Victoria, BC - read more about visiting Victoria and our recommendations about what to do there!

Cape Flattery

Marymere Falls

On our last day, we were completely energetically depleted and decided to take it easy so we drove back to the same trail head as Mt Storm King to enjoy the beautiful walk through the giant redwoods and sequoias as we headed toward Marrymere FallsIt was a great way to spend the morning. With lunch packed in our day packs, we decided to spend our final afternoon at Shi Shi Beach. Though it was a bit of a long drive, we were eager to make it to Cape Flattery first, which is Northwestern most point of the contiguous United States.

Shi Shi Beach

If you plan on doing this hike, pack a sweatshirt, it gets pretty chilly (drastically different than the campground) even toward the end of July. The trees are covered in moss and the hike has with gorgeous wooden walkways through the thick tree-line. It’s a good option for children or elderly folks alike. From there it was finally time to make the 2.5 mile walk down to Shi Shi Beach. My blisters were so bad from Mt Storm King that I had to do this hike entirely in flip flops but it was mostly flat until you arrive at the steep pathway that leads down to the water, so it wasn't the end of the world. This hike is definitely the highlight of our trip. Starting out in gorgeous redwoods, they lead you to the water. If you only have a short time to spend in Olympic - this would be an excellent way to spend it. The walkway down to the water was steep but something straight out of middle earth! The beach had a really pretty marine layer when we got there around 4pm in the afternoon and lifted before sunset. It was only us three plus another couple when we were there. Wanting to make it back before dark, we stayed for an hour or so before making the hike back. In addition to bringing sweatshirts on this trek, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring a spare gas jug...

Don't forget the gas!

En route back to the campsite (70 miles) spirits were high as we reflected on how cool Olympic is and how Washington is truly such a beautiful/magical state. Listening to the Lumineers and telling jokes didn’t last too long as soon as we realized that there were no gas stations open within 50 miles of where we were. We had limited phone service and it was getting dark (around 10:00pm). Realizing that we were inevitably going to run out of gas before we made it back into town, we decided to pull off on the side of the road and call AAA for roadside assistance. After speaking with a representative and receiving the confirmation text with tracking that the driver was on his way, we got a call shortly after where the same rep explaining that it was “too late” and the driver was “too far” to come out to us. After explaining our location and situation multiple times, AAA suggested we have a family member or friend come and pick us up. With dying phones and shotty service we decided to stay parked on the road side and not waste the remaining gas that we had, which would have only gotten us about ten miles down the road. When we explained we were from out of state, AAA then suggested that we call the police to ask for aid. Not wanting to take advantage of law enforcement, we started waving down passing cars - which were few and far as it was almost midnight.

Extremely dissatisfied with the way we were treated by AAA, we started to lose hope and contemplated sleeping all three of us in Marion’s tiny Honda Civic when suddenly a really nice Mustang pulled over. A couple on their honeymoon, Tom and Libby, offered us a ride! SO relieved and thankful at the kindness of strangers, we all piled into the back of their rental car and swapped stories of Olympic. Tom and Libby drove us all the way back to our camper and wished us farewell. Happy to be sleeping in beds, we all got a good night's rest and drove the hour long trek back out to retrieve Marion’s car in the morning. Needless to say, the moral of the story is:

"The moral of the story is:"

  1. If you plan on making the trip out to Shi Shi beach from most of the campsites in Olympic, fill up your gas tank prior! Actually, make sure you fill up your gas in all national parks… some of them don’t have stations readily available like you might be used to and commonly don't have cell phone reception.
  2. Bring layers and plenty of water.
  3. Always take rides from strangers 😉

After getting Marion’s car (and taking the pictures of the spot we were stranded in), we caravanned to her apartment in Seattle. While she slept, preparing for her night shift, we hit the Pike Place Market.

Outskirts of Olympic

Port Angeles

This cool town about 15 minutes from Olympic is a well known port that has ferries running daily between Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC. There are also plenty of cool hipster boutiques and a variety of tasty local restaurants.

Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay is tucked away along State Route 20 during the scenic drive back to Seattle. There were freshly bloomed lavender fields while we visited during late July. Check out some different kind of flower in these retired train cars if you want to see a bit of local Washington greenery.

Outskirts of Olympic

Port Angeles

This cool town about 15 minutes from Olympic is a well known port that has ferries running daily between Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC. There are also plenty of cool hipster boutiques and a variety of tasty local restaurants.

Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay is tucked away along State Route 20 during the scenic drive back to Seattle. There were freshly bloomed lavender fields while we visited during late July. Check out some different kind of flower in these retired train cars if you want to see a bit of local Washington greenery.

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By |2019-05-15T05:14:52-04:00July 26th, 2018|Destinations, National Park|0 Comments

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