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Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?

Brentwood, Tennessee
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23 posts
2 reviews
Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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We are planning a trip to the area next year and had thought ONP would be on our itinerary. After reading a little on it, I am beginning to wonder if we will enjoy it. We are not hikers, but instead walkers. A hike of 3 miles roundtrip is about as much as we want to undertake. With this in mind, would you suggest we skip it?

8 replies to this topic
Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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14,570 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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Well, this is a judgement call. Here is the unvarnished truth about ONP. It is a long, rather boring drive from Seattle. Then, once you are in one of the gateways to the park, whether it be Port Angeles in the north, or Quinault in the south, it is a series of long, rather boring drives to get to the dispersed sites that make up ONP. As a result of ONP's dispersed layout, you could find yourself driving an hour to three hours to reach a site such as the Hoh Rain Forest, the Quinault Rain Forest, Rialto Beach, Sol Duc Falls, Lake Crescent, or Hurricane Ridge. After driving all that way through monotonous, dark, timber country, would you feel it is worth it to walk 45 minutes to 1 hour? Now, it is true that the wild, completely unspoiled beaches, temperate rain forests, and mountain trails that offer alpine views on one side and marine views on the other, are unsurpassed in their beauty and diversity. Are the oohing and ahhing worth the driving? Only you can make that determination.

Gig Harbor...
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2. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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We are also "walkers" due to my knees which I think are 20 years older than the rest of me. That said, we enjoy visiting ONP and usually do this:

Day 1, drive to Lake Crescent with stops at Hurricane Ridge and Madison Falls. Stay at the lodge, maybe hike to Marymere Falls or rent a kayak.

Day 2, drive to Lake Quinault with stops for a fairly easy hike in the Hoh Rain Forest and a walk on Ruby Beach. While at Lake Quinault, hike the nature trail, drive the south shore which includes two waterfalls right by the road.

Day 3, drive back home with a stop for lunch at Cascadia Grill in Olympia and a walk at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Yes, the drives are not especially scenic, but you are looking at lots of trees, not ugly strip malls.

If you are coming here from Tennessee, you would want to add some other destination to make the trip worthwhile - maybe Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens or a few days in the San Juan Islands.

Bellingham...
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3. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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Although I'm a hiker, I can attest that appreciating ONP doesn't require long hikes. My visits there (which are admittedly too few) have been rather quick hits. Granted, I live in the region, know what to expect, etc. But I definitely don't think you should cross it off the list of possibilities. Really depends on how much time you have overall, and where else you're going/what else you're seeing & doing.

~ Colleen

Bellingham...
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4. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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I agree with the others. It’s a judgement call. Because I dislike driving, I don’t go as often as I’d like. When I’m there, I do enjoy it. It’s not a reason to cross it off your list, but there is also a lot of other stuff to do in the region that wouldn’t involve that much monotonous driving.

Washington
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5. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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We have been going to,ONP for over fifty years. When we were younger we did many hikes and camping in the park. Now that age and bad knees don’t allow that we still go. We drive to Hurricane Ridge and enjoy the views and take a stroll on the pathways. We enjoy the beaches and pull off next to Lake Crescent For a picnic lunch. Go to SolDuc and take a short hike to the falls and maybe go in the pools at the lodge there( although it’s not that special a place...just concrete pools with hot water) . We also enjoy Kalaloch beach.

We find lots to enjoy about the park without doing major hiking. I do agree about it being a long drive from Seattle and areas around the park are not particularly pretty but I’d rather see that than driving on freeways for hours to get someplace.

6. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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Maybe you could cross over to the 101, and drive up the coast towards ONP?

Port Angeles, WA
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7. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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Wonder, Highway 101 does not run along the coast. Except for a very short stretch, it runs inland, well out of sight of the ocean.

Bellingham...
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100 reviews
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8. Re: Enjoying Olympic National Park possible without long hikes?
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With all due respect, Wonder, you don’t seem to have a good handle on your own trip, so best not to make suggestions to others.

~ Colleen

Edited: 09 October 2020, 04:24
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