National Park and Wilderness Tour



Description:

Take a tour of the most spectacular parks and wilderness area* on the continent! There are four main options for getting a chance to see the beautiful mountains, rivers and forests in the Northwest and you should decide ba*ed on what interests you most and how hard you want to work to get there. If you love beaches and forests, the Pacific Coa*t and the Olympic National Park are your best bet. If you pine for jagged peaks and alpine lakes, Mt. Rainier or the Alpine Lakes Wilderness are spectacular. If you’re most interested in volcanic geology then you should drive down to Mt. St. Helens. All of these options require a car rental unless you want to sit on a crowded bus for a guided tour. You should allow two days for each destination a* the drive time is lengthy and you'll want to have a chance to really enjoy each place. If you're backpacking, plan for three days minimum so you can have a day of decompression and gourmet food in Seattle before you head back to your daily grind (see 7 days in seattle). Be sure to pick up some local gourmet snacks at Pike Place Market. If you need any camping gear Northface, Feathered Friends and REI are all downtown.

user rating

Author: Jennifer


Staircase

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
visit website


Day 1 - Port Angeles, Hoodsport, Forks


To get to the Olympic Rain Forest you take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge and head north to Port Townsend. Drive along Highway 1 around the northern tip of the Peninsula, through Forks to the west coa*t. You’ll hit the Hoh Rainforest and the Queets River both of which have extraordinarily lush emerald green rain forests and pristine rivers teeming with salmon. You can get a permit from the Tribal office if you want to check out the Sea Stacks on the beaches near the Queets, but if you drive south you get to the coa*tal section of the Olympic National Forest. Third Beach is a mile hike from the road and offers secluded primitive campsites and spectacular views. If you’re not interested in camping there are cabins for rent along the beach and motels in Forks but you may need to call ahead during the summer months. Its also entirely possible to rent a beach house for larger groups, some of which have hot tubs and sauna*. The restaurants aren’t the best so you may want to pack some fruit, baguettes, cheese and cured meats from Pike Place Market for the trip. When you eat out, the fish of the day or crab is always the best option.


1

Port Angeles, Washington

Location:

121 East Railroad Avenue (Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce)
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Contact:

tel: +1 360 452 2363 / +1 877 456 8372 (Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce)
fax: +1 360 457 5380
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3

Hood Canal Ranger District

Location:

150 N. Lake Cushman Rd.
P.O. Box 68
Hoodsport, WA 98548

Contact:

tel: 360-877-5254


5

Sol Duc

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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6

Olympic Rain Forest Scenic Drive

expert pick

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-288-2525


7

Olympic National Park

user rating

expert pick

Location:

,

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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8

Queets

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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9

North Fork

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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10

Hoh Visitor Center

Location:

,

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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11

Hoh

Location:

, WA

Contact:

tel: 360-452-4501
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12

Hoh Rain Forest

Location:

18 miles east of US Highway 101
Forks, WA 98831

Contact:

tel: +1 360 374 6925 (Hoh Ranger Station)/ +1 360 452 4501 (Park Headquarters)
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Day 2 - Enumclaw


To get to Mt. Rainier takes four hours so plan to get up early. Drive south on I 5 and exit at Puyallup then follow the signs ea*t to the park. You’ll notice the change in the forests a* soon a* you enter the park since all the forests around it have been cut in the la*t 100 years. This park is one of the crown jewels of the National Park System. Towering Dougla* fir and Cedar trees dapple the twisting road in sunlight and a* you wind your way up to the various visitors’ centers; the forest you're driving through is hundreds of years old. Stop at Long Fellow for a short hike around the lake, rinse your face in the mineral spring for good health and then continue up to the aptly named Paradise Visitors’ Center where you can get an ice cream cone before you hike up into breathtaking alpine meadows. You’ll need to make reservations if you want to camp in the park during the summer months, otherwise there are plenty of cabins and lodges just outside the park. The restaurants aren’t the best so you may want to pack some fruit, baguettes, cheese and cured meats from Pike Place Market.


2

White River

user rating

Location:

, WA 98323

Contact:

tel: 360-569-2211
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3

White River Ranger District

Location:

450 Roosevelt Ave. East
Enumclaw, WA 98022

Contact:

tel: 360-825-6585


Day 4 - North Bend


Alpine Lakes Wilderness isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t have the gear you can rent it at REI. The hike in is 7-15 miles depending on which lake you are heading to. The views are absolutely spectacular so it’s well worth the climb but be sure to pack accordingly. Even during the summer months you’ll at lea*t need a 0 degree bag at this elevation because it’s a bit windy and there’s nothing worse than a cold night’s sleep after hiking all day. There are a few things you can pack to make the hike so much ea*ier and that’s really all you should pack, carry a* little with you a* possible because by the 7th mile the extra pair of pants seems much heavier. Take a shell, a fleece, long underwear, shorts, quick dry pants and extra smart wool socks. You can do the hike in cross trainers but there is an ea*y stream crossing so bring some sandals. There is water so if you want to save some weight you can pack a water purifier and save yourself room for a nice single malt scotch or a bottle of wine from the Ta*ting Room or Delaurenti (don’t forget your bottle opener). The best way to watch Aurora Borealis is with a perfect Barolo or Laphroaig. You’ll need a tent and a sleeping pad because this is alpine terrain and it’s exposed and even though the mossy meadows are relatively soft there are informal prime flat spots which due to use aren't quite a* cushy but to limit damage to the area it is considered environmental etiquette to either stray far from the trail or confine your impact. Be sure to bring a bear bag and a rope to hang your food from a tree away from camp. The ea*iest way to make dinner is to infuse olive oil with chopped garlic, chili flakes black pepper and fresh ba*il and use that a* the ba*e for everything you make. If you bring a collapsible fishing pole you can probably catch trout but bring plenty of pa*ta just in ca*e. Prosciutto and fresh sage is a nice addition especially if you don't catch any fish because you’ll have quite an appet**e. Pack a couple of baguettes (you can hang them off the side of your pack), specialty cheeses and a stick of salami for lunch. Cucmbers and carrots are ea*y to pack but tomatoes always perish. Give up on gourmet coffee, its too much work. Nescafe with hot chocholate makes a pretty darn good mocha and a gourmet black or green tea always ta*tes wonderful at that elevation. Breakfa*t oatmeal with freshly picked huckleberries from around the campsite is so delicious (I know its prohibited to remove anything from the park but they're so good and there are so many of them). Remember to pack a map, compa**, first aid kit, fla*hlight, iodine, extra energy bars, space blanket, a few lighters and a fully charged cell phone but turn it off to save the battery and prevent any interruptions. Enjoy!!!!


1

North Bend Ranger District

Location:

42404 SE North Bend Way
North Bend, WA 98045

Contact:

tel: 425-888-1421


2

Denny Creek Campground

expert pick

Location:

, WA 98068

Contact:

tel: 425-888-1421


3

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

expert pick

Location:

, WA 98288

Contact:

tel: 425-775-9702


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