Olympic Peninsula Loop - Washington Scenic Drives
1. STAIRCASE AREA
(Park). Hwy. 101 to Hoodsport, turn left on State Route 119 (Lake Cushman Rd.) and follow it to Forest Service (FS) Rd. 24. The 59 site campground is located inside the Park. Hike through towering stands of old growth forest. Nearby Lake Cushman offers a state park, boat launch, fishing and picnic areas.
2. HAMMA HAMMA AREA
(Forest).Hwy 101 to FS Rd. 25. Scenic drive with views of both Mt. Skokomish and The Brothers Wildernesses; hiking (Lena Lake and other trails), camping and picnicking.
3. INTERROREM NATURE TRAIL
( Forest).Hwy 101 to FS Rd. 2510. Four miles to the historic lnterrorem cabin. Casual hikers will enjoy a well maintained 1/4 mile loop trail with an abundance of ferns and mosses. Picnic area and toilets available, with great camping spots close by. A great pit stop!
4. SEAL ROCK CAMPGROUND
(Forest).Located just north of Brinnon off Hwy 101, Seal Rock is one of the few campgrounds located next to salt water. Beach access for seasonal oyster and clam harvesting, nature trails, bicycling, swimming, boating, beachcombing, bird watching, picnicking and camping.
5. MT. WALKER VIEW POINT
(Forest).Located 4.1 miles off Hwy 101 between Brinnon and Quilcene. Panoramic views of Puget Sound and Seattle (summit is 2,804 feet above sea level). Hikers can follow a short, rim trail to spectacular views; for the more hardy, try the 2 mile trail from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Road not recommended for trailer travel.
6. PORT TOWNSEND HISTORIC DISTRICT
Follow Hwy 101 north to junction of Hwy 20 and continue north for 13 miles. Picturesque Port Townsend overlooks the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Spend an afternoon browsing through the many shops and galleries, or tour a Victorian style home. Nearby Fort Worden State Park is a definite "must see", and don't miss the Marine Science Center (closed on Mondays). Ferry service available to Whidbey Island.
7. DUNGENESS SPIT/DUNGENESS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Just a short drive off Hwy 101, Dungeness Spit is the largest natural sand hook in the nation. A wonderful place for beachcombers, hikers and bird watchers. Horseback riding and camping available nearby. Tour the oldest lighthouse north of the Columbia river. Call (206) 683-5544 for more info.
8. PORT ANGELES / OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTER
One of the larger cities on the Olympic Peninsula and headquarters for the Olympic National Park. Seasonal fishing opportunities. Bird and wildlife watching areas nearby. Ferry service to Victoria, B.C. Visitor center summer hours 7 days/week 8:30 am -6 pm.
9. HURRICANE RIDGE/HEART O'THE HILLS
(Park). Hurricane Ridge (17 miles from Pt. Angeles) offers spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains. Stop at the visitor center, and take one of the popular day hikes. Beautiful Heart O' the Hills campground is just inside the Park.
10. LAKE CRESCENT / MARYMERE FALLS
(Park).Hwy 101 gently curves around the southern shore of this beautiful lake that offers camping and lodging facilities. One of the more popular day hikes is Marymere Falls, a 1-1/2 mile round trip hike to a 90 foot waterfall. The north shore of Lake Crescent offers a trail open to mountain bikes.
11. SOL DUC HOT SPRINGS
(Park). The Sol Duc Hot Springs area offers mineral baths, a seasonal full-service resort, camping, and great hiking opportunities. Hikers can enjoy some of the Park's most beautiful scenery up Sol Duc Valley including Sol Duc Falls.
12. MAKAH CULTURAL CENTER / NEAH BAY
Located in Neah Bay, the Makah Cultural Center and Museum interprets the history of the Makah Indians. Displays include a traditional Ionghouse, hand made canoes and wood carvings; artifacts and relics from an archaeological site near Lake Ozette. Contact the Makah Cultural Center (206) 645-2711.
13. HOH RAINFOREST
(Park). The Hoh Visitor Center is in the heart of the rainforest, 18 miles off Hwy 101. Visitors can learn about the rainforest by strolling along interpretive trails or walking the Hoh River Trail through lush stands of moss-draped trees. An 89 site campground is located next to the visitor center.
14. COASTAL HIKES
(Park). The Olympic National Park offers miles of unspoiled coastline, most of which is accessible only by foot. Walk sandy beaches with views of rocky bluffs and towering sea stacks. Hikers can often see seals, whales and shorebirds. At low tide, explore tidepools for sealife.
15. QUEETS RIVER
(Park). The Queets River area offers access to the interior of the Park and is especially popular with those seeking a more "wilderness" experience. Hikers and backpackers must first fjord the river at the trailhead -- a daunting prospect anytime of the year. Picnicking, camping, hiking and nice views of the rain forest.
16. QUlNAULT LAKE
(Forest). A beautiful lake nestled in the rainforest is the setting for a historic lodge, picturesque cabins, and several campgrounds. Visitors may stroll along the 1/2 mile Quinault Rainforest Interpretive Nature Trail. This connects with the 4 mile Quinault Loop Trail offering a hike through the rainforest and along the lake.
17. WYNOOCHEE LAKE / DAM
(Forest).From Route 12, turn north on Wynoochee Valley Rd., 1 mile west of Montesano. Continue 35 miles to dam and lake. Picnicking, hiking, camping, (popular Coho campground) boating, fishing, and swimming available. Hikers may explore the 12 mile trail that circles the lake or experience the Working Forest Nature Trail, a short, interpretive walk.
18. HIGH STEEL BRIDGE
(Forest) From Hwy 101 north of Shelton, take the Skokomish Valley Rd. for 5 miles to FS Rd. #23. Go 2.4 miles to FS Rd. #2340, and follow it for another 2.4 miles. The High Steel Bridge spans the South Fork of the Skokomish River at a height of 420 feet. It was originally built as a logging railroad bridge.
19. PACIFIC BEACHES
Access to ocean beaches, fishing, picnicking, and hiking. Miles of sandy beaches, breathtaking views and sunsets. Accommodations and restaurants nearby. Seasonal clam digging and fishing opportunities.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication