There aren’t many places you can explore mountains, beaches, and rainforests all in one day. Fortunately for those who live up in the PNW (Pacific North West), they have an opportunity to do just that—explore all those lands within Olympic National Park. On our way up, we found a great campground through Hipcamp that would serve as our launching point to begin exploring the area. (The picture above was from our time at Cedar Arms Campground).
We enjoyed day swimming in the South Fork Skokomish River before turning in early for our big day ahead. My cousin, Evan, was joining us, so we had 24-hours to explore the Olympic National Park before we would need to get him back to Seattle. Here’s our story of bouncing around between sand and soil for one full day:
Port Angeles is just north of the entrance to Olympic, and it’s a great spot to grab firewood and beer on the way in. There aren’t any through-roads into Olympic, only spur—so put your driving pants on. After setting up camp at Heart of the Hills Campground, we scarfed down chicken sausages and egg burritos before setting-off toward the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center.
After stamping our park passport, number-38, we set out for Hurricane Hill Trailhead. This relatively easy 3.2-mile roundtrip hike has breathtaking views of the mountains in the distance; we saw deer, marmots, and a lonely mountain goat at the top. He was big. I was scared.
Driving west on the 101, you’ll run right alongside beautiful Crescent Lake. If you have any spare time, any at at all—park somewhere near to hike Storm King. With it’s fantastic overlook of the lake and the far-off ocean, it’s a pit stop worth the extra minutes. As we only had a day, we pressed on. (Yes, even passing a town one might have read about in a series of novels about werewolves, vampires, and pale pregnant girls. Something like “Twinklelight,” perhaps.)
Eva was admittedly embarrassed at her uncontainable excitement.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the books, head-down toward La Push, park at the second beach lot, and get prepared for a .7-mile hike that’ll spit you out on to a gorgeous beach. We threw the Aerobie frisbee around for a while—the best frisbee ever, if we dare say so—and finally hiked back to the car.
The drive towards the Hoh Rainforest was beautiful; the green colors start to glow and the moss takes over. We stopped along the side of the road to watch a large group of elk mosey about, then continued on until we ran into the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center. It was around 7pm at this time so we took the short Hall of Mosses loop to get a closer look at even more greenery. We retraced our steps all the way back along the 101 to our campsite, built a great fire, and enjoyed a night illuminated by bright stars.
Oh, what a day; what a day we had outside. Happy camping, everyone!
Jordan and his fiance Eva are living out of their Jeep to camp all the National Parks in the lower 48. They are pursuing personal growth and fulfillment and hoping to empower others to do the same. You can follow along at evaandjordango.com or @jordanjayvaughn and @peachnectar on Instagram.
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