1gr8vacation

1gr8vacation

2019 Olympic National Park – Northern Portion

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains

Sol Duc Falls
We visited the northern section of Olympic National Park in June of 2019.  We added days onto our Alaskan cruise so we could explore this beautiful national park.  Read on to learn more about our time spent in Olympic National Park. 
Before I begin telling you about our trip to the northern portion of Olympic National Park (ONP), I would like to take you back two years to the summer of 2017.  Our first visit to Olympic National Park was in July 2017.  Back in 2017 we had two days to visit ONP. This by no means was enough to scratch the surface of things to see in the southern portion, but it was all we had.  Click the menu on the right to read more about our trip to the southern portion of Olympic National Park. Needless to say, after seeing the beauty the southern tip of Olympic National Park had to offer, we knew we had to see the northern portion if we were ever back in that part of the country again.  

As fate would allow, we were back in the Pacific Northwest in June of 2019.  This time we had two days to explore Olympic National Park northern section. 

Where did we stay?
Let me begin by saying, there are accommodations within Olympic National Park.  However, we travel on a budget, I do not feel the nightly rate charged for hotel accommodations within most national parks is budget friendly.  I don’t understand why lodging is more expensive within a national park than outside of the park, but it is. With that, I set out to find affordable accommodations that met my expectations for cleanliness and location. 

I chose to stay in Port Angeles, Washington at Olympic Lodge. Port Angeles is the gateway city to the northern portion of Olympic National Park.  The park entrance is five to ten minutes from the hotel. When we visited the hotel, the first week in June, it was still considered the off season and I found the rates to be reasonable. I have read reviews of people who visited during the peak season complaining about the nightly rates. The hotel is adjoining a beautiful golf course. The grounds are immaculately kept. Our room was large with a large bathroom.  The beds were very comfortable. The room was clean. We really liked the Olympic Lodge. We found it to be an oasis in Port Angeles.  The city of Port Angeles looks run down with many transient people wandering the streets.  Even though we liked Olympic Lodge immensely, I think in the future I would stay in Sequim which is about 30 minutes east of ONP entrance simply because it seemed like a nicer town. 

What did we see while visiting the northern portion of Olympic National Park?

Whereas when we visited the southern portion of ONP, we primarily visited beaches.  When we visited the northern portion of ONP we saw mountains and waterfalls.  What a beautiful park! You could spend a month and still not see everything this 1,442 square mile national park had to offer. 

We spent much of our time hiking because it is one of our favorite activities. None of the hikes we took would be considered even moderately difficult. We found most of the hikes to be doable by most healthy individuals. Some of the places we visited included:

Hurricane Ridge:
We arrived mid-afternoon on our first day at ONP. We drove up to Hurricane Ridge.  The road up was a typical mountain road with beautiful scenic overlooks. After visiting the visitor’s center we headed out for a short hike. Since we didn’t have a lot of time we opted to hike the Meadows Trail.  While parts of it had us breathing heavily, it was doable by a person who is average fitness or better. The scenery was gorgeous!
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Lake Crescent:
The next morning we awoke early and headed out to Lake Crescent.  It took us about 30 minutes to get there from Port Angeles. The scenery was aww inspiring on the drive in to Lake Crescent.   

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Marymere Falls trail would be our first adventure of the day.  It was an easy to moderate 1.7 miles out and back trail. The falls were certainly worth the hike in to see them.
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
After our hike to Marymere Falls we spent time exploring the area around Lake Crescent Lodge. The lodge and surrounding lake is gorgeous! We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the lodge’s Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake. 
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Sol Duc Falls:
After lunch we headed out for Sol Duc Falls located about 45 minutes south from Lake Crescent Lodge. Before hitting the trail we stopped in at Sol Duc Hot Springs to use the restroom. This place is in the middle of nowhere and when we drove up you would have thought it was Disneyworld.  There were people EVERYWHERE.  The temperature that day in early June as hovering around 65 degrees, yet there were people in bathing suits wandering around everywhere. The hot springs pool was crowded beyond belief with mostly school aged children on a field trip.  To this day we laugh thinking about all those people crowded into that pool. 

A few miles down the road from Sol Duc Hot Springs was the trail head to the Sol Duc Falls trail.  The trail is a 1.6 mile out and back easy/moderate trail. The hike did not disappoint. 

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Madison Creek Falls:
After Sol Duc Falls, we decided to head back to Port Angeles since it was getting close to dinnertime and eating accommodations within ONP is limited. Sol Duc Falls is about an hour drive from Port Angeles.  As we headed back we noticed a sign for Madison Creek Falls about 20 minutes outside Port Angeles.  We thought, why not stop, so we did.  Am I ever glad we decided to make this impromptu scenic stop. 

Madison Creek Falls is .2 mile paved trail to a gorgeous water fall.  It is handicap accessible so anyone can enjoy this beauty. The parking lot for the hiking trail is located next to a roaring river with mountain scenery as a backdrop. When you are in the area, make certain to stop to see Madison Creek Falls. 

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains

Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
Olympic national park, national park, park, Olympic, waterfalls, hiking, forest, mountains
 After two great days in the northern portion of Olympic National Park we were headed to our next destination, Deception Pass State Park.  Check back to learn more about our adventures. 

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May God bless you and your family on all your adventures.