Olympic Peninsula: Dungeness Spit

Our last stop during our extended weekend trip to the Olympic Peninsula was Dungeness Spit, a natural sand spit that juts out into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. With a length of 5.5-miles, it is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. And yes, in case you were wondering, that delicious Dungeness crab takes its name from this area of Washington.

We didn’t make the roundtrip 11 mile hike, but you certainly can if you are willing. At the end of the spit is the New Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857.

If you look closely, you can see the lighthouse

View all the Dungeness Spit photos.

Olympic National Park: Sol Duc Falls

After hiking and kayaking for the past few days, we decided we needed something a little more relaxing, so headed to the Sol Duc Valley area of Olympic National Park. Our main purpose for going there was to spend some time soaking in the Sol Duc Hot Springs pools, but first we made a detour to see the Sol Duc River’s famous waterfalls.

There are several ways to reach the waterfalls, either through a six mile hike or one mile stroll. Since we had done plenty of hiking the day prior, we opted for the shorter route. The scenery did not disappoint. It was just so…green.

As for the Hot Springs resort itself, I can’t say I was very impressed. The weather was quite chilly, so the warm water felt great, but the pools were packed wall to wall with people (then again, to be expected, as it was Memorial Day weekend). The water didn’t seem very clean and the women’s locker room was pretty disgusting. I think next time I’ll stick to the trails.

View the rest of the waterfall photos.

Olympic National Park: Lake Crescent

Drive seventeen miles west of Port Angeles and you’ll arrive at Lake Crescent, a 12 mile long glacially carved lake nestled in the foothills of the Olympic mountain range.

We were looking for a place to kayak during our Memorial Day Trip to the Peninsula. Our initial research on places to rent kayaks led us to the Log Cabin Resort on Lake Crescent’s northern shore, however when we arrived we were met with a large “CLOSED” sign. So we next stopped at Lake Crescent Lodge, a National Park owned resort that features a rustic lodge surrounded by adorable little cottages. It was here that President Franklin Roosevelt stayed while touring the Olympic Peninsula in 1937. He later signed legislation designating the area as a National Park.

The only thing missing is a cold beer

Thankfully, the lodge rents kayaks (2 hours for $30) so we were able to spend some time out on the actual lake (although sitting on the shore was pretty nice).

The brilliant blue waters of Lake Crescent rival those in the Caribbean.

Attempt at self portrait in choppy waters

View of the lodge

If you’re on the Olympic Peninsula and looking for a place to kayak, or just relax on some comfy Adirondack chairs while enjoying amazing views, definitely check out the Lake Crescent Lodge.

More photos here.

Olympic Peninsula: Cape Flattery

After hiking the Ozette Loop, we headed to Cape Flattery. Located at the western tip of Washington state, Cape Flattery is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is the most northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States (Cape Alava being the most western point by a mere 360 additional feet). Cape Flattery was named by Captain James Cook on March 22, 1778 while searching for a harbour (he made the wise decision to not approach the cape any further, as this would have meant certain disaster).

Unlike Cape Alava, Cape Flattery is not a part of Olympic National Park, but rather located on the Makah Indian Reservation. Upon entering the reservation you are asked to purchase a recreation pass. The pass costs $10 and is valid for a year. You can’t purchase the pass by the Cape Flattery trailhead, so be sure to stop at the mini-mart in Neah Bay (or there are a few other places in town) and purchase it prior to driving all the way out to the cape.

Once you arrive at the Cape Flattery parking lot, there is a short 3/4 mile hike over boardwalk that leads to viewing platforms and these views:

Tatoosh Island, home of the Cape Flattery Light

More photos here.

Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge

One of the reasons why I love Olympic National Park so much is its diversity; the park is home to rugged coastline, sandy beaches, rainforests, hot springs, and glaciated mountains. You can surf, hike, ski, kayak, snowshoe, or just lounge on the beach. There really is something for everyone here.

Located 17 miles south of Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge provides amazing views of the dense forests and snow-capped mountains that make up the Olympic Mountain Range and, on a clear day, a view of Canada across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

When we visited Hurricane Ridge in mid-May, there was still plenty of snow around the visitor center area. The weather up here is extreme; the area receives 30-35 feet of snow per year and winds can top 75mph (hence the “hurricane” name).

Wildflowers blooming

Some of the local wildlife, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the background

Nothing but trees for miles and miles

Near the visitor center

More photos here.