A tour around Washington's Olympic
Peninsula is a majestic and scenic trip that
needs several days and advance planning to
throughly enjoy. I did it with my cousin
between Monday and Friday starting in
Seattle driving South on I-5 to Olympia and
taking 101 to Aberdeen where we stopped
for lunch and had clam chowder and fresh
pan fried oysters at Bridge's Restaurant.
Continue on 101 for an hour to The Lodge at
Lake Quinault, one of three National Park
lodge operated by Aramark where we
stayed. See www.olympicnationalparks.com
for pictures and information on all and for
reservations. Aramark does a terrific job
and the service, food and hospitality at all of
their lodges is a model for all in the business
We continued on 101 staying at the Kalalach
Lodge and then Lake Crescent Lodge with
scenic stops in between. The last stop was
at the Northeast point of the peninsula at
Port Townsend. Then home to Seattle.
LAKE QUINAULT LODGE, built in 1926, is
in the heart of one of three temperate rain
forests in the U.S. All are located in the
Olympic National Forest. Make reservations
early for the morning rain forest tour. It sells
out early and is something you do not want to
miss. Check also if there is an afternoon or
evening boat tour on the lake. It operates on
a seasonal basis.
The food in the Roosevelt Dining Room was
outstanding. My favorites are the cedar
planked fresh, wild caught salmon and
Photos above show the beauty of the rain forest. Left-to-right: 300' tall Douglas fir trees; one of the tallest and
oldest cedar trees; a waterfall in the forest; and Rene and cousin Dot on the deck at the lodge. Below are photos
of Lake Quinault.
KALALOCH LODGE was an easy one hour drive on 101 from Lake Quinault. Its location high on a bluff
offers dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach is a treasure of driftwood and weathered logs of
trees washed down from the rain forest. There are seven beaches within minutes of the lodge. Rooms are
available in the lodge and in cabins.
Eight miles north of Kalaloch be sure to stop first at RUBY BEACH for magnificent views. Continue on
101 and two miles past Forks take SR-110 to La Push and the branch to RIALTO BEACH, pictured
above. Rene and Dot sit in a weathered tree stump of a once-giant in the rain forest and carved by the
storms of the Pacific.
The last of the three Aramark managed lodges was LAKE CRESCENT LODGE, built in the early 1900s
and nestled among giant hemlock and Douglas fir trees. Lake Crescent is 10 miles long and more than
600' deep. As at Lake Quinault, the lodge offers guests a number of boating, fishing and water activities as
well as hiking trails.
The next stop was PORT ANGELES, population of 19,010 and the major city on the northern peninsula. An
important fishing port and paper milling center there is regular ferry service to Victoria, British Columbia.
The National Park's Museum and Visitors Center is a must see. A 17-mile drive up Hurricane Ridge will
give one panoramic views of the Olympic mountains, across the Dungeness Valley, the Strait of Juan de
Fuca and the San Juan Islands. The steep, winding road is not for the faint of heart and will take 45 minutes
in good weather.
Continuing clockwise around the Olympic National Forest the next destination stop is PORT TOWNSEND.
You will drive through SEQUIM (pronounced Sqim) and there are several scenic side trips.
THE PALACE HOTEL was built in 1889 for $28,000 by Henry L.
Tibbals, a retired sea captain. The three-story brick building is a
classic example of Port Townsend's turn-of-the-century architecture.
The first floor originally housed a billiard parlor and saloon and the
upper two floors provided furnished rooms for rent. From 1925-1933
the hotel was known as "The Palace of Sweets" and was a brothel.
The 19 rooms and suites today are named after former residents -
Miss Sara, Miss Annie, Miss Cecilia. Each is furnished in keeping with
the Victorian character of the building.
PORT TOWNSEND was founded in the early 1850s and was one of
the leading cities on the Puget Sound. The city has an impressive
collection of Victorian-era architecture and great restaurants. Nearby
is Fort Worden State Park and Conference Center. There is ferry
service to Whidbey Island and seasonal passenger ferry service to the
San Juan Islands.
I recommend three restaurants - T's, where we had lunch; The Belmont,
for dinner with great views of the water and across the street from the
hotel; and the Creperie, in the same block.
Above and to the left are views of
various historical buildings and homes
in Port Townsend.
At the right is the lighthouse at Fort
Worden. The coastal fortress that
protects the entrance to Puget Sound
was built in the late 1890s.
From PORT TOWNSEND it was an easy drive across the HOOD CANAL bridge to
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND and the ferry back home to SEATTLE.
Touring Washington's Olympic Peninsula and National Forest