As a hiking enthusiast and someone who appreciates the great outdoors, I’m extremely lucky to be living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. After traveling extensively throughout the U.S. as well as across the globe, I believe there is no better place to be.
If you like to hike, you won’t be disappointed with these five fabulous treks.
Lower Big Quilcene River
This 12.4-mile round trip hike is an ideal spring or summer hike that can be reached just a few miles outside of the town of Quilcene, known for its famous Quilcene oysters. To get there, turn west onto Penny Creek Road and then left onto Big Quilcene River Road/FR 27 about one and a half miles in. Bear right to stay on FR 27, and just under .5 miles turn left on FR 27-080 and follow the winding dirt road a half-mile to the trailhead.
If you’d prefer a shorter hike, you may want to turn around 2.6 miles in at Bark Shanty Camp as the first half of this trek is really the best. the trail journeys through the canyon, passing numerous waterfalls until eventually meeting up with the river. Just before the wooden bridge, duck into towering moss-covered trees and you’ll find a sand bank, perfect for photos or quiet contemplation. Bark Shanty Camp is another idyllic place to sit beneath ancient trees and watch the water cascade over the rocks.
Sunrise Ridge: Olympic National Park
During the summer months, wildflowers are in full bloom on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Avoid the hordes of tourists by hiking 2.6 miles to Sunrise Ridge up the Mount Angeles Trail. You’ll find plenty of lupine, larkspur, phlox, bistort and other beautiful blooms along the way. This is also a great hike for spotting wildlife like deer, coyote, and maybe even a bear.
Upper Dungeness River
This 8-mile round trip hike is one of the easiest wilderness trails on the peninsula, making it perfect for those who want to introduce their kids to the wonders of nature. It follows the crystal-clear Dungeness River, passing through magnificent Douglas Firs for lots of shade on a warm summer day.
The trailhead can be accessed near Sequim by turning south onto Louella Road just before Sequim Bay State Park. Turn left on Palo Alto Road, bearing right onto FR 2880 after six miles. In 1.7 miles, turn left onto FR 2870 and continue on for 9.1 miles until you reach the large parking area just past the Dungeness River Bridge.
A 10-mile round trip beach hike on the Dungeness Spit in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge will bring you to the Dungeness Lighthouse with spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, and even Mount Baker the entire way. The refuge protects over 250 birds and 41 land mammals that call this area home. Although the terrain is fairly flat, depending on the tide, it can also be a bit rocky which can make it a little more challenging. When you reach the lighthouse, you can take a tour free of charge and even climb to the stop for more incredible views of this beautiful area.
The Cape Flattery trail may be short, but it’s extremely rewarding. This 1.5-mile round trip hike will bring you to the northwesternmost point in the continental U.S. where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific. The turquoise waters are simply breathtaking as they splash against sea stacks and into deep coves. The trail winds through Sitka spruce over boardwalks and steps with a number of viewing platforms along the way.
Getting here is part of the adventure, as it’s a good two hour drive from Port Angeles, much of it through remote terrain along narrow, winding roads with beautiful vistas of the Strait.
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