Weekend Road trip around Olympic NP

My friend Nick and I did a road trip around Olympic NP and checked out places I had on my bucket list! Here’s some idea’s and tips for your next road trip.

We left Saturday morning around 9:30 for our first destination.

The famous Vance Creek Bridge

This is the second tallest bridge in Washington State. Spanning 422 feet across and towering 347 feet above the creek below. Walking along this bridge is exhilarating, scary and dangerous.

There are 2 approaches to this bridge. One is right off NF-23 and the other, also longer, is off NF-2341/2199 but requires you to trespass on private property owned by the logging company. We chose the first approach that allowed us to legally hike as far as the bridge but we must stay off. To make sure no one tries climb up  they put barb wire all around the edge and started to disassemble the bridge and tracks, making the climb more difficult but also more dangerous.

After finishing with the bridge, we then, visited different beaches in Olympic National Park, located on the coast.

The Tree of Life

There is an extraordinary tree hanging on for dear life, although, it should have been dead years ago! The tree of life is miraculous! It is located at Kalaloch Beach, near the Kalaloch Campground.


Ruby Beach

I have seen so many amazing pictures from this beach that I’ve been spoiled. It’s very beautiful but in my opinion it’s better to go for a sunset.

There are 2 campgrounds near Kalaloch and Ruby Beach. Kalaloch Campground is open year-round (make sure to reserve a site, especially during the summer) and  South Beach is open from Memorial Day to Late September.

After Ruby Beach we drove to Third beach where we wanted to backpack and camp. For some reason, we decided to go to Second Beach instead. 1.4 mile roundtrip.

Second Beach

Well, our plan for the night changed but it was totally worth it. I saw the most beautiful sunset. The colors of the sky, the clouds, the rock’s shapes and the reflection took my breath away! If you don’t want or can’t camp on the beach, take a flashlight and hike back at night. This is my NUMBER 1 place from this trip so far. It was so amazing to admire the sky full of stars while eating around the fire.

In the morning, we had a cloudy and grey sunrise but it was still pretty anyway. Also, the temperatures are still chilly in April. So, I didn’t sleep well because it was pretty cold and I woke up every couple hours. But it was fun anyway and a nice first experience sleeping on the beach.

We went back to Third Beach around 8:30am. We walked on the beach as far as the waterfall on the left of the beach. It was nice and relaxing but I’m very glad we changed our plan the day before and went to Second Beach instead.

Third Beach



First Beach / La Push

The beach that everyone heard about from the famous movie Twilight. I guess we had to stop and check it out 😎


Rialto Beach

It was the last place we stopped before we headed home. We had time to do more but we were so exhausted from all the driving and the night we had. We were there for about an hour and 30 min. We walked as far as some rocks on the left and had fun walking and climbing around.


Tips:

☑ It’s bear area. Be very cautious and be sure to bring bear spray even if most people don’t. If you camp you will have to bring a bear canister to keep food in. Only bear canisters are authorized and can be rented at any ranger’s station. Hanging your food is not authorized because of the raccoons.

☑ Check the tides on the Olympic National Park’s website. Especially if you go to explore the beach and the tidepools. The best is during low tides and watch for the returning tide to avoid getting trapped by a rising tide.

☑ Wear insect repellent during warm weather.

🏑 Hotel: If you don’t camp, you can use Airbnb and get $40 off for $75 spent on your first stay. Click Here

What else to see?

Well, I already did some of them or just passed for this time but here’s some ideas:

  • Shi Shi Beach
  • Ozette Triangle
  • Cape Flattery
  • Lake Crescent
  • Port Angeles
  • Forks (if you are a fan of twilight πŸ˜‰)

 

 

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Road Trip #2 : Colorado-South Dakota-Nebraska (August 2016)

days in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska

I did this road trip by myself in August 2016. I was a bit stressed and anxious cause it was the first time I travelled alone in National Parks. I planned to camp and backpack every night but I mostly slept in my car because I was too afraid. I will do better next time, though. πŸ˜…

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HOW MUCH DID IT COST?

I booked the flight and the rental 2 weeks before my trip.

β˜† Flight: $190 from Seattle,WA to Denver,CO

β˜† Rental: $292 for 5 days with Alamo

β˜† Gas: $85

β˜† Ticket for speeding: $145 πŸ˜πŸ˜…

β˜† Backpacking: FREE. One night at Badlands National park, I slept in my car the other nights.

β˜† Food: $110

β˜† Visit:

  • Wind Cave: $12
  • Jewel Cave: $12
  • Mt Rushmore: $10

 

Where did I go?

》》》 There will be a post in more detail about each destination except for Mount Rushmore and Nebraskaγ€Šγ€Šγ€Š

STAY TUNED ✌

 

I landed around 12am in Denver in Colorado, got the car and headed to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. It was really hard to stay awake, drive about 6h at night and not sleep at all. My itinerary made me drive a part of Wyoming State where I caught an amazing sunrise before I entered in South Dakota State. 

I arrived at Wind Cave around 8am, walked around and took one of the tours offered by the Park. During the tour, I met a very nice guy named Jacob from Chicago. We shared the trip as far as Badlands, following each other with our own car.

Day 1

Wind Cave National Park

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Then, Jacob and I headed to Jewel Cave around 11 am, which was 30min drive from Wind Cave.

Jewel Cave National Monument

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Finally we drove to Mt Rushmore, which was 45min drive from Jewel Cave.

Mount Rushmore National Monument

Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt & Abraham Lincoln

This place was why I wanted to go to South Dakota. After a few google searches, I added Wind Cave, Jewel cave and Badlands to my list. We arrived there mid-afternoon and spent about 2h.

The first impressive view of Mt Rushmore was from the Avenue of Flags

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We admired the Mt Rushmore from Grand View Terrace

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Took a walk on Nature Trail to Scultor’s studio

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And kept going on Presidential Trail that took us very close and almost under the Sculture

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Then, we drove around a bit and waited for the night before we went back. It was really cool to see in the dark

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We decided to drive as close as possible to Badlands and slept in our car in a rest area about 45min drive from Badlands.

Where to sleep?

β—‡ Camping opportunities are available throughout the surrounding area.

β—‡ Lodging is available in many nearby communities: Keystone (3 miles away), Hill City (13 miles away), Custer (20 miles away) and Rapid City (24 miles away)

You can check out Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association

Day 2

Badlands National Park

It was an incredible experience. I loved this Park. We did a hike, stopped at some overlooks and did backpacking for the night.

More details in an upcoming blog post 》》》Don’t want to miss it? Subscribe to my blog ❀

Day 3

Nebraska

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It was time to say goodbye to Jacob and keep going toward Rocky Mountain in Colorado. I added a drive in Nebraska at Oglala National Grassland and Scotts Bluff National Monument. This took me almost the entire day. I drove on a dirt road for hours because of Oglala National Grassland. I didn’t see anything special and when the GPS told me I was there, I was actually on someone’s property and had to drive through. Maybe I had a bad experience because the GPS but I didn’t like it.

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Scotts Bluff was a bit better. It has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to modern travelers. I drove to the summit, checked out North and South overlooks, which took me about an hour.

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I probably wouldn’t do it again, I would definitely save my time and gas for something else.

Finally, I arrived at Rocky Mountain around 7:30pm, enjoyed the sunset and parked the car at Fall River Visitor Center where I spent 2 nights sleeping in the car.

Day 4 & 5

Rocky Mountain National Park

I spent 2 days hiking as much as I could. I really liked this Park.  In my opinion, 2 days is not enough. I mostly spent my time on the East side of the park.

More details in an upcoming blog post 》》》Don’t want to miss it? Subscribe to my blog ❀

 

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