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 ๐Ÿ˜Ž


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:

โ˜ก 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.

โ˜ก 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.

โ˜ก Wear insect repellent during warm weather.

๐Ÿก 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰)

 

 

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My top 5 hikes in Washington State

I couldn’t be more lucky than moving to Washington from France. This is where I found out my love for hiking and how much I enjoy my time in the mountains. Here’s my 5 favorite hikes I have done:

1.Burroughs Mountain at Mount Rainier National Park

This trail is amazing from beginning to end and offers one of the most dramatic views of Mt Rainier. This hike is a 9 mile round trip with a 2,600ft elevation gain. There are many possibilities on this trail. You can stop at the first, second or third Burroughs. Usually, people turn around at the second. We reached the third Burroughs with an extra effort, which was worth it. We were so close to Mt Rainier, we felt like we could touch it.

ใ€Š Featured image on top is from this hike ใ€‹

3rd Burroughs 

2. Tolmie Peak & Eunice Lake

Very nice 7.5 miles with an 1,100ft that leads first to Eunice Lake. After 1 mile with a steep uphill, we reached an old fire lookout with a stunning view of Mt Rainier and an amazing sapphire blue color of Eunice Lake below. Most people stop at the fire lookout. We decided to leave the crowd and go a bit further and it was really incredible.

Captured from the trail
From the Fire Lookout
We kept going after the Fire Lookout

3. Tuck and Robin Lakes

Worth the effort but more a hike for backpacking. This very steep hike will take you to paradise. I recorded about 13 miles roundtrip and 3,500ft elevation gain. It was flat for the first 3 miles, then we gained about 1000ft every mile. Passed Tuck Lake, the trail became indistinct and hard to follow. Some rock stacks helped us find the way.

Tuck Lake


Robin Lake

 


4. Crytal Peak and Lake

We did two hikes in one. We hiked Crystal Peak first and had a stunning view from the summit. The weather was clear and it was possible to see six volcanoes spanning two states. Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt Adams, Mt Hood. We caught a nice rainbow before we went down to the lakes. The upper lake is much larger than the lower lake.   We recorded about 11 miles and 4,000ft elevation gain.

View of Mt Rainier with silly friends
Rainbow with view of Mt Adams on the left and Mt St Helens on the right
Upper Crystal Lake from Crystal Peak
Upper Crystal Lake

5. Rattlesnake Ledge

Short and very popular hike at 1h drive from Seattle. Rattlesnake ledge is a 4 mile roundtrip with an 1,160ft elevation gain. At the top, there is a view of the Cedar River wathershed, Mt Si, Mt Washington, Rattlesnake Lake and Chester Morse Lake. Also, it’s nice to stay at the lake especially during the summer. Here’s some pictures from the last time I went there but the color of the lake when it’s sunny is more beautiful.

Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Lake

I’m sure I will change my top 5 hikes by June. I won the permit for the Enchantment.

I’m going to spend 2 nights with some friends at Colchuck Lake. I’m looking forward to it!

๐Ÿ˜Ž STAY TUNED ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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Crater Lake in Winter


It’s winter! โ„

Crater Lake is a National Park localised in Oregon and one of the most beautiful. It’s the deepest lake in the USA with a depth of 1943 feet. The water’s intense blue color will take your breath away, especially during the summer.

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What to expect during winter ?

A lot of snow of course. Temperatures are very low. When we arrived around 6am the temperature was -16ยฐF and it can be worse (my camelback froze in barely 5min… who couldn’t drink anymore ? I’ll let you guess ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‰, little tip : blow into the water tube until the water return in the camelback) Most of the park is closed due to the snow but the access to the lake is still possible by the South Entrance that leads to the Rim Village, check out the road conditions. 1 day is enough to explore around. 

When skies are clear, excellent views of Crater Lake. During storms, the lake is usually obscured by clouds. From late November through early March, the lake is typically visible only about 50% of the time.

Winter Road Closure

The park’s North Entrance Road is closed for the winter. The 30-mile Rim Drive around the lake is also closed, which is too bad cause most of the amazing overlooks are on the Rim Drive like Watchman Overlook and Watchman Peak.

You can enter the park through the West Entrance or the South Entrance on Hwy 62. The 7-mile road from Hwy 62 to Rim Village is also open year-round, although the last 3 miles (from Park HQ to Rim Village) are sometimes closed for days or weeks due to periods of heavy snow. We came by the South Entrance and the road was openned. To find out if the road to Rim Village is open you can call the visitor center at 541-594-3100 or check out the website.

 

Hiking 

All hiking trails are buried under snow. Cross-country skis or snowshoes are recommended. This is how you will be able to explore around the lake and reach my favorite overlook called Watchman overlook. Unfortunately we didn’t have snowshoes, it was sometimes hard to walk in the snow and made us too exhausted to reach this overlook (I have to confess we drove all night and probably slept 2h each, ๐Ÿ˜…) but we had a great time and could enjoy a really amazing view of the lake

Snowshoe rentals are available at the Rim Village Gift Shop when the road to Rim Village is open.

 

Road Trip from Seattle

When we went there in September the North Entrance was opened, it was about 6h drive. This time we had to enter by the South Entrance, which is 8h drive.

Like usual, we drove at night to arrive early in the morning on Saturday. We spent the day until the Sunset. That allowed us to spend Sunday on our way back around Mt Hood cause I really wanted to explore this place.

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