Most people think to visit the Olympic Peninsula in summer when the sunshine peeks through the tall evergreens and the trails are a little dryer. But fall is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit the rainforest and the city of Port Angeles (which sits right outside the park). Plus, if you go now you’ll avoid the crowds and enjoy some blissful solitude among the vibrant leaves or along the crashing waves of the Pacific. Here are a few fun things to do this time of year out west.
Port Angeles is home to three wineries. Olympic Cellars, known for Working Girl wines, is located in a restored, historic dairy farm. Camaraderie Cellars, known for its Washington reds, has a fire pit and tasting room. Harbinger Winery offers award winning wines in a modern tasting room.
Visit Olympic National Park for Free
The last free-entry day of the year for National Parks is Nov. 11. USA Today recently ranked the Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive as one of the best scenic autumn drives in the nation.
Enjoy the crisp fall air out in the wilderness before winter blankets it with snow. Hurricane Hill and the Klahane Ridge Trail are both open in November and offer stunning views of Port Angeles, the Editz Spit, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria, B.C. and the San Juan Islands. Or, take a stroll along the sea stacks and crashing waves at Ozette Triangle.
Warm up at Lake Crescent Lodge
Historic Lake Crescent Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula was built 100 years ago among the giant fir and hemlock trees on Lake Crescent. Warm up by the stone fireplace with a hot chocolate or stay in one of their 55 rooms (five of the original seven lodge rooms are still open to guests). They also have kayaks for an adventure on the lake.
Visit the Waterfalls
With all the rainfall collecting at the Olympic Peninsula the waterfalls are raging during this time of year. Be sure to check out Marymere Falls. A quick .75-mile path through an old growth forest will lead you to the 119-foot falls. Marymere Falls is a .8-mile stroll to a bridge over the Sol Duc River and a view of the magnificent falls.
the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route is a rugged unpaved and gravel path twisting 25 miles around the park. It offers views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island and weaves in and out of cedar and hemlock forests.
Photos courtesy Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce