Trek Notes - USA

Washington's Olympic Peninsula

An Inn-to-Inn, Hiking, Walking & Rafting Adventure

The Olympic Peninsula welcomes travellers to a diverse and stunning land – a rocky coastline with primitive marine life and wave-manicured beaches, spectacular glacier-capped peaks and sparkling lakes, lush meadows and ancient rainforests teeming with wildlife.We will immerse ourselves in this place of serendipitous discovery, and at day’s end, escape to the comforts of luxurious retreats and sample the Pacific Northwest’s finest cuisine.Experience the magic of the Olympic! This tour is designed for the fit first-time hikers as well as hiking enthusiasts. Each day's hike is 4-8 miles in length with elevation gains of 100 - 1525’.For those looking for a challenge, there are options to cover more difficult terrain.


AY 1
Hike the Dungeness Spit, Port Angeles, Red Lion Hotel  

After meeting in Seattle at 10:30 a.m., we enjoy a beautiful ferry ride to Port Townsend.We arrive in time for a full afternoon of hiking on the Dungeness Spit, a National Wildlife Refuge and one of the Olympic Peninsula’s most remarkable natural features.Almost seven miles long and the longest natural sand hook in the world, the spit, surrounding bay and estuary are teeming with wildlife including seabirds, seals, fish, crabs and clams as well as lots of driftwood and seaweed. 
Tonight's accommodation, the Red Lion Hotel, overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca and features a swimming pool and hot tub.  
Dungeness Spit Trail [5 miles; negligible elevation change]

DAY 2  
Hike Grand Ridge, Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent Lodge  

Olympic National Park has received international recognition as both a Biosphere Reserve and as a World Heritage Site. The park contains over 1,200 plants, 300 species of birds and 70 species of mammals, and is one of the most pristine wilderness ecosystems in the contiguous United States with more than 95% of the park accessible only by trail.  
Today, we will hike to the broad summit of Elk Mountain, where we will be rewarded with colorful blossoms of phlox and dwarf lupine, and grandstand views of the Olympic Mountains, including the park’s highest peak, Mount Olympus.From the summit we will descend through rolling tundra and into a pine forest at Deer Park.  
The historic Lake Crescent Lodge, our home away from home for the next three evenings, is located along the shores of the jewel of the Olympics.  
Grand Ridge Hike [7.4 miles; 1260 feet of elevation gain, 2120 feet of elevation loss]  

Raft the Elwha River and Hike the Elwha Trail, Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent Lodge

We then grab a paddle for a morning of rafting on the wild and scenic Elwha River.We pass through a heavily forested valley with breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and Carrie Glacier. For those who want to try paddling their own boat, inflatable kayaks are available. We will provide instruction covering everything from basic paddling techniques to the art of wave surfing. In the afternoon we will descend into Elwha Canyon along the upper stretches of the Elwha River, where we visit Goblin Gates, an interesting geological formation marking the entrance to Rica Canyon.We soon find ourselves at Krause Bottom, which was inhabited in the late 1800's by homesteaders.It features the remains of Humes Ranch and Michael’s Cabin as well as a virgin and secondary forest of Douglas fir and thick, waist-high ferns.  
Half-day Raft trip on the Elwha River [Class II-II+; 2 ½ hours]  
Moderately Easy: Hike the Elwha Trail [4.5 miles, elevation change minimal, 3 hours]

DAY 4  
Hike the Sol Duc Valley, visit the Sol Duc Hot Springs, Lake Crescent Lodge
Today you can choose between two hiking options. Enjoy an easy four-mile round-trip hike through deep woods, past the impressive Sol Duc Falls to Sol Duc Hot Springs, or for intrepid hikers, hike the more challenging Canyon Creek Trail to Deer Lake.Beginning amid enormous old-growth conifers and cascading Canyon Creek, the trail culminates on sub-alpine Deer Lake. 
Trail’s end for both routes is Sol Duc Hot Springs, a swimming pool and cluster of steaming springs, sandwiched between a lush forest of fir and hemlock and whitewater rapids of the Sol Duc River.  
Moderate Option: Hike in the Sol Duc Valley to Deer Lake [8 miles; 1525 feet of elevation gain / loss]  
Moderately Easy Option:Hike Lover's Lane [4 miles round trip; elevation change negligible]

DAY 5  
Hike the Olympic Coast, Lake Quinault Lodge  

We will explore the Olympic Coast, a National Marine Sanctuary, with a hike through a magnificent forest to Second Beach where we are greeted with rewarding views of the spectacular Quillayute Needles. Gulls, mergansers, ospreys and bald eagles soar on ocean breezes, while offshore islands teem with marine mammals including sea otters, gray whales, orcas, harbor seals and the endangered Steller’s sea lion. 
Later, we find ourselves on a wild and beautiful coastline that stretches from the cobble-strewn Rialto Beach to Hole-in-the-Wall.Enormous drift logs, and the stout, wave-carved cliffs of sandstone provide a stunning backdrop. We will also discover tide pools which harbor an array of aquatic plants, delicate sea anemones and colorful starfish.  
Set on the beautiful shore of Lake Quinault, our historic 1920's lodge for the evening features period antiques, a swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi.  
Second Beach Trail [3 hours; elevation gain negligible] 
Rialto Beach Trail to the Hole-in-the-Wall [1.6 miles one-way, 3.2 miles total; elevation gain negligible]  
Options:explore tide pools on a Ranger led hike [tides permitting]; late afternoon canoe on Lake Quinault [additional cost]  

Hiking in Quinault Rain Forest, Seattle  

For our finale, we hike in the incomparable Quinault Rain Forest.This is a true temperate rain forest, with each downed tree supporting a beard-like understory growth of mosses and seedlings, ferns and vine maples.Our backcountry route climbs over roots and rocks through a lush growth of huckleberry bushes, lady fern and sword fern with the soft sounds of water rambling past.The trail then opens as we cross the cascades and rocky streambed of Fletcher Canyon.  
Our trip will conclude in Seattle at approximately 6:00 p.m. 
Hike in Quinault Rain Forest [4 miles round trip; 1150 feet of elevation change, moderate hike of 2 1/2 to 3 hours]  
Option: explore easier nature loops around Quinault Lodge [self-guided], rent a canoe [additional cost] or simply relax and enjoy a good book.


Inn-to-Inn Trip: 6 days/5 nights   
Trip Level: Moderately Easy to Moderate  
Gateway City:
Seattle, Washington  
Meeting Time & Place:
10:30 a.m. at the Seattle-Tacoma Marriott.Please plan to arrive at the inn at the designated meeting time, and not earlier, for the convenience of the innkeeper.We recommend you have brunch before and come prepared to hike.We suggest that you wear comfortable hiking books with ankle support and wool socks coupled with a thin liner sock.We will have snacks available throughout the day’s activity but will not have a full meal until dinner.  
Trip Conclusion:
Approximately 6:00 p.m. at the Seattle-Tacoma Marriott.  
Trip Fees Include:
Half-day of river rafting, all meals (dinner day 1-lunch day 6), all accommodations (double occupancy), T-shirt, water bottle, a visit to Sol Duc Hot Springs, support vehicle, ferry ride from Seattle to Port Townsend, historical information packet, and professional guides.

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