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This trip would be different.  There would be no searching for the middle of nowhere.  I left Seattle a month later then my usual time for a fall trip and snow had already fallen on Snoqualmie Pass making travel eastward seem cold.  So I headed west to the Olympic Peninsula.

Fort Worden looking west

I laughed when I told friends that I was going to test the Sequim rain shadow theory.  Then after visiting the north end of the peninsula I wanted to venture southwest around the peninsula to see the Hoh rain forest and Kalalock.  Again I laughed – it should be raining, it is called a rain forest.  Off I went to visit the peninsula, a place I had camped at as a kid with my family in our Siesta trailer and hadn’t been back for over 50 years.

There isn’t much of a story to tell.  It wasn’t an adventure, it was a trip to meander around and see the sights and visit places I remembered.  Here are some photos.  

Fort Worden bunker

Fort Worden bunker

Fort Flagler fire control station

Irondale county park

Graffiti and fall leaves provide color of what is left of the Irondale mill site.

Aeronca C3B “Master” at the Port Townsend Aero Museum

Pietenpol “SkyScout” at the Port Townsend Aero Museum

The Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness Spit. The rocky beaches have an assortment of rocks brought by the Cordilleran ice sheet.

Looking at Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains from the Ediz Hook.

Looking at Canada from the Salt Creek Campground

Net fishing coho at Pillar Point on a rainy day.  I was told by a fisherman that he gets 0 to 70 fish a day, each 5 to 15 pounds.  

Conwan Ranch Heritage Site

Conwan Ranch Heritage Site

The Facts

  • A state Discovery Pass is required to park at most (all?) state land.  This includes state parks, trail heads, beaches, and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land.  It is $30/year and can be purchased at many places.
  • There isn’t much opportunity for disperse camping.  The National Forest and DNR land is forested with little open spaces to camp.
  • This area is busy in the summer and one should have camping reservations.
  • The time of year I visited (end of October) Fort Worden and Fort Flagler campgrounds were mostly full on the weekend but not during the week.  
  • Clallam County has two nice campgrounds – The Dungeness Spit  and Salt Creek Recreation sites.  Reservations are not needed off season.  The nights I camped at both campgrounds there were only about a dozen of us in the campground each night.  
  • There are a lot of beach access sites, it just takes a bit of research to find them.  Clallam County Parks has a map on their web site locating their access points.   And I discovered one just by looking at google aerials – the Elwha River dike trail on the west side of the river.  
  • For beach walking check the tides.  I knew the tides would be high when I visited and they were too high to walk on many beaches.  The low low tide was at night and the high low was too darn high.
  • If you want to drive to Hurricane Ridge, check the National Park web cams before you go.  The day I was going to go was warm and sunny in Port Angeles.  The web cams showed 4” of snow and fog.   
  • If you are thinking of visiting Whidbey Island, do what you can to find out about the noise.  The navy base has increased the number of jets that are stationed at the base.  I heard them flying over the peninsula and they were noticeable but not obnoxiously loud.  I’ve heard mixed reports on how much noise there is on Whidbey and how easy/hard it is to avoid the noise.
  • The Washington Trails Association is has a wonderful web site if you are looking for things to do. https://www.wta.org/