Exploring the Olympic Pennisula

2024 Apr 8

I had made plans for us to go camping out to the northwest end of the Olympic Peninsula. Melanie hadn’t been feeling well the days immediately before, so I went by myself and ended up exploring more than if we had gone together.

In Port Gamble there is a kayak shop and a wool-forward knitting shop. I stopped there for a break and I ended up buying a knitting project for Melanie. She Facetimed in, picked out her yarn colors and was already anticipating my return.

I had a reservation for camping at the Sol Duc Hot Springs campground. A private resort runs the hot springs facility. You get access to the pools in sessions (by pay). There was enough time before my session to hike to Sol Duc falls. It is similar to Deception Falls (on the west side of Stevens Pass Highway) because it falls dramatically into a cleft of rocks and makes a 90° turn.

water pouring into rock crack and exiting away

The Hot Springs were nice: two pools of different temperatures, and an unheated swimming pool. They were quite a few people there. A couple times when it got too warm, I jumped in the deep end of the cold water pool and then got immediately out. It was cold enough that it hurt!


In the morning I headed out to the Makah Indian Reservation. Their area has a lot of picturesque seascapes. At Hobuck Beach I watched surfers.

incoming surf with surfer riding

There is a resort at Hobuck Beach and I met a couple of kayakers going out to the water. I complemented the gal on her boat because it is by the same custom maker as mine. She asked me the obvious question about where my boat was. I sheepishly had to admit it was at home. However, this was a scouting trip, and I do want to kayak there!


Shi Shi Beach is stark and impressive. Each end has dramatic rocks. There is a hole through one of the rocks in the south.

sloping beach with surf and rocks in distance

In the north there is an obelisk fallen over (creating another hole).

spikey sea rocks in surf

The view there is sweeping (see the video):

selfy with beach view


Next, Cape Flattery is a rocky head at the northwest tip of the land. To the southwest it is all intricate shapes.

ocean rocky inlets and outcroppings

Northwest, there is Tattosh Island with an automated light house.

offshore island with trees and buildings

And northeast, it is full of caves.

ocean caves with foot-like rock projections between


Back at Neah Bay, a man came out to the beach and threw scraps (from fish processing?) on to the harbor's sand. Then for more than ten minutes, many bald eagles (and many gulls) swooped down and made flying grabs of the pieces off the sand. It was wild!


Then I went to Lake Ozette.

outlet of lake, lake in mist

I have an interest in kayak camping down the lake, so I wanted to see what was there. This time I stayed in the campground at its north. It rained all night and continued into the next day, but I slept comfortably.

car and tent at campsite

There were a few other campers. A couple of guys had brought a portable video projector and a screen and were watching a movie outside that evening. :-)

There are a couple of 3 mile boardwalk hikes to the coast which start from here. In the morning I hiked the northern one. The boardwalk is made of rough-split wood (crushed here by a large tree).

boardwalk crushed by large tree

People hike and camp along the coast and I met several groups returning. The rain probably had something to do with that. When I got to the ocean there was a large encampment of people braving out the weather. They had a tarp area to sit under so they may have been reasonably comfortable.

It is possible to make a loop connecting the two trail west ends by walking 3 miles down the coast. I was considering that, but I was also starting to get soaked and a bit tired so that will be for another day.

Again there were off shore rocks to add interest and the tide was out quite a distance.

driftwood, distance rocks and water

Finally I had the long drive home (with ferry to the mainland). It was a very interesting weekend.