advertisement

Biking

Almost all trails in the park are closed to mountain bikes. The only exception is the Spruce Railroad Trail, which was once a railroad grade that ran along the shore of the lake. It is quite flat and easy for its 4-mile length; an additional 1 1/2-mile stretch of road extends past the North Shore Picnic Area. The highlight of the trail is a much-photographed arched bridge across a rocky cove. A few dirt roads for mountain bikers extend from paved roads; they include the section from Hurricane Ridge to Obstruction Peak.

For road bikers, U.S. 101 can be treacherous, with eager motorists rubbernecking and all. But if you get through that, you can find some pleasant rides on any of the roads that poke into the park.

Kayaking & Canoeing

Although large and often windy, glacier-carved Lake Crescent is a beautiful place to do a little paddling. Lush, green forests rise straight up from the shores of the 624-foot-deep lake, giving the waters a fjordlike quality unmatched on the peninsula. Boat ramps are on U.S. 101 at Storm King (near the middle of the lake) and at Fairholme (at the west end of the lake). On East Beach Road, on the lake's northeast shore, there is a private boat ramp at the Log Cabin Resort.

If you launch at Storm King, you can explore around Barnes Point, away from U.S. 101 traffic noise (but in view of the Lake Crescent Lodge). From Fairholme, you can paddle along the north shore. From the Log Cabin Resort, you can explore the bay that feeds the Lyre River, the lake's outlet stream. When winds blow down this lake, as they often do, the waters can be dangerous for small boats.

Fairholm Store & Marina, at the west end of the lake (tel. 360/928-3020; www.fairholmstore.com), rents canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. Boats are also available for rent at the Log Cabin Resort, 3183 E. Beach Rd., Port Angeles (tel. 360/928-3325; www.logcabinresort.net), on the lake's northeast shore..

Lake Ozette, surprisingly deep and nearly 10 miles long, is the third-largest natural lake in Washington and a fascinating place to explore by sea kayak or canoe. Only a mile from the Pacific Ocean, the lake is indented by numerous coves and bays, and surrounds three small islands. Campsites along the shore include the boat-in sites at Erickson's Bay.

The Swan Bay boat launch, one of two on the large lake, is probably the best choice for paddlers. For a leisurely half-day paddle, just explore the shores of the convoluted bay, in the middle of which is Garden Island. For a daylong trip, try paddling down the lake to Tivoli Island. For an overnighter, head to the lake's western shore and the campsites at Erickson's Bay. From here, you can explore up and down the west shore.

Both Lake Crescent and Lake Ozette are big lakes subject to quick changes of weather and wind. Whitecaps can come up suddenly, and cold waters can cause hypothermia. Check the weather forecast before leaving, and keep an eye on the sky.

Llama Trips

The park and surrounding areas have become a favorite for llama pack trips. Kit's Llamas (tel. 253/857-5274; www.northolympic.com/llamas) offers day trips and overnights starting at $75 per person.

Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

Any of the roads leading into the mountains will offer a satisfying winter trek; check with park rangers about avalanche hazards before you go. If you seek views, head to Hurricane Ridge with the rest of the winter crowd and set out on any of the area's trails. One place to rent snowshoes is Olympic Outdoor Center, 18971 Front St. in Poulsbo (tel. 800/592-5983 or 360/697-6095; www.olympicoutdoorcenter.com), which charges $15 a day.

White-Water Kayaking & Rafting

White-water rafting, scenic floats, and sea kayaking are options in and around Olympic National Park. Guided trips last approximately half a day. Canoe and kayak rentals are available from Olympic Raft & Kayak, 123 Lake Aldwell Rd., Port Angeles (tel. 888/452-1443 or 360/452-1443; www.raftandkayak.com); prices start at $50 per day. Rates for guided trips start at $54 for adults and $44 for kids 5 to 11. The company also offers classes (call for details).

Another respected company that provides guided white-water trips outside the park, classes, and rentals is Olympic Outdoor Center.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.