The Washington section of Highway 101 is the most remote region along the United States pacific coast. Despite Highway 101’s distance from the water, there are some amazing opportunities to adventure and explore. Olympic National Park provides a unique blend of alpine, rain forest, and coastal environments for hikers and sightseers while the small coastal towns of Raymond, Aberdeen, Westport, and Seaside offer delicious food, cute lodging, and fun local museums.
Port Angeles is situated at the northernmost point of Highway 101, which makes it a logical starting point for the Pacific Coast Highway road trip guide. Highway 101 actually continues around the entire Olympic Peninsula, heading down the western side of Puget sound, and eventual terminating just outside of Olympia, Washington. Port Angeles has a long history of settlement, from native tribes to Spanish explorers and finally European Americans. All of the towns in this area, including Port Angeles, were slow to grow due to their remote location. It wasn’t until the development of a full scale trading post that the town began to develop in earnest. 1914 brought a large lumber operation and railroad connecting Port Angeles to the more densely populated mainland. Completion of the Hood Canal Bridge in 1961 greatly reduced travel times from Seattle and other population centers to the southeast, bringing a previously unseen level of tourism to the area. Tourism, especially to Olympic National Park, replaced the logging industry and continues to be the main economy to this day.
Local Native American lore tells a story of how Olympic Hot Springs and Sol Duc Hot Springs were formed, and it goes like this: Many years ago there were two mighty dragons. One dragon lived in the Elwha valley while the other lived in the Sol Duc valley. Neither of them knew of the other’s existence until one day, while out hunting, they came across each other at the crest of the ridge separating the two valleys. A fierce battle ensued, each dragon blaming the other for invading its territory. The dragons fought a brutal battle, each trying to reclaim their own land. This continued for many years until both dragons acknowledged that they were evenly matched. They turned and flew back down to their respective valleys and crawled into caves. The hot springs we now enjoy are from the tears of these mighty dragons, who still cry from their defeat.
** MOBILE USERS - Zoom in for more detail **