Score massive deals on the best outdoor gear   Get on the GEAR DEALS list   sent weekly to your inbox

OUTDOORBLUEPRINT

Washington Highway 101
Road Trip Guide

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.

Here's what you'll find in the Washington Highway 101 Road Trip Guide

Washington Highway 101 Road Trip Guide pano

1) Olympic National Park

A Brief History of Port Angeles

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.

Fun Facts About Olympic National Park

  1. 95% of the land is designated as Wilderness, one of the highest ratios of any National Park.
  2. There are over 3,000 miles of rivers and streams fed by over 60 named glaciers.
  3. It’s the 4th most-visited park, with almost 4 million annual visitors. Most people come to experience the park’s amazing hiking opportunities.
  4. There are 3.5x more trail miles than road miles in the park.
  5. Mount Olympus, the highest peak on the peninsula, cannot be seen from any metropolitan center including Seattle.
  6. The Hoh rain forest receives between 12 to 14 FEET or rain each year! Olympic is home to the only temperate rain forest in the contiguous Unites States.
  7. The coastline is 73 miles of beaches, sea stacks, and rocks. One of the best ways to experience the park is by backpacking the entire length.

The Creation of Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Springs

Photo by Max Penn (on Flickr)

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.

Key
HOW TO READ THESE MAPS

SOME AWESOME HIKE Why you should go here Additional information FIRST Look for any TAG along your route ATTRACTIONS (Shops, Museum, and Tourism Spots) VIEWPOINTS (Free Roadside Pulloffs) EATERIES (From Seafood Shacks to Fine Dining) HIKES (Mostly Short Dayhikes) CAMPING (For Bikers, Tenters, RVers, and Yurters) LODGING (Hotels, Motels, and Bed & Breakfasts) BREWERIES (Tasting, Touring, and often Food) WINERIES (Tasting and Touring) BEACHES (Some of the Best Spots to Relax) THE ICON TELLS YOU WHAT IS THERE CLICK THE TAG FOR MORE INFORMATION

** MOBILE USERS - Zoom in for more detail **

HURRICANE RIDGE OPTION Adds 1 hour Adds 36 miles OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS OPTION Adds 50 minutes Adds 20 miles SOL DUC OPTION Adds 1 hour Adds 34 miles HOH OPTION Adds 1 hour 10 minutes Adds 36 miles See page 2 for entry road E l w h a Sol Duc For 3 more BONUS PAGES #1 - PORT TOWNSEND 2 - SAN JUAN ISLANDS #3 - VANCOUVER, B.C. Purchase the complete guide L a k e C r e s c e n t CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS Joyce Elwha N 2 MILES 1) OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK 45 minutes Drive Time 35 miles S o l D u c SOL DUC FALLS SOL DUC FALLS TRAIL TO CAMPGROUND/ RESORT - 1.5 MILES SOL DUC FALLS Easy forest hike to stunning waterfall 1.6 miles out-and-back, 200ft gain/loss SOL DUC HOT SPRINGS Resort-style springs with various pools $13.50 per adult, $10 per child SOL DUC HOH RIVER SPRUCE TRAIL 1.2 miles HALL OF MOSSES 0.8 miles HOH RIVER TRAIL Up to 36 miles VISITORS CENTER U P P E R H O H H o h HOH CAMPGROUND Sleep in the moss covered rain forest $20 per night HOH RIVER OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS TRAIL Easy forest hike then hot spring soak 5.0 miles out-and-back, 200ft gain/loss OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS BOULDER CREEK CAMPGROUND B o u l d e r C r . OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS