The second I knew that COVID had officially killed all our 2020 international travel plans, I knew I had to plan a great adventure that was not only SAFE but was also domestic. With my love for travel, there was no way I was going to be cooped up for months on end this whole year and NOT travel as well. So a two-week road trip along the western coast visiting different National Parks seemed like the most ideal plan since we could be socially distant and outside as much as possible!
Our road trip started in Seattle, Washington, and ended in Malibu, California, and totaled 2,871 miles! We made so many stops along the way at notable destinations like Olympic National Park, Cannon Beach, Redwoods, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, and more! Our very close friends, Nick and Lindsay, joined my husband and me for the first week of this adventure and they brought SO much joy and laughter along with them.
Day One: Olympic National Park, Washington
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Lake Crescent - The drive from the airport to our first destination, Olympic National Park, was breathtaking! Beautiful mountainous hills and fall colors surrounded us on every corner. After about 2.5 hours of driving and a quick stop to a local grocery store for road trip essentials, we arrived at Lake Crescent. The arrival at Lake Crescent was something that I will always remember. We took a turn around a bend in the road and out of nowhere this beautiful lake was presented to us. All our jaws dropped at the beauty that seemed to have come out of nowhere!
What is Lake Crescent? Lake Crescent is nestled in the northern foothills of the Olympic Mountains and is the second deepest lake in Washington as an official maximum depth of 624 feet. It is known for its vibrant blue waters and exceptional clarity that is caused by lack of nitrogen in the water which inhibits the growth of algae. Residing on the lake itself, is Lake Crescent Lodge where we were fortunate enough to spend our very first evening.
Day Two: Olympic National Park, Washington
(Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Valley & Forks)
Side note: The only downside to visiting Olympic National Park is that driving through the park is not possible, as you can only drive around the park to visit its various locations. The 101 (main highway surrounding the park) is the only road that surrounds the park entirely, so that is the main road we drove during our visit in ONP and is the best way to get around this HUGE park and its various locations.
What is Sol Duc Valley? Sol Duc Valley is named the most beautiful falls in the entire park and is situated just a few miles from Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and Campground.
What is Forks? Forks, Washington, is a small town that is located right outside of Olympic National Park. It is named after the forks in the nearby Quillayute, Bogachiel, Calawah, and Sol Duc rivers. The town gained popularity in tourism after the book and movie series, Twilight was set in Forks. Twilight tours are available here, but there was no way I was going to convince my friends and husband to take these tours (even though I hate to admit that I am a huge Twilight fan and would have loved to take part in these tours).
Day Three: Olympic National Park, Washington
(Hoh Rainforest, Third Beach, & Forks)
What is Hoh Rainforest? The Hoh Rainforest (pronounced “Hoe”) gets its name from the ever-flowing Hoh River that has carved its way from Mt. Olympus towards the Pacific Coast forming from glacier runoffs. Known as one of the world’s lushest rain forests, the Hoh Rainforest gets as much as 14 feet of rain each year and the prevalent fog and mist contributes the equivalent of another 30 inches of rain each year! Mosses and ferns blanket the surfaces of the entire forest and its surroundings.
What is Third Beach? Third Beach is a tidepool beach located on the Olympic Pennisula Coast near Forks. This is one of the Olympic Coast’s famed wilderness beaches with excellent opportunities to view bald eagles and seals. The hike to Third Beach is known to hikers worldwide as it delivers wonderment in every season throughout the year.
Upon arriving at the Third Beach Trailhead, we parked our car and began the infamous roundtrip 2.8 mile hike through extremely tall sitka spruce, western hemlock and red alder trees. Along the way, we could hear sounds of a nearby rushing creek and many birds in the trees above us.
The sun was beginning to set so we made the wise decision to begin our 1.4 mile hike back to the car to return back to the Forks Airbnb for our final night in Washington.
Day Four: Olympic National Park to Cannon Beach, Oregon
(Ruby Beach & Cannon Beach, Oregon)
What is Ruby Beach? Ruby Beach is located on the Washington Coast and is part of Olympic National Park. It got its name from the reddish granules that gather on the shore. It is known for the many rocks, sea stacks and huge driftwood logs on shore.
We said goodbye to our adorable Forks Airbnb and drove 35 minutes to Ruby Beach. We parked at the main parking lot and began walking down to the shore. The walk was amazing within itself offering views of Ruby Beach from above with extremely tall trees surrounding us. Once we reached the bottom, we climbed over many large driftwood logs to reach the beach.
What is Cannon Beach? Cannon Beach is located along the Pacific Coast of Oregon. It is a small, quaint beach town famous for the “Haystack Rock” that resides on the beach. Haystack Rock is a 327-foot tall sea stack that has tide pools home to many animals including colorful starfish, sea anemone, crabs and sea slugs. It is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa! The rock is also a nesting site for many seabirds and puffins. Low tide offers the chance to walk right up to the tide-pools. This famous Haystack Rock can be seen in the opening scene of the 1985 movie The Goonies.
Day Five: Cannon Beach & Bend, Oregon
(Cannon Beach, OR and Bend, OR)
We spent our morning enjoying coffee on the beach and watching the morning fog rise from the coastline. Come late morning, we left the hotel to explore the adorable small beach town of Cannon Beach. We had the most delicious crepes and eggs benedict at Pig ‘N Pancake right in town. It was the best crepe I think I have ever had. After breakfast, we walked around the town a bit, did some shopping, and stopped at The Wine Shack and bought some local wine to bring on the rest of the road trip with us!
Day Six: Redwood National & State Parks, California
(Redwoods National & State Parks)
Our first week officially came to an end and our lovely friends departed us as we continued on to our second week. Stay tuned for next week’s blog to read about week two of our road trip! Next up: San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, and more!
Interested in planning a domestic road trip? Or visiting any of these destinations? Contact Christine Wolff to start planning your trip today! Call 314-439-5700 ext. 134 or email her!
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