|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – August 2008
Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.
>> Getting there The closest major airport is Sea-Tac (Seattle), which is a bit more than two hours from both Lake Quinault and Port Angeles. From US 101 at the west end of Lake Quinault, drive the North Shore Road east, turn left on the North Fork Road, and follow it to its end at the North Fork Quinault trailhead.
>> Season July for wildflowers, August and September for clear-sky views, and September for bugling elk.
>> Best frontcountry campground Sol Duc, an hour's drive from the gateway town of Port Angeles, has 80 first-come sites tucked among old-growth forest (try to get one on the river). It's a short walk from your tent site to three hot-spring-fed pools at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort ($11; 360-327-3583, visitsolduc.com).
>> Pre-trip breakfast Port Angeles locals go to Chestnut Cottage for omelets loaded with spinach, mushrooms, cashews, and cream cheese. Top it off with an oversized cinnamon roll. Located just east of downtown at 929 E. Front Street (360-452-8344).
>> Gear shop Brown's Outdoor, 112 W. Front St., in Port Angeles (360-457-4150, brownsoutdoor.com) has everything from rain shells to hammocks, perfect for hanging under the mossy canopy.
>> Permits Get your permit, bear canister, and trail beta at the Wilderness Information Center in the visitor center outside Port Angeles (360-565-3100, nps.gov/olym/wic/index.html). Reservations aren't needed for the hikes described here, but for other trips, apply up to 30 days predeparture at nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/upload/wildernesspermitreservationform.pdf.