Forks, Washington is located in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula, between the Olympic mountains and the Pacific Ocean beaches. Forks and the national park, forest and marine lands that surround it provide visitors with an impressive array of recreational options as you explore the Northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Experience world class attractions such as the Olympic National Park, Rialto Beach, the Hoh Rain Forest, Kalaloch Beach, Lake Ozette, Cape Flattery and the Northwest Coast, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc Falls and our many scenic rivers and mountain trails.
Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline. With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park. Come explore! From their comprehensive website you can discover all the ways you can explore and experience Olympic. Below we’ve summarized favorite places in the park, within 2 hours from Forks. Use the green highlighted heading links to learn more about visiting each area.
Kalaloch and Ruby Beach: Kalaloch Beach is a broad sandy beach ideal for walking and beach combing. Famous for reddish sand and dramatic sea stacks, Ruby Beach is one of the most well-known and highly anticipated beaches along the Olympic coastline.
Rialto and Mora Beach: Rialto Beach is a magnificent beach with scenic views of off shore islands to the south and sea stacks to the north. Just inland is the Mora area, characterized by towering trees, lush undergrowth and the omnipresent roar of the Pacific Ocean in the background.
Lake Ozette: Ozette not only has stunning beaches, but one of the largest lakes on the Peninsula.
Hoh Rain Forest: Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature Trail are two short trails that loop from the visitor center. This is also the trailhead for Hoh Valley and Mt. Olympus.
Queets Rain Forest: With relatively few visitors, the upper Queets Valley is the perfect location for quiet solitude.
Quinault Rain Forest: The Quinault Valley is a wilderness gateway to alpine meadows, jeweled lakes and ice-carved peaks.
Elwha River Valley: Home of the Elwha River Restoration Project, the Elwha River Valley is also home to a lush lowland old growth forest.
Lake Crescent: This deep, clear, glacially carved lake is surrounded by old-growth forest and offers swimming, boating and hiking. The hike to Marymere Falls by way of the Barnes Creek trail, is a favorite, as is the Spruce Railroad trail that runs along the north shore.
Sol Duc Valley: The Sol Duc Trailhead offers access to some of the park’s most popular wilderness backpacking areas including Sol Duc Falls, Lover’s Lane, Mink Lake, Deer Lake, Seven Lakes Basin and the High Divide Loop. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort has mineral pool bathing, massage, lodging, camping and dining.
Hurricane Ridge: Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year. It’s located 17 miles south of Port Angeles on Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road. Summer provides excellent hiking while Winter provides sledding and skiing.
ONF offers diverse recreation opportunities for everyone, from rushing rivers and coastal rain forests to alpine wildflowers and views of the Puget Sound from mountain peaks. Olympic Outlook is their free forest-wide recreation guide available at forest offices and to download. All the info you’ll need is on their website. Favorite trails include (links download PDF flyer): Mt. Muller, Kloshe Nanitch and Bogachiel Rain Forest Trail.
As you pass through Port Angeles towards Forks, stop in at the Olympic Coast Discovery Center, located in “The Landing,” on the Port Angeles waterfront. Staffed by trained docents during the summer months, the Olympic Coast Discovery Center is a good launching point for your travels to the coast. Whether it’s surfing, tidepooling, diving or hiking, you’ll get solid local knowledge about the best places to go to enjoy our marine sanctuary and beaches.
Across the Peninsula are waterfalls located both in the National Park, Forest and beyond. The Olympic Peninsula Waterfall trail will help you discover them all.
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