7 Free Spring Adventures on the Olympic Peninsula

Photo Courtesy of Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau

1. Travel the “Magical Misty Tour” on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. From the cliffs of Cape Flattery to the glacial fjord of the Hood Canal, waterfalls of all sizes and shapes abound and there is one for every adventurer. A sweet little summer trickle can be a thundering torrent during spring runoff. One can be seen from a paved, wheelchair-accessible path, another can only be reached by kayak or raft. More require short hikes or a backpacking trip, while some can be enjoyed from the car. Find your waterfall at olympicpeninsulawaterfalltrail.com.

2. Take a hike to the ocean in search of petroglyphs. A unique triangular hike, the Ozette Wilderness Hike can be customized to your level. Try the complete triangle, totaling a little more than nine miles, or opt to walk the northern trail to Cape Alava to see ancient petroglyphs of humans and whales. Learn more at olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/ozette-wilderness-hike.

3. Watch for real “tweets” at the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Want to see the detail of bald eagle tail feathers or the webbed feet of a seagull? Here’s the place to get up close to native species, or to join Wednesday morning bird walks to check out birds in the wild. Located at the site of a historic railroad trestle that is part of the Olympic Discovery Trail route, the Center offers exhibits, displays and specimens. For more information go to dungenessrivercenter.org or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/dungenessriverauduboncenter.

4. Take a selfie in an old buggy at the Joyce Depot Museum. The original log train depot, built in 1914, is home to the Joyce Museum. Housing historical memorabilia from the towns of Joyce, Lake Crescent, Twin Rivers and the former town of Port Crescent, you will find yourself surrounded by the rich history of the area. Don’t forget to visit the Joyce General Store across the street. The bulletin board outside the store will give you a good idea of what’s going on in this rural community. Visit joycegeneral.com to learn more.

5. Bring your bikes to pedal the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) or challenge yourself on the Adventure Route. There are many entrances and exits on the ODT, which will eventually connect Port Townsend to LaPush with 130 miles of paved, multi-user trail. This is a perfect place to bring the bikes and get out to see the area. If you’re feeling a bit more daring, try the Adventure Route, which comprises 25 miles of groomed, single-and double-track trails. Go to olympicdiscoverytrail.com or olympicdiscoverytrail.org/explore/olympic-adventure-route to plan your route.

6. Watch for whales on the Whale Trail. There are several locations on the Olympic Peninsula that are designated as good spots for seeing whales, if they are in the neighborhood. Bring your binoculars for scouting the horizon, but don’t miss the ones that may be close to shore! Keep your eyes peeled for other marine mammals, too. Visit thewhaletrail.org.

7. Follow an accessible path through a saltwater estuary. There are more than three miles of trails with views of the Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains. With trail loops and a wide variety of birds to entertain you, this is a jewel to explore. Learn more at wta.org.