Olympic National Park
There are few locales gifted with such diversity of geography and culture as Olympic National Park. Its western boundary – where Kalaloch Lodge uniquely sits – marks the edge of the contiguous United States, a wind-swept coastal sanctuary teeming with marine life. Moving east up the slopes of the remote Olympic range, verdant valleys give way to temperate, mist-shrouded forests as they collect record rainfall. Higher up the slopes, rain turns to snow as it dramatically caps rugged peaks of the interior range such as Mount Olympus, Mount Anderson, and Mount Deception.
Many people have and continue to call the Olympic Peninsula home, from pre-historic mastodon hunters to European homesteaders to native peoples. Eight tribes – Hoh, Jamestown S'Klallam, Elwha Klallam, Makah, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Quileute, Skokomish, and Quinault – share history with the land, while the present-day Quinault Reservation is located just a few miles south of Kalaloch Lodge. All told, Olympic National Park is home to more than 650 archeological sites, 73 miles of protected coastline, 60 named glaciers, over 3,000 miles of rivers and 600 miles of trails, making it a true jewel of the nation's parklands.
Just a few hours west of Seattle, Olympic National Park is circled by well-maintained highways with spur roads heading inward to numerous points of interest. A car is the preferred method of transportation, and guests are routinely rewarded with stretches of pristine wilderness beauty where it feels like you have the park to yourself.
As the wonders of Olympic National Park stretch gracefully down to Kalaloch's shore, another haven for wildlife takes over – the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Extending 25 to 50 miles off the rugged Olympic Peninsula, the sanctuary covers 2,408 nautical miles and includes several major underwater canyons such as Nitinat, Juan de Fuca, and Quinault.
This rare bounty of marine life awaits right outside your door at Kalaloch Lodge, with gray whales sharing the water with sea otters, seven types of salmon, and elephant seals, just to name a few. Tide pools are filled with sea stars, periwinkles and urchins. Seaweeds such as Sea Palms and Dead Man's Finger add dimension to the rocky floor, and edible Nori (the wrap commonly used for sushi) sways with the current. Walking the beach, families can look out at the pounding surf and share stories of over 200 shipwrecks that have occurred off the Olympic Coast, as gulls wheel overhead and pelicans dive through the break.
Stretching nearly 160 miles from Cape Flattery in the north to the Copalis River in the south, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has a rich history, as well. These waters, first visited by Greek ship captain Juan de Fuca in 1592 as he searched for Northwest Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic and later by the Spanish, English, French and Russians, have always been a magnet for exploration. The first documented landing on Washington shores was in 1775 by Bruno Heceta at the mouth of the nearby Hoh River. Visitors to Kalaloch can learn about the native coastal tribes – Quinault, Hoh, Quileute, and Makah – that collaborate with the Sanctuary to manage resources and preserve the area they have called home for millennia.
FYI: There are no entrance fees to get to Kalaloch Lodge; the entrance stations are located on any roads that are maintained by the National Park Service. The entrance stations are on the roads leading to the following attractions, there are no entrance fee points along 101:
- Hurricane Ridge
- Hoh, Ozette
- Sol Duc
- and, Staircase
Olympic National Park Mileage Chart
Olympic National Park Newspaper, The Bugler
Olympic National Park Calendar Of Events
Olympic National Park Things To Do
Olympic National Park Things To Know Before You Come