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Recent Articles

18 Must-See Stops Along Highway 101 (From Washington to Oregon)

Embarking on a road trip through the state of Washington and Oregon along Highway 101 promises to be a delightful journey filled with diverse landscapes and coastal wonders.  With towering evergreens and rugged Pacific coastline, charming towns, and natural wonders, Highway 101 has it all. Read below for a list of our favorite stops along the way!View our interactive map with stops along Highway 101 here. Sunrise in Port Angeles, WA. 1. The City of Port Angeles On the Northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Angeles is a charming town that serves as a gateway to Olympic National Park. The town itself features a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, creating a welcoming atmosphere for both residents and visitors. 2. Hurricane Ridge Before you head out of Port Angeles, be sure to venture 5,200 feet to Hurricane Ridge, about 45 minutes from downtown Port Angeles. Renowned for its accessibility and stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island, Hurricane Ridge is a hot spot in Olympic National Park.  Clallam Transit operates a shuttle to Hurricane Ridge from downtown Port Angeles for only $2 USD round trip in the summer season! Please visit Clallam Transit's website for a current shuttle schedule.  Please Note: The Day Lodge atop Hurricane Ridge is not currently operational due to a fire in 2023.   3. Madison Falls Trailhead Located 20 minutes from Black Ball’s Port Angeles terminal, this year-round trail is a great spot for a short, leisurely walk. The path meanders through a lush temperate rainforest, leading visitors to the stunning Madison Falls. The falls cascade over moss-covered rocks, creating a serene and picturesque setting that’s perfect for a peaceful break in your journey. For optimum waterfall viewing, we recommend visiting during springtime. Dock at Lake Crescent. 4. Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls Located about 30 minutes from Port Angeles, Lake Crescent is a pristine and captivating glacially-carved lake renowned for its crystal-clear blue waters and scenic mountainous backdrop. Surrounded by lush forests, the lake offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and fishing. We recommend taking the trail to Marymere Falls (1.6 miles | 2.7 kms round trip), which is a short hike beginning at Lake Crescent Lodge, or trying the Spruce Railroad Trail (bike friendly!) to Devil's Punchbowl. 5. The City of Forks - Home of the Twilight Saga Famous for its natural beauty, Forks gained additional recognition as the setting for the “Twilight” series. Visitors can explore the town's connection to the series, including sites like Forks High School, and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking in nearby rainforests, and exploring the coastline. Sunset at Rialto Beach. 6. Rialto Beach Just outside of Forks, Rialto Beach is a captivating stretch of coastline known for its wild, untouched beauty. With towering sea-stacks, driftwood-strewn shores, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Rialto Beach offers a serene stop on your journey. 7. Hoh Rain Forest The Hoh Rain Forest, located in Olympic National Park, is a captivating temperate rainforest renowned for its remarkable biodiversity. The Hoh Rain Forest receives an annual average rainfall of over 140 inches (3.5 meters), fostering a lush undergrowth of ferns, mosses, and vibrant wildflowers. Explore the network of hiking trails, such as the Hall of Mosses (a 0.8 mile / 1.2 km loop), to marvel at the ethereal beauty of this ancient, enchanting ecosystem. Please Note: A national park pass is required for entry. Ruby Beach. 8. Ruby Beach Ruby Beach is a picturesque destination nestled along the rugged coastline of Olympic National Park. Known for its sea stacks and tidal pools, the beach displays the captivating natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean. While there, visitors can explore the beach, marvel at unique rock formations, and experience stunning sunsets. The beach is easily accessible by a short trail from the parking lot. 9. Kalaloch Big Cedar Nature Trail The Kalaloch Big Cedar Nature Trail is a short, interpretive loop trail within Olympic National Park offering a gentle stroll through an old-growth forest dominated by magnificent western red cedar trees. Lush undergrowth adds to the enchanting ambience as you meander through this pristine nature setting. The “Big Cedar”, a colossal tree that stands as a testament to the region’s rich biodiversity and the resilience of the ancient forests, is a highlight of this trail.  The Tree of Life at Kalaloch Beach. 10. Kalaloch Beach and the Tree of Life Kalaloch Beach is a pristine stretch of coastline that features expansive sandy shores and stunning tidal pools. A popular destination for beachcombing, birdwatching, and storm watching during the winter months, Kalaloch Beach embodies the allure of the Pacific Northwest. The beach is home to the “Tree of Life”, a Sitka Spruce that is hanging onto the cliffs on the side of the beach with its root system exposed. If you have the chance, we also recommend staying at Kalaloch Lodge — A popular lodging spot on the Olympic Peninsula.  11. Lake Quinault and Quinault Rain Forest Nestled within the Quinault Rain Forest, Lake Quinault is a tranquil gem surrounded by lush greenery and snow-capped peaks. The Quinault Rain Forest (one of the wettest places in the continental United States), envelopes the lake, showcasing towering trees, vibrant mosses, and diverse wildlife. Hiking trails like the Quinault Loop Trail (a 4 mile | 6.4 km loop) offer immersive experiences, allowing adventurers to discover the rainforest’s ancient charm, elegant rivers, and the sheer majesty of a temperate rainforest ecosystem. Annual Kite Festival in Long Beach. 12. Long Beach Long Beach offers an expansive, sandy coastline and vibrant seaside town charm. Famous for its 28-mile continuous beach — the longest in the United States — Long Beach provides a picturesque backdrop for activities like beachcombing, kite flying, and horseback riding. The town’s lively atmosphere is complemented by its iconic boardwalk, featuring shops, galleries, and seafood eateries. Visitors can explore the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, visit the historic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, or attend the annual Washington State International Kite Festival. 13. Astoria Astoria, Oregon, is perched on the northern tip of the state where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Rich in maritime history, this charming town boasts Victorian architecture, a vibrant waterfront, and iconic landmarks like the Astoria Column, offering panoramic views. The Columbia River Maritime Museum delves into the region’s seafaring past, while the Astoria Riverwalk provides a scenic stroll along the river. You may recognize Astoria from classics like “The Goonies”, which was filmed in the area. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 14. Cannon Beach Located along the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach is a coastal haven known for its breathtaking landscapes and artistic ambience. The iconic Haystack Rock, rising dramatically from the shoreline, anchors the expansive sandy beach, drawing photographers and nature enthusiasts. This charming town features art galleries, boutiques, and quaint eateries, creating a delightful atmosphere for visitors. The scenic Ecola State Park offers hiking trails with panoramic views, while Tolovana Beach provides a quieter retreat. Cannon Beach is a beloved destination for those seeking natural beauty. 15. Tillamook Creamery The Tillamook Creamery, nestled in Tillamook, Oregon, is a destination for cheese enthusiasts and visitors alike. Renowned for its high-quality dairy products, the factory offers informative self-guided tours where visitors can witness the cheese-making process, from milk to packaging. The observation deck provides panoramic views of the bustling facility, and the tasting room allows for a delightful sampling of Tillamook's diverse cheese varieties. With a rich history dating back to 1909, the Tillamook Creamery is not just a culinary haven but a cultural experience that showcases the craftsmanship and passion behind one of America's most beloved dairy brands. Devil's Punchbowl. 16. Oregon's Devil’s Punchbowl Devil’s Punchbowl in Oregon (not to be confused with Devils Punchbowl at Lake Crescent in the state of Washington) is a geological marvel that enchants visitors with its dramatic chasm and swirling waters. Formed by the collapse of two sea caves, this natural wonder creates a mesmerizing circular bowl where the ocean surges in, creating turbulent whirlpools and powerful displays, particularly during high tide. The surrounding park features scenic viewpoints, offering breathtaking panoramas of the rugged coastline. 17. Dune Country - Oregon's Sand Dunes Dune Country unfolds as a mesmerizing stretch along the coast where immense sand dunes meet the Pacific. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a sandy playground stretching over 40 miles, captivates with towering dunes and undulating landscapes. Adventure seekers revel in dune buggy rides, sandboarding escapades, and tranquil hikes through the sandy expanse. Wind-sculpted dunes create an ever-shifting canvas, offering an otherworldly experience. The area’s unique ecology includes pockets of lush forest interspersed within the dunes. Whether for thrilling recreation or serene exploration, Dune Country beckons, revealing the dynamic beauty of nature on the Oregon Coast. Thor's Well. 18. Thor’s Well Thor’s Well stuns with its mesmerizing and seemingly magical display. Located near Cape Perpetua, this bowl-shaped sinkhole appears to drain and refill with the ocean’s surging tide. During high tide or stormy weather, waves surge into the opening, creating a captivating illusion of a bottomless well. Visitors are drawn to the dramatic spectacle, especially at sunset when the well glows with ethereal hues.

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Exploring the Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington State

The Olympic Discovery Trail is a multi-use recreational trail located on the Northern Coast of Washington State. The trail, when completed, will span over 135 miles long. Currently, the trail is officially 92 miles, and is used for various activities such as walking, running and cycling. This trail is easily accessible from our ferry terminal in Port Angeles and is surrounded by luscious forests, rivers, the coastline and mountains. If you are a nature lover or outdoor enthusiast, this trail is for you! The Olympic Discovery Trail is designed to be accessible and accommodating for everyone. Map of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Credit: The Olympic Discovery Trail.  The Olympic Discovery Trail is a public trail that is maintained by local organizations, volunteers and government agencies to provide a recreational resource for the community and visitors. The construction of the trail has spanned over the past 35 years, with 75% of the trail now complete.  Aerial View of the Olympic Discovery Trail. As you travel along the trail, you will have a chance to visit quaint towns on the Olympic Peninsula such as Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles and Forks. Plus, if you’re wanting to spend a dreamy night under the stars, you’re in luck! The Olympic Discovery Trail conveniently passes through numerous camping options, including National Park, State, and County campgrounds! Beyond natural beauty, the trail also offers an insightful journey on the history of the area. Along the way you will come across pieces of the past that tell stories of Indigenous Peoples. One notable historical site along the trail is the Elwha River Dam removal. The restoration project not only revitalizes the environment but also honors the cultural significance of the trip. Forested Pathway of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The trails' well-maintained surfaces make it accessible for diverse activities, such as walking, biking, running, rollerblading and horseback riding in some sections. There are numerous access points along the trail allowing you to choose a section that matches your desired level of challenge. The trail offers an opportunity to cover longer distances and explore the Olympic Peninsula, especially if you are traveling by bike. If you're in need of a place to rest during your adventure, there are also quiet areas to stop throughout the trail to enjoy a sweet picnic with your family or friends.  Walkway on Lake Crescent.  Top Spots Along the Olympic Discovery TrailPort Angeles: No surprises here! As the trail winds through Port Angeles, it provides easy access to the town’s vibrant downtown area, local amenities, and of course the Black Ball terminal. Elwha River Valley: The Elwha River section of the trails offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Elwha River. Be sure to visit the Elwha River Dam Removal site, which has led to the restoration of the river’s ecosystem.Lake Crescent: The trail passes along the northern shore of Lake Crescent, one of the most picturesque spots on the Olympic Peninsula. You can take a break, go for a swim, or enjoy the stunning scenery.Sol Duc Valley: This section of the trail offers access to Sol Duc Hot Springs and Sol Duc Falls, a beautiful waterfall in Olympic National Park.Forks: The town of Forks is famous for its connection to the “Twilight” book and movie series, and it’s a good place to stop for refreshments and explore the nearby natural beauty, including the Hoh Rainforest.La Push: Near the western end of the trail, you can visit the coastal community of La Push, known for its stunning beaches and sea stacks. Whether you’re up for excitement, quiet thinking, spending time with friends or just a break from the everyday routine, the Olympic Discovery Trail is all that and more! The adventure goes beyond the trail itself and it gives us a reminder that there's more to explore, both in the world around us and within ourselves! Cycling on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

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The Route

Black Ball Ferry Line operates the M.V. Coho passenger and vehicle ferry linking Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island with Port Angeles, WA on the scenic Olympic Peninsula. It is the most direct ferry crossing between Victoria and the United States, with daily, year-round service provided.

The 90-minute, 22.59 nautical mile (42 km) trip is a scenic journey through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. During the crossing, enjoy the ship’s many amenities including the cafeteria, gift shop, duty free store, comfortable interior lounges, solarium and pet-friendly areas.

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