Updated October 2018: This is a post I brought over from DeliciousLA since it was a wonderful trip, and I hope this guide is helpful to those who might be interested in travelling to Olympic National Park.
This is part 3/3 of our Olympic National Park family trip report. We visited Olympic National Park as a family of 10 (2 grandparents in late 60’s and children as young as 2). All of the activities mentioned are suitable for a healthy, average fitness, family – though, we did carry the 2 year old at times.
ONP Day 5: Ruby Beach & Beach 4
On day 5, we visited the coastal portion of Olympic National Park. Although we’ve seen tidepools in Southern California where we live, we were blown away with the beauty and bounty of the tide pools in the Pacific Northwest. We visited Ruby Beach and Beach 4. We checked the tide schedule and planned our visit to Ruby Beach around low tide. To get to Ruby beach, you will need to climb over some large driftwood. Our 4 year old enjoyed this quite a bit, and our 2 year old was comfortably carried by myself or daddy. We did not find the path to the beach difficult, but do recommend taking your time on the driftwood if you are elderly or with younger children.
Once on the beach, there was so much to see!
There are ranger led tide pool talks during low tide summer season. We missed the formal guided talk, but Alex was still able to ask the ranger many questions. You can check the schedule for ranger tide pool talks at the Kalaloch Ranger Station.
The Ranger recommended we visit Beach 4, so we headed over there next.
Olympic National Park Beach tips:
Many family travelers recommend Rialto Beach, since it is the most easily accessible beach in Olympic National Park – no climbing over driftwood or taking a steep trail down to the beach. There are tide pools, and you can view the sunset by the parking lot. We were unable to visit as the road was closed for repair during our visit in late June 2017. Call 360 565 3131 to check if the access road is open before going
Day 5 & 6: Quinault Rainforest
We had a great time exploring the Quinault rainforest. Everyone in the family enjoyed the Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail which was an easy 0.9 mile hike, as well as the 1/2 mile loop Maple Glade Trail.
We also took a short trail to the see the “World’s Largest Sitka Spruce.” To access the Quinault Giant Sitka Spruce, you’ll need to walk a 0.3 mile out and back trail from South Shore Road on a well maintained, relatively flat gravel trail.
The Quinault Sitka Spruce is considered the overall largest Sitka spruce in the world. It is estimated to be around 1000 years old and it stands 191 feet tall and 17.7 feet in diameter. It’s total volume is around 10,540 cubic feet and has a crown spread of 96 feet (source: outdoor project)
After the spruce, we had lunch nearby at the Salmon House, and then continued on to chase some waterfalls and enjoy more scenery on the 31 mile Quinault Lake Loop Drive.
Quinault Lake Loop Drive
Merriman Falls is right along the side of South Shore Road. We got out of the car to take some pictures, and my husband explored some of the trails around the base with my nephew and our 4 year old Alex.