Magazine article Sunset

This Summer's Olympics

Magazine article Sunset

This Summer's Olympics

Article excerpt

A drive around Washington's Olympic Peninsula is the greenest road trip in the West. By Chris Gray Faust

ROADS THAT CURVE through lush rain forests, past dense stands of cedar and fir: The Olympic Peninsula is 50 shades of green. Summer's the sunniest season: You'll generally have some clear skies as you stroll the peninsula's beaches and marvel at views from Hurricane Ridge. (Even so, this is a famously wet place; bring rain gear and warm up along the way with local chowder.) Our 260-mile route from Port Townsend to Shelton makes a great three- to four-day escape. For a shorter jaunt, do the northern half- Port Townsend to Forks and back.

ROAD TRIP

1 Port Townsend

This graceful gateway to the peninsula will charm with a restored Victorianera downtown rich in cafes and art galleries. One standout is Gallery 9, whose works include Michael Kenney's seductive jewelry made with meteorites. gailery-9.com.

2 Colette's Bed & Breakfast

Cheap motels dominate Olympic lodging, which makes Colette's a treat. Luxury suites offer fireplaces, hot tubs, and Strait of Juan de Fuca views. From $195; colettes.com.

3 Hurricane Ridge

In June, snow still piles high along the shoulders of Hurricane Ridge Road, and some trails may require snowshoes. But even nonhikers can admire views of Mt. Olympus and Bailey Ridge (shown) from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. $ J 5/vehic/e; nps.gov/o/ym.

4 Lake Crescent Lodge

The stretch of U.S. 101 west of Port Angeles passes some of the park's prettiest forests and lakes. Stop for berry pie (oh, and lunch) at the woodsy lakeside lodge, hosting vacationers since 1916. Lunch $$, rooms from $109; o/ymp/c narionalparlcs. com.

5 Rialto Beach

The sun doesn't set until 9 p.m. in June, so you'll have plenty of time to make it to the Pacific Coast. Check the tides before heading out to Rialto Beach and its sculpturally lovely Hole-in-the-Wall arch, nps.gov/o/ym.

6 Hon Rain Forest

This year marks Olympic National Park's 75th birthday. …

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