If you are headed to the Olympic Peninsula for any reason at all and you love to be on a trail, you are going to try and squeeze in a hike if you can. You’ll scan hiking websites for something you can fit into your schedule, and then realize that all the good hikes are within the Olympic National Park, which requires its own special pass. Then, if you are anything like me, you will face a dilemma.
So here’s the thing with the hiking pass system in our state – for a recovering cheap ass like myself, it’s a lot to handle. But let me tell you something; if you are going to hike at all in a national park, then you should just bite the bullet and buy the $80 America the Beautiful Pass that covers everything. (Which I should have done when I already paid for a pass to hike on Mount Rainier…but instead I cheaped out and got the one that was only good there.) Otherwise, you could be just a half hour away from an amazing hike like Hurricane Ridge, but because you can’t stand the thought of forking out another $30 when you already spent $30 for the Rainier pass AND $30 for your annual Forrest Pass, you refuse. And that will be a sad moment, I promise you.
But if you find yourself in that conundrum, or you are just in the Port Angeles area and looking for something to do, I can recommend a hike that doesn’t require any pass. Just a few minutes off of Hwy 101, the Railroad Bridge Park is a great place to spend a couple hours.
Or many hours, considering it’s part of the Olympic Discovery Trail; an ambitious project that is 80 miles done, with 60ish miles left to connect Port Townsend with La Push. Yes, you’ll have to share with dog walkers and bikers, but that is part of it’s charm. Though it’s biggest charm is the Dungeness River Audubon Center found right there in the parking lot. What a fun little gem.
Or, if you prefer a beach vibe, you could choose the Dungeness Spit, which is just a 20 minute drive away. No pass there either, but instead a $6 entrance fee. Even a recovering cheap ass like myself could swing that. (For a story about the full hike to the Lighthouse, click here) Happy Trails!…and don’t forget to check out my book! Link is on my home page 🙂