Visiting Forks Washington and Olympic National Park
There is something for everybody any time of year in the Olympic National Park and Forks Washington. Explore wilderness beaches such as Rialto Beach, hike in the moss-draped beauty of the Hoh rainforest, fish the plentiful rivers of the region, or enjoy sightseeing.
We’ve located just a 45-minute drive from the Hoh Rainforest and Sol Duc Hot Springs, and about an hour from Cape Flattery (most Northwestern point in the lower 48 states) and the Makah Reservation and Cultural Museum at Neah Bay. Rialto Beach, spectacularly rugged and log-strewn, is just 3 miles away. The Quileute Tribe resides 9 miles away at La Push, as well as First Beach at LaPush and Olympic National Park’s Second and Third Beaches (not to be confused with Beaches 1-3 south of Kalaloch).
Olympic National Park Area Beaches
View Tidetables to help plan your time at the beaches. Rialto Beach, the only drive-to beach in the immediate area, is a spectacular, driftwood-strewn beach on the north side of the Quileute river about 3 miles from the Manitou Lodge. The surf is generally heavy, the driftwood logs huge, and the sunsets are magnificent. The Rialto crescent extends for about 1.5 miles and ends with two towering sea stacks, tidal pools, and “Hole-in-the-Wall”, a surf-carved tunnel in a headland. The 18-mile hike north from Rialto Beach to Cape Alava is a favorite with backpackers.
The first, Second, and Third Beaches extend south from the mouth of the Quileute River. These beaches are long, flat crescents popular with photographers due to sea-stacks (a well-known sea-stack complex, the “Quileute Needles”, lies just offshore), tidal pools, and eagles. Access to Second and Third Beaches requires hikes of 0.5 to 1.5 miles, respectively. The headlands at First Beach and Second Beach can’t be passed, but one can backpack south from Third Beach along the coast for about 17 miles to Oil City.
The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
The Hoh Visitor Center is about 30 miles from us, and the Hoh Rainforest is possibly the best-known attraction in the Olympic National Park. Average annual rainfall in the Hoh Valley is in excess of 150 inches and has a spectacular effect on the vegetation. Along the “Hall of Mosses” Trail, the moss-draped maples are extravagantly green year-round, so much so that somebody has written that the air appears to be jade-colored. The Spruce Trail follows the glacier-carved Hoh river maple and red alder “bottom”. Scenic raft trips are available in summer along the Hoh River, and guides can be contracted throughout the year for fishing and scenic trips.
Other Regional Activities
Other regional activities near Forks Washington include world-class fishing, mountain biking, hiking in the Olympic mountains and along the wild beaches that comprise the Pacific Coast portion of the Olympic National Park, or a visit to Cape Flattery, the most northwestern point in the lower 48 states. A boardwalk recently completed by the Makah Nation, on whose lands the Cape sits, has considerably eased the hike. The views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Tatoosh Island, and Vancouver Island from the Cape cliffs are inspiring. While visiting the Cape, you won’t want to miss the outstanding Makah Cultural Center and Museum at Neah Bay. These are just a sampling of the possibilities on the West End. For a more comprehensive look, consult some of the links listed below and visit the Forks Chamber of Commerce Five Day Guide to the West End. Twilight fans won’t want to miss a stop in Forks, WA.