A Weekend Tour of Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula

Last month my friends from Boston (Simon, Ann, and Bee) flew out to Seattle for a weekend to visit. Since it was their first time in Washington (and we are all avid Instagrammers) I planned a fun-filled weekend to give them a taste of both city and nature.

The afternoon after their arrival, I took my friends to Downtown and Pike Place Market where we quickly breezed through all the touristy (yet mandatory) sights. Our first real photo stop was the Seattle Public Library. Due to the interesting building design, we spent a good chunk of time there taking photos and admiring the architecture. Plus, the lattice windows make great light sources!

When it came time for sunset, we went to the Sky View Observatory located at Columbia Center. We got a great 360 degree view of Seattle and the surrounding area. Luckily it was a clear day and we could easily see the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier. We stayed until the sun disappeared behind the Olympics while the moon rose over the Cascades.

The next morning we hit the road for a two-day tour of the Olympic Peninsula. From Seattle we drove clockwise around the peninsula (along Route 101) and then back. We spent a total of 12 hours on the road those two days. Here were our stops:

  • A. Seattle
  • B. Lake Quinault
  • C. Ruby Beach
  • D. Second Beach
  • E. Forks (accommodations)
  • F. Cape Flattery
  • G. Lake Crescent
  • H. Hurricane Ridge

At our first stop in Lake Quinault, we had a picnic by the lake and visited a couple attractions such as the World's Largest Spruce Tree and Merriman Falls, one of the many waterfalls in the area.

From Lake Quinault we drove towards the coast to Ruby Beach. It was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean from Washington, and it was Bee's first time seeing the Pacific Ocean period! Ruby Beach was lined with round pebbles, driftwood, and big rock formations to play on. It was an overcast day so the backdrop for our photos were mostly of the monochrome landscape.

Under recommendation from a friend, we next checked out Second Beach, located just south of La Push. It was a short 0.7 mile hike from the lot to the beach. We saw people actually set up camp at this beach, which is something I'd love to do in the future. We were hoping to catch sunset at this beach however we were still cursed by the heavy clouds. I've seen amazing photos of sunset here, I guess there's more reason to come back!

After a well deserved dinner and drink, we retired to an Airbnb in Forks, WA (sorry there were no vampire sightings). The next morning we were greeted with rain and more overcast skies. We drove to one of the infamous espresso stands to grab some breakfast and coffee and continued our way north. The next stop was a unique one. Deemed as the 'Most Northwesternmost Point of the Contiguous U.S.' (say that 3 times fast), Cape Flattery is located at the very tip of the Olympic Peninsula. After a wet 0.75 mile hike through the lush forest we were rewarded with rocky coastal views.

Along the northern section of Route 101 lies Lake Crescent. We briefly stopped by to admire the clear and deep blue colored water. To me the lake had a similar resemblance to Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, but in a smaller scale. Something about being at a dock with the clear waters and a view of the mountains from afar reminded me of my time at Glacier.

Our last stop of the tour was Hurricane Ridge. After visiting this place during the #momentcampmeet back in August, I knew it would be something my friends would love to see. To road to Hurricane Ridge was a classic mountain drive, filled with turns, tunnels, and turnouts. We spent more time shooting along the road than at the actual top!

As the day got darker, the clouds began to break to show the gorgeous mountains of the ridge.

Overall I think the quick tour of Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula was a success. I'm very glad Simon, Ann, and Bee visited! I miss my friends back home dearly and it was wonderful and nostalgic to explore new places with some familiar faces.

(Photos taken with my Fujifilm X-T1 and Pentax 645)

Check out our hashtag on Instagram #pnwknd16 for more photos from this trip!