A Week in Washington State- Olympic NP, Mount Rainier NP, Hiking in Leavenworth, and Treehouse Time
So there are 3 National Parks total in the state of Washington- Olympic NP, Mount Rainier NP, and North Cascades NP. We were able to visit 2 of the 3 on this trip- and left North Cascades as a reason to come back (though there are plenty not just one!) We also checked out Leavenworth, WA- a very interesting Bavarian town with a ton of hiking trails, and visited friends/stayed in a Treehouse in Park City/Issaquah about 20mins outside of Seattle.
Saturday: We flew into Seattle and landed around 11am. It was a crazy travel day, the airport was packed and the shuttle line was so long to pick up our rental car- we actually split an Uber with another couple in line so we wouldn't have to wait. If you are traveling soon to SeaTac - just be prepared to wait or pay for alternatives! Once in our car, we drove 2.5 hours to Olympic National Park on the Peninsula of the state- where we stayed in an Airbnb in the town of Port Angeles. This town isn't too scenic, even being on the water where you can catch a ferry to Victoria BC and other islands, but we found some decent restaurants, and it was only about a 10min drive to one of the entrances of the park. We stopped for lunch once in Port Angeles at New Day Eatery- a cute coffee shop with pastry and sandwich options. From there we did some grocery shopping in town, checked into our Airbnb, and hit up our first trail in the park. The best time to go to Washington is definitely in the summer- you get a ton of daylight (it didn't get dark until around 9:30pm), and most of the snow is off the trails (I say most on purpose, we definitely ran into a good amount of snow on some trails still!). Weather was still a little iffy- Olympic was in the 50s and 60s, mostly cloudy. Leavenworth had some rain everyday and was somewhat cloudy everyday- in the 70s. By the time we made it to Mount Rainier and Issaquah though, the weather was really nice- mid 70's to 80's and sunny.
Our first hike in Olympic was the Peabody Creek trail- pretty easy, in the woods over some streams, parking at the visitors center. 5.4 miles/2 hrs. After cleaning up back at the Airbnb we walked about 10mins into town for dinner at Kokopelli Grill, which had pretty good seafood and very good cocktails. It was packed at 6:30- so I recommend reservations.
Sunday: Big Hiking Day! We started off driving to the Hurricane Ridge section of the park- which took about 30mins from Port Angeles. It was very foggy for the first part of the drive, until we made it above the clouds, where we got some clear skies and views at least for our first hike. We did the Switchback trail to Klahhane Ridge, which had a small parking lot by the trailhead. The trail consisted of switchbacks through some forest, then exposed - 1700ft in elevation gain, took us 2 hrs for 4miles- nice views at the top and along the way. Once we finally made it to the top there were a few options for other trails, but the snow was too high so we headed back down and onto another hike. We drove a little further up to Hurricane hill which was by the larger official visitors center. This was a paved trail- a little under 4 miles, took us 1hr 20min. We saw some wildlife (deer, marmot) and what would have been amazing views of the mountains had it not been for all the clouds.
We then headed back to Port Angeles for lunch at the Coffee Box. I got the avocado toast (not great), but they did have good coffee and cookies- so maybe just stick to the pastries and baked goods here. After lunch we headed into another area of the park, Sol duc, which took us about an hour to drive to from Port Angeles. The line to get into the park here was way more crowded, but after about 15mins of waiting, we got in and headed to the Sol duc falls trail. Huge parking lot here, more of a nature walk through the forest to the falls- 2mi/50mins. This area of the park was very different from the Hurricane Ridge section, so if you have time do both like us! Dinner this night was at Next Door Gastropub (another place in town about a 10min walk from the Airbnb)- we didn't make reservations but were able to stalk some bar seats. They had fantastic bar food. Their hummus was incredible. For dessert we popped into Wellys ice cream in a building by the water.
Monday: We woke up to rain and cold, so it was good news we were on our way to Leavenworth. The drive from Port Angeles took about 4.5 hours, with luckily no traffic. Our first stop was of course, a hike. We hiked up Icicle Ridge trail, which was only about a 5min drive from our resort, so very convenient if you are staying at the Sleeping Lady. Took us 2hrs 15min to climb 1700ft in elevation, 5 miles up and down. Mostly switchbacks, and this hike would have been perfect had it not been for the random rainstorm that hit us just as we made it to the top. It was over in 15minutes, but it made it hard to enjoy our payoff views. After our hike we drove down the street to check into the Sleeping Lady resort. This place was great, but it could have been way better with just a few adjustments. The rooms were nice and spacious- however they had advertised having a gym (which is now closed and is now a study), multiple restaurants on site (Kingfish is closed, and the Grotto bar is only open weekends, so that left O Grady's which was perfect for breakfast and coffee, but not really for lunch and/or dinner). Also when we arrived the pool was closed for the day. Kind of a bummer. We instead took a dip in the hot tub, and then walked into town for dinner at Visconti's (took us about 1hr 10mins to walk into Leavenworth- 3.5 miles). The town is hilarious- apparently they were about to go bankrupt years ago, and came up with a Bavarian theme to attract tourists. It totally worked, all the shops and restaurants, even the grocery stores and gas stations, look straight out of the German countryside. Dinner was decent, not the best italian I've ever had, and after we had also just decent ice cream at Whistlepunk. This town does not have Ubers, so we had to call a local taxi service to drive us back to the resort (cost $20).
Tuesday: This was sort of a rest day. Sort of. We started out the day with a quick hike- about a 20min drive from the place, Canyon Crest trail to Rat Creek. 1hr 20min, 3.5 miles. Then we did breakfast at O'Grady's in Sleeping lady, followed by a massage and facial at the Aspen Day spa on the grounds. We took the afternoon to read by the pool, soak in the hot tub, and tried to do yoga but the resort would not lend us any yoga mats to borrow. So instead of relaxing with yoga, we walked a little bit around the resort, back towards the river and some of the fish statues and Chuhily art piece, then walked back to the town and decided to relax with drinks and food. We started at South for happy hour, sat in the bar area and drank some spicy margaritas, snacked on some really good guacamole with corn chips and shishito peppers. From there we checked out Icicle brewing company where we sat outside for some more drinks, then topped off the night at Larch with some amazing dinner. This has to be the best restaurant in Leavenworth- at least that's open on a Tuesday night. Highly recommend this spot, we were able to get an 8pm reservation the day of, but one was needed so plan accordingly. Then it was a taxi back to the resort for our last night in Leavenworth.
Wednesday: Woke up to some rain, which was discouraging, but we didn't let it stop us from one last hike in Leavenworth. We drove 20mins to Eight Mile trail trailhead- which was down a very 3mile bumpy stretch of road, that ended in a large parking area by the trailhead. Do not let the bumpy road deter you! This is a much longer hike, but for the sake of time and check out, we did 6 miles, 2 hr 45mins up and back. It stopped raining when we started which was nice, but it was so buggy- use that spray! Not bad elevation gain, pretty easy for the most part, a very good morning hike.
We headed back to O'Grady's for breakfast and then were off to Issaquah/Park City, which took about 2hrs in the car to arrive at Treehouse Point. We were a little early arriving and they were not having it, wouldn't open the gate for us or let us park until exactly 3pm, so be aware. To kill some time we grabbed coffee at Aroma in Park City, which is such a cute coffeehouse we ended up going back almost every day. Finally 3pm arrived, and we were able to check into our Nest treehouse. It was tiny but so cozy! I actually really liked staying here even with the room itself it being so small. It even had a toilet outside the room for late night bathroom breaks- which really really helped make the stay very comfortable. That night we met our friends RJ and Michelle for dinner at Tanoor in Sammamish (20min drive). This place was super cheap and had really good Lebanese food, and a ton of it.
Thursday: Apparently Treehouse Point does offer their own yoga classes, but we woke up a bit early, so we BYO'd some mats and streamed our own class by the river. This was followed by an amazing breakfast at the Treehouse lodge, such a nice buffet of fresh fruit and juice, egg dishes, pastries- just phenomenal. After breakfast we met our friends for some hiking- we did Little Si trail- 2 hrs, 4 miles. Stopped back at Aroma coffeehouse for a snack, and had dinner in Seattle at Communion. This was the meal highlight of the trip. We went to the restaurant at 5 and were able to get seated almost right away at the bar. Their cocktails were fantastic, I got a Japanese eggplant special stuffed with crab and gravy that was insane, their veggies were killer, and their cornbread was perfection. I'll be dreaming of this food for a good time. After the feast we walked around the neighborhood - about a mile to Mollie Moos for really good ice cream and then back. I really liked this neighborhood and it was beautiful night so really the perfect way to top off the day.
Friday: Another yoga streaming sesh on the lawn, then another incredible breakfast at the Lodge, then sadly we said goodbye to the treehomes. But we went to our friends' place down the road for one last night, 2 final days. After dropping our stuff we all drove to Mount Rainier and tackled the Green Lake Trail. This hiking adventure basically took the entire day almost. The drive each way was 1.5hrs, and the hike itself took us 5 hours to do 9.5 miles (we took a good amount of time to hang out at the Green Lake). The first 3 miles was a flat trail, that I believe was previously all road, but there had been floods that have effected this area pretty significantly so some ranger stations and facilities here have been abandoned and there is no official park entrance (which is nice actually, that's what usually causes a line to get into the parks). And because of all this, not many people were out in this area so it felt like we had a piece of Mount Rainier all to ourselves. After the first flat 3 miles, the rest of the trail has some incline, you pass by a really nice waterfall and end at a beautiful lake- which RJ and Joe took a quick dip in. After our long day in the park we ended with dinner in Issaquah at Fins Bistro, which was also really good. Not a bad meal was had around Seattle!
Saturday: Steamed a yoga class with Michelle while the guys walked the dog. Then Joe and I did some Paragliding around Poo Poo Point. Seattle Paragliding had their facility at the base of the mountain, and we were able to hike up to the South lawn launch site. Took us 50mins to get up 1500ft to the site- where instructors found us, strapped us in, and we were off for a 30min ride in the sky. That adventure was followed by a quick 3mile hike up Sqwak Mountain to say goodbye to Washington- 1.5 hrs, 1000ft in elevation. Aroma stop for coffee, and we ended our amazing week with dinner in Seattle at Le Pichet. This little french place is awesome, the 60min chicken and the Chocolate Chaud with cream dessert is just incredible. What a fitting way to finish our great week.