Adventure Dispatch April 21-28 2016

Another week of bite-size audio information for your weekly adventure planning at Olympic National Park. Weather, road closures, hiking and camping information.

And here is your transcript:

Hello and welcome to the Adventure Dispatch for Olympic National Park for the week of April 21st thru 28th.
Adventure Dispatch is powered by The Outdoor Society. Get inspired and explore the outdoors with us.

Let’s look at the weather for the coming week, which sadly won’t be as good as last week.

  • For the weekend at Hurricane Ridge, you can expect rain, with the showers decreasing Monday through Wednesday. The temperature throughout the week will see highs near the 50s and lows dropping into the mid-30s. Visibility at Hurricane Ridge could be limited.
  • Along the coast and off in the rainforest, expect rain through the weekend, with the sun and clouds lingering for the remainder of the week. The temperature will be in the mid to high 50s, with lows dropping to the low 40s. This is pretty much perfect rainforest hiking weather.
  • Along the lesser visited Hood Canal side of the park, expect rain throughout the weekend, clearing up Monday through Thursday. The rain will come back late in the day Thursday and could be quite heavy toward sunset. The temperatures will be around 60 degrees during the day, while lows hover around 43 degrees. The rain should really make the rivers and waterfalls of the region pretty.

The snow level in the Olympics will start out on Friday around 5,500 feet, but will quickly drop to around 3,750ft for the rest of the week. Snowfall should be minimal, but might happen at the higher elevation trails.

  • The snowpack in the Olympics is currently at 101% of normal, with trails around the Park and Peninsula snow-free at around 3500ft. Obviously, there are pockets of lower snow, but you should have no real snow issues in the lower elevations.

This week, the following roads are closed in Olympic National Park, restricting access to the following areas:

  • Along Hood Canal, the Dosewallips Road is closed as always. And we’re not really sure why the National Park Services doesn’t list this as permanently closed, but that is a different discussion.
  • Around Port Angeles, the Deer Park Road is closed for the winter, and won’t be open until June. The Obstruction Point Road near Hurricane Ridge is also closed, and more than likely won’t be open until June, as well.
  • The Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open daily, but that depends on weather and staffing. While this is inconvenient the road should be open 24/7 in just a few weeks.  Check their Twitter feed for updates.
  • Out on the Elwha, both the Olympic Hot Springs Road and Whiskey Bend Road are still closed due to a washout on the main road. Plans to put a temporary bridge are still in the works, and may be completed in time for the summer crowds. You can still hike out here though, so explore the Elwha!
  • Every other Olympic National Park road is currently open and should remain that way all week. Keep in mind that the Graves Creek Road in the Quinault Region is washed out 2 miles from the Graves Creek Campground. RVs and large cars are not recommended on the road to the washout because the turnaround spot is pretty small.

Campers have a few options this week around in Olympic National Park, Camping in Olympic is currently open in the following campgrounds: Dosewallips, Graves Creek, Heart O the Hills, Hoh, Kalaloch, Mora, North Fork, Ozette, Queets, Sol Duc and Staircase. Keep in mind that only Kalaloch accepts reservations, every other campground is first come, first serve. Finding a spot shouldn’t be an issue this week, thanks to the cooler weather and return of light rain.

Remember, that while both the Dosewallips and Graves Creek Campgrounds are open, access is walk-in only.

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For those visiting Olympic this week, the trail of the week, brought to you by The Outdoor Society  is the Spruce Railroad Trail. Located in the Lake Crescent region of Olympic National Park, this trail offers stunning views of Lake Crescent, as well as Mount Storm King and the rest of the peaks surrounding the lake. At eight miles round trip with minimal elevation gain, this trail is the best way to see the the beauty of Washington State’s second deepest lake. The highlight of the trail for most is the bridge at Devils Punchbowl, just a little over a mile from the eastern trailhead. This is an iconic destination in Olympic and should be seen by everyone, often. More determined hikers who crave panoramas should check out Mount Storm King in the Lake Crescent region. It is short, steep and offers awesome views. More information on the Lake Crescent area can be found on outdoor-society.com.

This week, the Peninsula and Park will concluding National Park Week. Entrance to the park is free through Sunday.

  • On Friday, April 22nd, come celebrate Earth day at the Lake Quinault Lodge. Volunteers will have a chance to do trail work and homestead maintenance.
  • On Saturday the 23rd, Join Washington Coastsavers and help clean up the beaches in and around Olympic National Park. More information on the beach cleanup can be found at coastsavers.org.

On another note, today is John Muir’s birthday. Born in 1838 he clearly deserves all the praise for his work on helping the National Parks get established. And while we at The Outdoor Society honor his legacy I often find myself wondering how the parks and other public lands need to learn to adapt to a new realities of the 21st century. The parks and the general approach to wilderness is somewhat stuck in long gone times and deserve a new look and new vision for the future.

That concludes our Adventure Dispatch. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on Twitter and check our website for more. Thanks for tuning in and catch you next week, same time, same place.

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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