Time for some adventuring this weekend.
Are you ready?
Read the transcript after the jump (but you will miss my awesome accent!):
Herzlich Willkommen and Hello to this week’s Adventure Dispatch!
My name is Mathias Eichler, and for the week of May 19th thru 26th it’s my turn to bring you the latest updates for Olympic National Park.
This week’s information is once again powered by The Outdoor Society. Get inspired and explore the wild with us.
First off, thank you all for tuning in every week. We love to be part of your outdoor adventure planning.
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Let’s start with the weather
- In beautiful Port Angeles and the Northern Olympic Peninsula it’s typical spring weather, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s. There is a strong chance of rain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, giving way to partly cloudy skies for the remainder of the week. Total rainfall for the week is forecasted to be less than 2/10ths of an inch (Doug told me to say that, I have no idea how much that is in metric). Starting Tuesday, we should be done with the showers, but don’t be surprised if a few work their way through the region. They won’t last long though, so don’t let this stop your plans of exploring the great outdoors.
- Out along the coast and in the rainforest, the forecast doesn’t look as wet, which is a bit of a suprise. The long term forecast is calling for mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies all week, with highs near 60 and lows hovering in the mid-40s. This is absolutely ideal hiking weather, especially on the coastal and rainforest regions of Olympic National Park.
Expect beautiful sunsets, since there will be some clouds to pick up the colors. The best chance of rain will be on Sunday, but it shouldn’t last long if it does decide to rain.
- Along the Hood Canal side of Olympic, the weather is closer to how the forecast at Port Angeles looks. Friday is sunny and warm, but rain showers will be possible during both Saturday and Sunday. The rain should stop on Monday, and the rest of the week will see highs in the mid 60s and lows in the mid 40s. Again, this is ideal hiking weather and the warmth should help melt out a few more of the snow patches on the regions higher elevation trails.
Speaking of snow, have you noticed that bite in the wind last couple of days? We’re not quite done with the snow around here.
- The Meltoff in the Olympic Mountains is happening quite fast, and it should continue to melt for the majority of week. But on Friday, the snow level starts out low, at 4500 ft. That could mean some snow at Hurricane Ridge, but nothing too major, as the snow level will rise to 6,000ft by the evening hours. For the rest of the weekend, the snow level will hover around 6,200ft until Monday night, when it drops to 5,000ft and the down to 4,000ft by Wednesday. While it will be cold in the mountains, the chance of precipitation is low, so snow should be minimal.
- As of Thursday, May 19th, the snowpack in the Olympic Mountains is estimated to be around 65% of normal and melting fast. At 5,000ft near Hurricane Ridge, the snowpack decreased 14 inches in a week. The low snow levels this week should slow the melt a bit, but I’d image the snow on most trails to be mostly clear at 4,000 to 4,500ft. Obviously some areas with less sunlight will have still some snow. So be prepared when you head out there.
This week, the following roads are closed in Olympic National Park:
- Along Hood Canal, the Dosewallips Road is only open to foot and bicycle traffic. The road has been close to car traffic for over a decade, thanks to a huge washout and at this point we might as well call it a trail.
- Around Port Angeles, The Hurricane Ridge Road is now open 24/7, weather permitting!
The Obstruction Point Road near Hurricane Ridge is also still closed, with no date for it to open. We’ll keep you updated for when it will open. The good news is that the Hurricane Hill road is open! From the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and parking lot just head west and continue to only road for about 2 miles to the Hurricane Hill ztrail head. It’s one of my families favorite hikes with stunning 360 degree views.
- The Deer Park Road is still closed for the winter, but should be opening in just a few weeks, if the snowmelt continues.
- Out on the Elwha, both the Olympic Hot Springs Road and Whiskey Bend Road are closed due to a washout on the main road. Plans to put a temporary bridge are still in the works, and hopefully in time for the summer crowds. Hiking trails are still accessible.
- 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.
Folks interested in camping this week in Olympic National Park can rejoice, as nearly all campgrounds are open.
The campgrounds that are still closed are Deer Park, Altair, Elwha and South Beach. Only Deer Park and South Beach are expected to open this year. Otherwise, you can camp at Fairholme, Heart O the Hills, Hoh, Kalaloch, Mora, North Fork, Ozette, Queets, Sol Duc and Staircase. Dosewallips and Graves Creek are both also open, but are only accessible as walk-in, or bike-in campgrounds.
For those visiting Olympic this week, The Outdoor Society’s “Trail of the Week” is the hike to Hole in the Wall at Rialto Beach. As one of the most popular beach hikes in Olympic National Park, the easy trek to Hole in the wall from just North of LaPush is full of stunning coastal views, awesome sea stacks and amazing tide pools. To best see the area, check tides and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back before high tide. If you can, bring a flashlight and stay for sunset, as this is one of the more stunning regions in America to watch experience the sun drop into the Pacific. At just four miles round trip, the dazzling colors along this hike will keep you coming back month after month. More information on this region and hike can be found on our website and in our Olympic National Park Guidebooks.
This week, there is really just one event going on in the park. In yet another way to encourage Americans to #FindYourPark, Olympic National Park is holding a BioBlitz on May 20th and 21st in three regions of the nation’s 7th most-visited National Park. During those two days, Olympic is going to be holding 11 events that highlight the amazing biodiversity of the region. From the Elwha to the Hoh, and the areas around the Port Angeles Visitor Center, this event is an awesome way to help explore nature, help scientists and get to know your local park even better. The BioBlitz is a 24-hour event that brings together scientists, students, families and community members to find and identify as many living species of organisms as possible. The best part of this: All events are free of charge! More information on this event can also be found on outdoor-society.com.
That concludes this week’s Adventure Dispatch. If you have any questions please reach out to us on Twitter and check our website for more info. If there is anything you like to hear covered in our weekly Adventure Dispatch, please let us know.
Thanks for tuning in and we catch you next week, same time, same place.