Olympic National Park is where natural wonders, complex ecosystems and rich indigenous history come together to create a truly magnificent experience. NPCA experts and key local guides will show you a lesser-known side of the park as we explore pristine beaches, crystal-blue lakes and ancient rainforests.
September 12-18, 2022
7 days/6 nights
Minimum/Maximum: 16 guests/16 guests
- Discover the unforgettable ecosystems and landscapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds deep ties to eight Indigenous tribes
- Take in the breathtaking Olympic Foothills and immaculate glacial water as you kayak or paddle board through Lake Crescent
- See the role NPCA played in the removal of two dams in the Elwha River and the exciting return of vital salmon populations
- Join an acoustics ecologist on an immersive retreat in the natural sounds of the Olympic Peninsula
- Learn about the Japanese Americans who were exiled from their homes and witness the National Historic Site which honors them
- Gaze at otherworldly sea stacks and observe an abundance of sea life on a special guided tour with a local naturalist at Rialto Beach
- Take leisure in the forested Sol Duc Hot Springs after experiencing the extraordinary sights and sounds of crashing water at Sol Duc Falls
Day 1: September 12 - Arrivals into Seattle and Transfer to Kalaloch Lodge: Arrive mid-afternoon into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, gateway to the Pacific Northwest. Upon arrival, meet with your NPCA group. Transfer in a private shuttle to Kalaloch Lodge, approximately a 3-hour drive. We’ll stop for lunch and a short walk along the way. On arrival, settle into your room at this scenic coastal lodge before we gather as a group for brief introductions and an orientation to the days ahead. This evening, enjoy a group welcome reception and dinner on-site at Creekside Restaurant. Kalaloch Lodge (L, D)
Day 2: September 13 - Hoh Rain Forest and Ruby Beach:
This morning, we will make our way to the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the most spectacular temperate rainforests in the world. Mosses and ferns blanket the ground, while lush canopies of trees shade you from above. It is truly one of the most incredible sights in Olympic National Park. We will spend the day with Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist that has circled the globe three times over the last 35 years in pursuit of Earth’s rarest nature sounds—sounds which can only be fully appreciated in the absence of man-made noise. Along with Gordon, we will hike to “the quietest place in America,” a spot about three miles in on the Hoh River Trail. NPCA is advocating to protect these natural sounds from overhead naval training flights and air tours which will disturb precious ecosystems and the unique refuge of “the quietest place in America.” During this exclusive excursion, hear from your NPCA host about the key campaign seeking to save this necessary space and why it is especially important for U.S. Veterans. After lunch in the park, we head back towards the coast, stopping at Ruby Beach. One of the crown jewels of Olympic National Park, it is famous for its reddish sand and large sea stacks. Take time to walk up and down the shoreline, basking in the incredible views, before returning to the lodge for dinner.
Kalaloch Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 3: September 14 - Rialto Beach and Lake Crescent: After an early breakfast we’ll take a scenic 1-hour drive from the lodge to the start of today’s adventure out on Rialto Beach. Weather conditions permitting, we’ll look to arrive at the start of low tide. Joined by a local naturalist, spend the morning looking for colorful sea stars, rock crabs, wolf eels, pricklebacks, barnacles, clams and sea snails. We’ll have time to hike to the unique Hole-in-the-Wall formation, all while watching for otters and seals in the distance. NPCA continuously works to strengthen protections for the spectacular ecosystems and endangered species that inhabit the Olympic Peninsula. After a picnic lunch, we’ll drive the remaining 1-hour to Lake Crescent Lodge. Check into your comfortable and cozy accommodations before an optional hike to Marymere Falls. This evening, enjoy some downtime and relaxation at the lodge before dinner as a group. Lake Crescent Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 4: September 15 - Hurricane Ridge: After breakfast at your leisure in the lodge, meet the group and head towards Hurricane Ridge. With stunning views along the way, the drive alone is rewarding. On clear days, you can take in magnificent panoramic views of the park – views NPCA is working hard to save from detrimental regional haze pollution. We will be joined by Tim McNulty, a poet, essayist and nature writer based out of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Explore on foot, learning about everything from goat removal in the park, to Olympic marmots and endemic plants. After lunch in the area, transfer to the Elwha Dam. It is here that NPCA has helped advance recovery of the Elwha River for salmon through the removal of two dams, resulting in a world-class river restoration project. NPCA continues restoration of the Elwha River by supporting road access away from the river floodplain following a washout. As you admire the free-flowing Elwha River, NPCA experts will share the story of a challenging but victorious journey to free this river and its ecosystem. From here, we will enjoy dinner on the waterfront in Port Angeles before ending the night back at Lake Crescent Lodge. Lake Crescent Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 5: September 16 - Sol Duc Falls and Hot Springs: After breakfast, enjoy your time at leisure at Lake Crescent Lodge. You will have the option to join a group kayaking tour on Lake Crescent – the perfect opportunity to learn some of the secrets of the lake: its formation, unique ecology, phantom forest, wildlife, Spruce Railroad tunnels, legends and history. Alternatively, you may choose to hike on the Spruce Railroad trail, which winds along the shores of Lake Crescent, through an old railroad tunnel, and over a bridge along the lake next to the famous Devil’s Punch Bowl. After lunch at the lodge, head out towards Sol Duc Falls. Along the way, stop at Salmon Cascades of the Sol Duc River, where coho salmon run from September into early November. Continue on to the 50-foot waterfalls, listening to the thundering sounds, looking for rainbows in the mist surrounding the falls and keeping your eyes out for cutthroat and steelhead salmon below. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at Sol Duc Hot Springs. Surrounded by towering evergreens, you’ll relax in one of the three mineral pools or a fresh water pool. In the early evening, depart back to Lake Crescent Lodge for dinner. Lake Crescent Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 6: September 17 - Bainbridge Island:
This morning, enjoy your last breakfast in the park before we load up and begin our 2-hour and 15-minute drive to Bainbridge Island. Upon arrival, meet with NPCA Northwest Regional Council Member, Clarence Moriwaki at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. Built of old-growth red cedar, granite and basalt, the memorial honors the names of all 276 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were exiled from Bainbridge Island by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 and Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1 in 1942. The National Historic Monument also celebrates this island community, which defended its Japanese American friends and neighbors, supported them while they were away and welcomed them home. Discover NPCA’s priorities to ensure the National Park Service safeguards, preserves and shares the stories of all Americans. Afterwards, have lunch in Bainbridge Island’s quaint Downtown, where you’ll have free time to explore the many boutiques, galleries and wine tasting rooms. From here, check-in to your comfortable hotel room before heading out for a final dinner as a group and reflect on a memorable and educational week on the Olympic Peninsula.
The Marshall Suites (B, L, D)
Day 7: September 18 - Depart for Home: After breakfast, we will make our way towards Seattle and ferry across Puget Sound, taking in the scenic Seattle skyline along the way. Your Iconic Tour leader will coordinate drop offs at the airport based on your travel plans. We recommend booking flights no earlier than 2pm. (B)
Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions and park closures related to COVID-19.
NPCA TRAVEL ELIGIBILITY: NPCA is the only independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the National Park System. We are 100% privately funded and we rely on donations from individuals like you. One traveler per group must be an active NPCA member to participate in an NPCA trip. An annual membership starts at $15 per person. Please make dues payable to NPCA by check or credit card at npca.org.
TRAVEL SAFE WITH NPCA Your safety is our top priority. NPCA has worked diligently with each of our travel partners to develop important safety measures for all our trips. As guidelines and protocols evolve, we are committed to creating flexible options for those interested in rescheduling or booking new travel. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Travel Update.
MORE INFORMATION For full details on this trip, including inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, terms and safety protocols, please download the detailed trip brochure.
MAKING RESERVATIONS To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact Jared Dial, NPCA’s Associate Director of the Educational Travel Program, at 1.800.628.7275 or email the Travel Program at email@example.com.
TRAVEL PROTECTION We strongly recommend purchasing important optional travel insurance that will cover you for a variety of travel-related contingencies, such as trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness medical expenses; accidental death; as well as evacuation/repatriation coverage. Please note that a Pre-Existing Condition waiver is available if you purchase the policy within 21 days of making your initial trip payment. Also consider the optional “Cancel for any Reason” protection. All questions regarding the plan’s coverage should be directed to Travel Insurance Select through USI Affinity at 1-800-937-1387 or by visiting their website.
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