331 Things to Do in Port Angeles – #79 Winter Walkabouts
From miles of trails in the Olympic National Park and on the Olympic Peninsula, Port Angeles is the epicenter for wintertime treks to snowy peaks, frosty lakes, ancient rainforest and wild seashores.
Follow our list of things to do in Port Angeles, the Olympic National Park and the Olympic Peninsula where you can wink — and smile — at a wintry sky. Plan your fun because winter is no time to hibernate in Port Angeles!
If you plan to head into the Olympic National Park, we recommend checking their website before you go for possible road closures within the park.
1. Play in the Snow at Hurricane Ridge
Head to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park for epic mountain views along with plenty of options for wintertime recreation like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding and tubing. The old school ski resort at Hurricane Ridge offers access to skiable terrain by one poma lift, two rope tows and your own two feet. Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard area prides itself on keeping winter recreation affordable. From free lift tickets for 4th and 5th graders to free sledding for kids eight and under, Hurricane Ridge offers up plenty of cheap thrills for the entire family.
Rent a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails! Snowshoe rentals are available along with free guided tours by a park ranger.
The Ridge is open Fridays through Sundays and on Mondays over holiday weekends (weather permitting). Tire chains are required– even if you have 4WD or AWD.
2. Winter Hiking Hotspots
Mt. Storm King
Ooh and aah, and even gasp, at the deep blue waters of Lake Crescent (Washington’s second deepest lake) from snow-capped Mount Storm King. This hike is only 3.8 miles round trip, but has over 1,700-feet of elevation gain.
Gape at a 90-foot tall waterfall with a short easy walk (1.5 miles round trip)
Hoh Rain Forest
Hike the to the Hall of Mosses or along the Spruce Nature Trail for a quick jaunt, or venture even further into a lush rainforest canopy along the Hoh River Trail and the Hoh Lake Trail. This rain forest gets anywhere from 12 to 14-feet of rain every year.
3. A Winter Day at the Beach
With over 400 miles of natural coastline between both Clallam and Jefferson Counties on the Olympic Peninsula and a 73-mile stretch of pure wilderness coastline in the Olympic National Park, your beach options are pretty much endless.
Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles
This beach makes a great spot to watch the ferry come and go to and from Victoria, B.C. Canada, or launch a kayak or paddleboard from the mellow shore. You’ll often see seals swimming around and can easily get “hands-on” with the local sea life at the Feiro Marine Life Center. There’s also a beachfront playground for the kids and the the Olympic Discovery Trail — a paved bike and walking path that extends for over 70-miles — makes for a scenic shore ride or walk out to Ediz Hook.
Ediz Hook in Port Angeles
Hunt for sea glass on a natural sand spit that creates a calm harbor for beach play and paddle sports like SUP-ing and kayaking as well as a hot spot for bird watching. The Olympic Discovery Trail leads the way to several beachfront parks. Keep an eye out for not only sea life, but also wild kitty cats scampering across the logs and rocks.
Low tide reveals a walkable sandy beach dotted with anemone-covered rocks and pools teeming with crabs and tiny fish.
Salt Creek Recreation Area
A 196-acre county park with forested trails, sandy beach and rocky tide pools that open to Crescent Bay. This bay is part of the Whale Trail where whales can be seen from shore. Hiking and walking trails and even an old World War II bunker are located in the park and this is an official location on the National Audubon’s Olympic Loop Washington State Birding Trail. Beachcombing, tide pooling, kite flying, surfing and kayaking are common beach day activities here.
Named one of the top 10 best west coast beaches by USA Today. It’s an easy walk for kiddos because you don’t have to take a trail to get to the beach — the beach is your trail! Walk about two miles to the Hole-in-the-Wall, a sea arch where you can explore saltwater pools. Watch for whales, sea lions, otters and bald eagles here.
First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach
Explore each of these beaches just outside of Forks, Washington. You’ll be captivated by the beauty of pure Pacific Ocean punctuated by rocky sea stacks. First Beach is easier to access with no hiking required and dogs and bonfires are welcome. Second Beach requires about a 1-mile hike in scaling up and over driftwood and descending a steep trail. Once you’ve arrived at Second Beach, plan to walk a little further to see The Arch and explore the tide pools. Third Beach also requires a mile plus hike in along a forested trail with plenty of driftwood to maneuver around once you get close to the beach. Third Beach is larger than First and Second Beach and offers the most solitude as well as a waterfall called Strawberry Bay Falls.
Main photo & Hoh Rain Forest photo by Isaac Gautschi Photography | Hurricane Ridge Photo by M. Krueger Photography | Second Beach Photo by Josh Williams Photography