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Archive 2012 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice
  
 
khurram1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


I'm trying to plan a trip to Olympic NP and potentially crater lake and the Oregon Coast sometime between mid/Late March to early April. I have been to Olympic at the start of August a few years back and we barely could see the coast during that trip because of the fog. I just wanted to get an idea whether the coast would be any better at this time time of the year.

I also wanted to get some advice on other locations in the PNW that aren't to far away from Olympic - ideally, I'd like to plan for a 7-10 day trip that includes driving from and back to Calgary.

I also wanted to know if there would still be a lot of snow at Crater lake at that time of the year. I most likely will need to stick to just Olympic and other close by locations, unless I can manage to take at least two weeks off, since its a pretty long drive between the two parks, but since I've never been to Crater Lake, I'd like to try and squeeze this in if possible.



Dec 31, 2012 at 08:53 AM
DonH
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


According to the NPS, the rim drive is closed from approximately October to June so you will most certainly find snow in March / April and your driving will be limited.

For your time frame, count on a lot of grey skies and rain in Washington. This can work out well for the Olympic rain forests and waterfalls though.

Besides Olympic National Park, you could visit Mt. Rainier (Paradise). The road to Sunrise won't open until about July 1 so you will definitely find snow. You might also like to see the Palouse region of Washington / Idaho. Lots of rolling wheat fields there.

A ferry over to Whidbey Island then a drive up its length and over the bridges of Deception Pass can be quite scenic.



Dec 31, 2012 at 12:15 PM
khurram1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


DonH wrote:
According to the NPS, the rim drive is closed from approximately October to June so you will most certainly find snow in March / April and your driving will be limited.

For your time frame, count on a lot of grey skies and rain in Washington. This can work out well for the Olympic rain forests and waterfalls though.

Besides Olympic National Park, you could visit Mt. Rainier (Paradise). The road to Sunrise won't open until about July 1 so you will definitely find snow. You might also like to see the Palouse region of Washington / Idaho. Lots of rolling wheat
...Show more
Thanks for the information and suggestions Don! Do you know what time of the year is the best time to shoot the beaches/coastline in Olympic NP? During my last trip the challenge dealing with the totally fogged out/overcast coast, while there was mainly blue sky's and harsh light inland where I wanted to shoot the waterfalls and forest.



Dec 31, 2012 at 07:04 PM
 

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DonH
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


I guess that it all depends what you're looking for. For me, I really look forward to the fog as it makes some shots very nice eliminating background distractions which now fade into the distant fog.

If you're looking for clear/cloudy skies with good visibility then mid-May to early October would be my choice. It's just very difficult to predict the conditions that you'll find along the coast.

A very large consideration is the tide. For me, I look at some tide tables and time my visit for a nice low tide during the golden hours. Then just take your chances on the weather. Then a little hike out to Second Beach at La Push or a bit longer hike out to Point of Arches can be memorable.

You might also consider a relatively short trip to the Columbia Gorge and/or Silver Falls State Park. Both are in Oregon and the waterfalls there should be flowing nicely during your visit.

Good luck.

Don



Jan 01, 2013 at 09:34 AM
BryanSwan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


The coast that time of year will be generally hit or miss, but you're about as likely to have decent conditions as you are to have crappy conditions. There's a better chance of better weather the further south you go, so the very southern stretch of Oregon is most likely going to give you better results than the Olympic coast. That said, places like Ruby, Second and Rialto Beach work just fine even if it's overcast and / or foggy.

As for the mountains, you'll find snow, snow and more snow. Expect to find 15-20 feet of it on the ground at both Crater Lake and Mount Rainier (the rim drive at Crater Lake will be closed, and with the exception of the road between Longmire and Paradise so will all the roads at Rainier). Likewise up at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, but there should be considerably less snow there and the road is plowed and open on the weekends over the winter (weather permitting) so you very well might be able to make it up there (you are required to carry chains until April 1). March and April is still early for the valleys to melt out too, so even in places like Sol Duc and the Hoh there very easily could be snow on the ground. Things will still be pretty brown that time of year in the forests too, so focusing on areas which aren't dominated by undergrowth will likely provide better opportunities - there are some good forests around Lake Crescent, the Elwha valley and Quinault, but the Hoh is a bit ugly that time of year in my experience.

Don's suggestion of both the Columbia Gorge and Silver Falls State Park are good - but again there won't be much in the way of ripe foliage yet. You might be able to find some early flowers in the eastern side of the Columbia Gorge by early April (the Balsam usually starts blooming by mid April), and the Palouse is another good suggestion, as the weather over on that side of the mountains will be considerably better.



Jan 03, 2013 at 04:11 AM
khurram1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Olympic NP/ PNW advice


Don/Bryan,

I do want some fog, but want to at least get some colours during the golden hours. Our trip there a few years ago, was completely grey skies.

I appreciate the suggestion for Oregon as well! I've never made it down into Oregon, so that might be an option. I really want to head down that way to shoot the Japanese Gardens in the Fall one of these years, so it would be nice to get familiar with the general area to see what else is around there.



Jan 09, 2013 at 04:57 AM





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