Spring is the perfect time to take a drive along the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, where majestic forests seem to touch the sea. It also is a great time to take a hike up to Striped Peak. The trail winds and climbs through a forest of fir, hemlock, and cedar with views of the saltwater below.
Hike about 1 mile to view a lovely azure cove 200 feet below. There is a short and steep side trail that will take you to that cove, or if you’re not feeling quite that adventurous, walk just a few steps down to view a lovely 30-foot waterfall. At the end of the trail, atop a 1,166-foot summit, views of the Cascades, the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and Canada await.
After you’re done hiking, explore tidepools, hike on the beach, or just sit back and enjoy the views. In addition to watching seals and otters frolic while bald eagles soar overhead, you might spot whales.
The best chance of seeing migrating gray whales in the Puget Sound is March through May, but some Gray Whales live in the Strait of Juan de Fuca year-round. Also known as a premier birding site, Salt Creek is on the Whale Trail and the National Audubon’s Olympic Loop of the Greater Washington State Birding Trail.
Striped Peak is on Washington Department of Natural Resources land but is accessed from just inside the entrance gate of the Clallam County Salt Creek Recreation area, which can provide an entire weekend of fun for the whole family with year-round camping, playgrounds, play fields, hiking, and biking trails. There also is a privately owned RV park just to the west of the boundary for those who like a little more comfort when they camp.
History buffs will enjoy hunting through the mossy forest to search for the remnants of the WWII gun battery, Camp Hayden, which includes two concrete bunkers that housed cannons and several smaller bunkers.
After you’ve spent a day or a weekend enjoying the great outdoors at Salt Creek, don’t forget to stop in Port Angeles to enjoy art galleries and dining, or in Sequim to check out the lavender farms.
Good to Know
There is no entrance fee for day use at this or any other Clallam County Park. Fees are charged for camping, dump station use, and showers.
Map: Green Trails Joyce No. 102
Mileage: 5 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 850 feet
Highest Point: 1,166 feet