Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Washington National Parks-- route recommendations?
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 > Washington National Parks-- route recommendations?

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Honeybee8888

Central NJ

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Posted: 05/06/19 08:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm planning a trip that will take us to Washington in September. I'm thinking of going to North Cascades NP, Olympic NP, and Mt. Ranier NP. (For reference, we'll be coming from Glacier NP.) Considering all the islands and the metropolitan area of Seattle, can anyone give me advice on which roads to take and which to avoid? We're in a 29' Class C and will be towing a Jeep, so I'm a bit concerned about traffic and length restrictions. And we are totally unfamiliar with this part of the country. We'll have a couple of weeks to explore the area, and we'd like to maximize our options. Any ideas of what to do (or where to stay) would also be appreciated, but I'm mostly concerned about the optimal roads to take (and what to avoid.)

Thanks for any help!
Debbie


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ppine

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Posted: 05/07/19 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Avoid Seattle all the time. Avoid INterstate 5 between Olympia and Everett as much as you can, especially on Fri afternoon.

I drive up there every year at least once to see family. I usually stay on the east side of the Cascades and drop into Seattle from I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass.

YOu have to drive around Puget Sound, unless you want to take a ferry.
You could drive from Glacier to North Cascades on US 20. Then go south on the east side of the Cascades to Yakima and visit Mt Rainier via Naches and White Pass. From there leave the Park and head southwest to I5 near Olympia. From there head to Oly Peninsula.

D.E.Bishop

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Posted: 05/07/19 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My maps are out in the car and I'm still in my jammies so I'm not going to be able to look for highway designations but I will suggest that you avoid if possible I-5 from Olympia to Everett. Driving through Seattle is really tough anytime, far worse that most of L.A.

You can visit Cascades then drop down I-5 a way to catch the ferry over to Pt. Townsend then on to Olympic NP and then down and over to Olympia and back up to Rainier. 101 basically circles the Penn. but Kala Loch(Clay Lock) a nice campground is on the West side as is Hoh Rain forest(Mick Dodge). Forks is on 101, it is where Twilight was filmed. There are campgrounds all over the Penn. You would do best by Googling them.

Remember Rain Forest and Hurricane Ridge can mean some foul weather. Only problem the weather presents to me is walking the dogie. Google Washington St Ferries for routes and times.


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Honeybee8888

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Posted: 05/07/19 12:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

D.E.Bishop wrote:

My maps are out in the car and I'm still in my jammies so I'm not going to be able to look for highway designations but I will suggest that you avoid if possible I-5 from Olympia to Everett. Driving through Seattle is really tough anytime, far worse that most of L.A.

You can visit Cascades then drop down I-5 a way to catch the ferry over to Pt. Townsend then on to Olympic NP and then down and over to Olympia and back up to Rainier. 101 basically circles the Penn. but Kala Loch(Clay Lock) a nice campground is on the West side as is Hoh Rain forest(Mick Dodge). Forks is on 101, it is where Twilight was filmed. There are campgrounds all over the Penn. You would do best by Googling them.

Remember Rain Forest and Hurricane Ridge can mean some foul weather. Only problem the weather presents to me is walking the dogie. Google Washington St Ferries for routes and times.


THanks-- this is helpful. It didn't occur to me that the ferries might take the RV-- I will look into that. Also helpful is the info about the I-5. It's hard to know how awful an interstate can be, but we've had to thread our way through I80/I90 south of Chicago and it's a nightmare. We'll try to make a wide loop to avoid Seattle and then maybe drive in with the Jeep, or take a ferry or something like that.

Tom/Barb

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Posted: 05/07/19 07:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The North Cascades didn't get the snow they wanted, so now the Ross Lake is way down, 60" from dock to water. no boats can launch.
Your best bet to camp is Colonial Creek camp ground on Lake Diablo
We were just there, all lakes are way low.


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Tom/Barb

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Posted: 05/07/19 07:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Honeybee8888 wrote:

I'm planning a trip that will take us to Washington in September. I'm thinking of going to North Cascades NP, Olympic NP, and Mt. Ranier NP. (For reference, we'll be coming from Glacier NP.) Considering all the islands and the metropolitan area of Seattle, can anyone give me advice on which roads to take and which to avoid? We're in a 29' Class C and will be towing a Jeep, so I'm a bit concerned about traffic and length restrictions. And we are totally unfamiliar with this part of the country. We'll have a couple of weeks to explore the area, and we'd like to maximize our options. Any ideas of what to do (or where to stay) would also be appreciated, but I'm mostly concerned about the optimal roads to take (and what to avoid.)

Thanks for any help!
Debbie


Don't miss the North Cascade Highway. #20 from Okanogan to Burlington Wa

Roy&Lynne

Pacific Northwest

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Posted: 05/09/19 11:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I were you I would take Hwy 2 from Glacier and not miss Coulee Dam which will be a little side trip, and Lake Chelan which will also be a bit of a side trip but well worth it, especially if you can take the ferry ride up the lake. But stay on Hwy 2 and check out Whidbey Island and from there take the ferry over to Port Townsend. That way you can buy pass Seattle and you might get to see some whales. After making the Olympic Peninsula loop until you hit the Hwy 12 sign and turn off there and go to Mt. Rainier. Hwy 12 takes you to the Paradise side.


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vermilye

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Posted: 05/10/19 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take the jeep for a drive on the Mount Baker Highway (WA 542). The views at Artist Point and Picture Lake are well worth the drive.
[image]

I usually stay ar Silver Lake County Park in Maple Falls at the start of the highway...


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paulj

Seattle

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Posted: 05/11/19 12:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I imagine in Central NJ you are used to driving your rig on urban freeways. The freeways through the Seattle metro area (Everett to Tacoma) can't any worse than that. But go to the WSDOT website if you need more information on traffic levels and such. I've also gotten good traffic timings from Google maps.

But for these parks you don't need to pass through the cites, provided you are willing to spend some money on ferries.

WA20 or US2 across the eastern half of the state, the WA20 across the North Cascades is a good scenic choice. Then continue on WA 20 onto Whidbey Island, and short ferry ride to Port Townsend (check WSDOT for times, fares and reservations). Check WA state parks for this area.

Then loop around the Olympics (I just did that in 3 days with a 2 night stay at Kalaloch Campground. Use the jeep to take side trips into the Olympic mountains and valleys.

Then US12 to the Rainier area. Camping on US12 around Packwood might be a good idea, with Jeep drives into Rainier, and maybe south to St Helens. The road up to Paradise can be driven in the full rig, but would be more fun in a car - especially if you want to park and takes walks.

You can drive any state and federally numbered highway with your rig (at least in Washington).

vermilye

Oswego, NY, USA

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Posted: 05/11/19 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While they probably have cleaned them up, when I was visiting the east side of Mt St Helens (2012), Forest Service Roads 25 & 99 had many frost heaves. Still well worth the trip. It is amazing how much damage from the eruption still showed.

Some Photos.

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