Since the Pacific Northwest seems to be of interest to a number of people lately I thought I would post a review of Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park, Washington. My husband, dog and I just returned from a last minute mid-week trip there. It’s been over 20 years and two dogs since we last stayed at Kalaloch and I wonder why we waited so long. It was magical. For those who are unfamiliar with Olympic N.P., it is in the northwest corner of Washington State. Kalaloch is on the west side of the park, on the Pacific Ocean. The northwest coast of Washington is a lot like Oregon’s coast but much less developed. There are miles of beach unmarked by stores, hotels or boardwalks. Kalaloch Lodge is one of the few on the beach and the area is one of the few where dogs are permitted. The relative remoteness does have its drawbacks for those who need connectivity. There’s no wi-fi at Kalaloch Lodge and cell service is spotty. If you need a TV you are out of luck. I almost took a picture of the two telephone booths. When was the last time you saw a working telephone booth, let alone two?
The Lodge restaurant is currently closed for the season and the nearest town, Forks, is a good 30-40 minutes away. There are both standard hotel rooms and cabins at Kalaloch. Many of the cabins have full or mini-kitchens. The kitchens are stocked with cookware but interestingly, no dishes. Only disposable plates, cups and utensils. (Is this a pandemic thing?) We brought our camping box complete with plates and wine glasses – drinking wine from a plastic cup is too depressing. There is a little convenience store which I assume has things like milk, salt, pepper and butter. I know it has beer.
We walked at South Beach, Beach 1, Beach 2, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach. The north end of Kalaloch Beach and Ruby Beach are probably the most interesting with rock outcroppings, tide pools and the Tree of Life. With the exception of Ruby Beach we essentially had the beaches to ourselves. We also drove out along the Hoh River where we noticed a number of fly fishers – this is for you, James E. The Hoh is mostly catch and release but you can take two hatchery raised steelhead. And we drove out to the upper Queets River Valley and were going to hike but noticed the game trails. With the recent cougar sightings and with dusk approaching we decided not to do so. We did see two different herd of elk.
One final note. You do not need a National Parks Pass for the Kalaloch area. However, if you head to the Hoh Rainforest or other parts of Olympic N.P. you will need one. You may also want a Washington State Parks Pass (called a Discover Pass), since many parts of the federal land abut state land.