Fall Adventures on the Olympic Peninsula

Summer is coming to a close, but fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit the Olympic Peninsula. The changing of the seasons brings some of the most beautiful and natural elements of the region alive. Here are a few of our favorite fall adventures!

Photo Credit: WaterfallsNorthwest.com

Photo Credit: WaterfallsNorthwest.com


Fall is the season for waterfalls. We are so lucky to have so many hidden gems throughout the Olympic Peninsula. The roaring of the falls is one of my favorite sounds of fall and there are so many different ones to explore, both close to town or to make a day-trip of it. 

Some of our favorites are:

  • Mineral Falls, Hoh Rainforest (3 hour drive)

  • Ludlow Falls, Port Ludlow (30 minute drive)

  • Marymere Falls, Lake Crescent (1.5 hour drive)

  • Rocky Brook Falls, Brinnon (55 minute drive)

  • Gatton Creek Falls, Lake Quinault (3.5 hour drive)


We can thank the Roosevelt Elk, in part, for the formation of Olympic National Park. Their namesake, Teddy Roosevelt, saw the mass hunting of these majestic creatures and set aside land to protect the species. You can typically spot them at dusk or dawn in in lower valleys or waterfalls. September is their mating season and you can hear them bugling as the males compete for females.

Fall is a great time to spot a variety of whales along the Olympic Peninsula coastline. These incredible creatures migrate during October and November. Beaches like Kalaloch, Rialto, and Shi Shi are fantastic spots to spot Orcas, Humpbacks, Minkes, and Gray whales.

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Leaf Peeping

This region is one of the best places to watch the leaves change colors. The Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive from Seattle to Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent, has been recognized as one of the most scenic autumn drives in the county. The peninsula is home to various pines, Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, Western red cedar, Sitka spruce, Red alders, and many more. 

Take a drive from Port Townsend to Farms Reach Cafe in Chimacum to see the changing colors or if you’re looking to venture a little further head through Beaver Valley to Port Gamble and walk around the historic town with beautiful views of the Puget Sound, cute shops, and a delicious deli - Butcher & Baker.

Salmon Spawning

Later this month to early October is salmon spawning season. Coho Salmon come from the Pacific Ocean via Quillayute River and then into Sol Duc River to head to their spawning ground. It is a 50+ mile journey for the salmon to make it to their spawning ground. Once they hatch a young coho will spend a year in their birth stream before heading to the ocean and then two years growing to the right size to return to the rivers to spawn.The Sol Duc River has a viewing platform providing fantastic views of the leaping salmon.

Photo Credit: NationalParks.org

Photo Credit: NationalParks.org

Written by: Kaitlin Chester