US Route 101 from Port Angeles to Rialto Beach via Sol Duc Hot Springs

Story by Steve Deligan

From Port Angeles, follow Hwy 101 West toward Lake Crescent. It’s about 15 miles or so to the lake. Once at the lake, the fun begins. Hwy 101 around Lake Crescent is amazingly beautiful. You will be hard pressed to keep your eyes on the road. Take advantage of the occasional pull-outs to stop and just look at the lake. The road itself is often filled with logging trucks, but is well-maintained and very fun. Constant bends, two lanes, and realistic speeds (though some might find it a tad slow).

Your RoadsNW editor/admin, at the shores of Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent near US 101

Once you pass the lake proceed up the long climb on 101. It’s another two or so miles to the Sol Duc turn off to the left. You will have to pay an entrance fee to get into the park. Then, if you also want to soak in the hot springs at the end of the road, you’ll have to pay another fee. (Bring a suit and a towel… it’s definitely not clothing optional!). However, if you decide to pay the entrance fee, you’ll be treated to a nice eleven mile (one way… 22 mile round trip) side trip on a bendy, two-lane road through true old growth forests. Very scenic.

When you’ve returned back to 101, take a left and continue out to the coast. You’ll turn off 101 just before Forks and proceed out to Rialto Beach. It’s a very rocky beach and well worth the ride. If you’re more inclined to hiking, then follow the same road to 3rd beach instead (you’ll have to look at a map, but it’s the same turn-off from 101, though you head south at a certain intersection instead of heading to Rialto). Rialto is easier to get to, 3rd beach is much more scenic. 2nd beach is the best, but has been closed due to a dispute between the parks service and the Makah tribe.

If you’ve got the time and your butt isn’t too sore, then connect with Hwy 112 up north for one of the best twisty rides anywhere! Ride safe!

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