you’re looking for a great place to get away from the
ordinary try the West End. "Forks Washington the REST of the
Abundant rain forests, miles of wild rivers and coastal beaches are just part of the West End, a region rich with scenery.
From the coasts and the rain forests to Native American history and pioneer legend, it’s one-stop shopping for adventure.
The lush forests in the Quinault, Queets, Hoh and Bogachiel valleys are some of the most spectacular examples of primeval temperate rain forest in the Lower 48 states.
The drive to get there is beautiful in its own right, but the going can be a bit slower than most Peninsula trips.
The main route, U.S. Highway 101, twists and turns around Lake Crescent, and you may compete with recreational vehicles and log trucks, but the appreciation for natural beauty pristine even outside of Olympic National Park boundaries, makes it worthwhile.
Forks Washington acts as the gateway to the Hoh Rain Forest, a temperate rain forest that is part of Olympic National Park. Near the south end of town, you’ll find the Forks Timber Museum and the Forks Loggers Memorial with its 12-foot tall carved logger.
The free museum has exhibits depicting the history of logging in the area. Among the displays are an old-time steam donkey, threshing machine and a bunkhouse. This self-guided tour allows those venturing for a look back in history to stop at one of nine signposts in downtown Forks that feature pictures and stories about historic buildings or happenings. Stop by the Forks Chamber of Commerce at 1411 5. Forks Ave., or phone 360-374-2531 for more information.
Another glory of the West End is the accessibility of its
beaches. One of the most reachable is
Rialto Beach, about 15
miles west of Forks near LaPush.
Located on the north side of the Quillayute River, visitors can drive to the beach and watch the surf. A 1.5-mile hike (3-miles round trip) with take you to “Hole-in-the-Wall,” a unique tunnel carved in the cliff by ocean waves. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Quileute reservation at LaPush while exploring First Beach. During the summer, surfing is a popular activity at the beaches of LaPush.
Also close to LaPush are Second and Third beaches near LaPush; both involve hikes but are worth the effort.
Ruby Beach, located about 35 miles south of Forks, is one of the most scenic beaches in the state that is accessible to the public.
It offers rugged sea stacks, flat sand and a small stream that flows through it just at the base of the short trail from the parking lot.
The beaches at Kalaloch are easy walks from car to shore. Kalaloch beaches are numbered 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
East of U.S. 101, this rain forest — which is the result of the West End getting 100-plus inches of rain each year — is one of the best examples of a temperate rain forest in the world.
The forest lies on the west side of Olympic National Park, less than an hour from Forks. It is accessed by the Upper Hoh Road, off Highway 101. Even if you stay in your car, the green giants of the Hoh Rain Forest are visible. This glacier-carved lake is surrounded by the old-growth trees of the Quinault Rain Forest. Sometimes called the “Valley of the Rain Forest Giants,” this area is home to some of the state’s largest trees.