Written by someone who was born and raised in Forks, WA.
Welcome fellow travelers, to the beautiful and awe inspiring Olympic Peninsula; a place to get lost in, rained on and to have some of your core-memories in ( for my fellow Disney adults 😛 ).
Forks, Washington in summary, is a place off the beaten path… once a Kingpin of the world, via the logging community – our tiny town welcomes you in a warm embrace!
This blog will be a guided itinerary for those looking to explore with their family, we’ll be writing a separate travel blog for those soul-seekers who are traveling alone in a few weeks; so look out for it on our page!
But for now new friends, lets take a trip to the grand forests of the Olympic Peninsula.
Lets take a little Hike
Good Morning fellow traveler!
Today is a beautiful day for a hike, it’s probably raining out – which is the best weather for hiking!
If you’re staying in my favorite place in Forks, WA you’re probably waking up
At 7am to go down and have breakfast made by the owners or workers of Miller Tree Inn. This inn is a stunning farmhouse that’s been converted into a working Bed & Breakfast, with some of the best breakfast in town- you’ll be sure to be full while going onto your next spot!
At 8am you’ll have about a 50 minute drive to the Hoh Rainforest. This gives you plenty of time to stop at Northwest Coffee Bros to grab some coffee and hot chocolates for the little ones in the back!
At around 8:35ish you’ll hit the upper Hoh river, there’s a few lookouts to the river at this point – a great place to get out and stretch your legs and to take photos of the mountains and the stunning expanse of the Hoh river. Keep your eye on the river and look for white butts… Elk butts! The elk and white tailed deer typically wander about near the river for water.
At 8:40 you’ll hit Peak 6, a gift shop hot spot for tourists and locals! This place has some of the best Forks/ national parks/ and hiking merch around. They also have snacks to pack in for your hike in the Hoh Rainforest.
You should be arriving at the Hoh Rainforest at around 9am. Be sure to hit up the visitors center to find out any info on trail closures, hiking information or any animal sightings that you need to know about. They always have the most updated information in person, so make sure to check in before trekking out.
For families and novice hikers we always suggest taking the Spruce Nature trail ( 1.2 miles / 1.9 km) or The Hall of Mosses – best known for being the quietest spot in the world (.8 miles/ 1.2 km). For advanced hiking families, the Hoh River Trail ( 17.3 miles / 27.8 km) is the best trail for you. For now we’ll stick with the middle trail which is the Spruce Nature trail.
This trail should take about 45 minutes or less with a family, make sure to pack out anything you brought in. Watch your kids for dropping garbage and for running off. Please remember that this is an active eco-system, “stay on the trail and you’ll live to tell the tale”
11am: Headed back to Forks, near where you stopped to take photos before your hike – you’ll be passing a few signs about a monument. Take a right and turn into the Nikolai memorial. This beautiful wooden structure is dedicated to a shipwreck that happened in 1808. Built by Forks hands and blessed by the Quileute tribe, this is a sacred monument researched by Rod Fleck, Chris Cook and Kenneth N Owens.
Around Noon: You should be back in Forks by now, head down to ” Take and Bake” – my favorite restaurant in all of Forks! This pizza place is tiny but mighty, in fact they just won restaurant of the year ( for 2020). They don’t have indoor seating at this time, but try their Forks Favorite or Mombo Combo, tell them Emma-Grayce sent you and give Sara – the owner- a hello for me! She’s typically hand crafting pizzas everyday.
Now that you’ve gone on a iconic hike, have eaten delicious pizza and have seen a breath taking monument we can make our way to my favorite place… the visitors center!
If by now you haven’t hit up the Visitors Center, head there for restaurant and shopping information, Twilight tours and lots more.
2pm: To wind down the day, head to The Attic, a second hand thrift store that raises profits for Sarges Place -a non-profit Homeless veterans shelter, serving the homeless veterans of the Olympic Peninsula since 2011.
We run this awesome shop and are a little biased when we say that it’s our favorite shop in town! Our store is currently by appointment only, so just walk up to the door, ring the bell and see what appointments we have open for the day.
Once you’re done at The Attic, head just a little further down the same street and hit up The Farmstand, The Attic’s sister store that sells all organic produce from local farms! Plus lots of merch and goodies.
Today’s afternoon should be filled with… shopping! Hit up Native to Twilight and Thriftway for any merch ( or new hiking gear for tomorrows adventures).
Head over to Blakeslees, a bar and grill with some of the best burgers. Kids can come in for seating until 6pm. So order ahead and take it back to your room.
Lets settle into a chill evening to rest up for tomorrows adventure.
Good morning fellow travelers!
9am: Let’s take this party to the beach! If it’s summer time, grab your cold suits and your boards for some surfing. If you’re like me and not athletically inclined… then grab some washable shoes and a water proof jacket.
9:15 am: Grab some on the go food from Mocha Motion or grab some from Thriftway’s coffee shop, you really can’t go wrong with any Washington based coffee shop!
9:25 am: Head to Klaloch Beach and Campground,( 45 min drive) here you can park your car for free and head down to the beach with family friendly trails ( tiny trail down to the beach!). Watch out for tsunami warnings or high tides, Red waves happen on our shores and can easily sweep you out! Never turn your back on the ocean.
Head down the beach to reach The Tree of Life, one of the most famous trees in the US due to it’s exposed root system, this tree feeds off of the seas nutrients and is SO beautiful in person!!
Head back up the trail to Klaloch Lodge, a great spot to grab some quick snacks and drinks.
11am: Heading back to Forks, stop and watch the beach on the main roads lookouts. A perfect spot to set up a tri-pod and take some Holiday card photos.
Noon: Head North bound on 101 until you hit Tillicum park, here you’ll see two amazing little places to eat. A absolutely amazing, LA quality taco truck and D & K’s BBQ. Both fantastic places to eat, with reasonable prices and perfect to bring back to your room if you and the little ones are in need of a clothing change after playing at the beach!
1pm: If you’re ready to jumpstart your adventure, Head out to Ruby Beach. When you’re inputting this into your GPS – pick the 23 minute route, this will take you immediately past the Quillayute airport. This is an active airport but pull into the main drive and stop at the gate. Here you’ll see the crown jewel for the historians of the Olympic Peninsula. Standing before you is a WW2 Zeppelin/ blimp hanger. This hanger is one of the coolest things out here on the west end, with one half fully restored ( the other is waiting on federal funds for restoration) this 1940’s era hanger is in use in October by the Rain of Terror Haunted house, a two story event that can take up to 20 minutes to walk through – that we deem ( Sarge’s Blog) the scariest haunted house on the west end!
1:30pm: Park in one of the two parking lots open, Rialto is a rocky beach with large logs you have to climb over to get to the beach. So wear your washable tennis shoes!
3pm: Once you’re back in Forks use this as a rest time for the kiddos.
5pm: Sunset varies per the time of the year, so check your weather app and head to high ground to watch the sunset. We always suggest taking the trail behind the visitors center ( ask the visitors center on how to get there! It’s a loop trail, so easy uphill hiking.) up to the ONRC, or you can drive there too! For the best sunset views from the Forks lookout, Park or hike to the Geocache site where you’ll find a beautiful public lookout of Forks.
Catch some late night ice cream from Take N’ Bake while you’re headed to the lookout and don’t forget some hot chocolate.
Good Morning fellow Forks spartans!
Yes, you are now deemed an honorary Forks Spartan! For today’s agenda, you’ll be heading towards Port Angeles.
8am: Drop by the City Hall to grab $5 City of Forks emblem enamel pins and grab a couple of sweet photos with the Police door ( no entering!) and Charlie Swan’s car outside.
8:15am: Hit up your favorite coffee place since you’ve tried everyone in town by today ( Which is a good thing!! Washington is known for our coffee stands and amazing baristas.)
9:00am: Head out of town towards Port Angeles, on Lake Crescent; pull over at the rest stop which is ran by the National Park Service. Here you’ll find a 1.8 mile ( total loop length) hike to Marymere falls, featuring a 90ft tall waterfall, pumping water from the Olympic Mountain range into the ice waters of Lake Crescent- The second deepest lake in all of Washington State. This hike is approximately a 1.5hr hike with kids. But it’s SO worth it and is one of my favorite spots. Once you get back to your car, Head over to Lake Crescent Lodge, a beautiful vintage Farmhouse that the National Park Service has taken over and remodeled into a stunning visitors center and Lodge!
11am: Head to East Beach Rd. for any swimming you’d like to do in Lake Crescent! This beautiful part of the lake has a roped off, no boat traffic section where you and the kids can spend some time in the crystal clear waters of Lake Crescent. If you’re not a swimmer, this is a fantastic spot that not many people know about to get some amazing photos of Lake Crescent behind you.
1pm: Head Back towards your base camp in Forks, to dry off or to get warm!
3pm: Let’s grab some lunch at Blakeslees, they have a whole different menu at lunchtime and it is SO good! Plus you can pick it up and head out for a picnic at Tillicum Park. This park has two amazing pieces of Forks history.
4pm: Alright. I’m going to have to throw some Twilight at y’all for a minute. One of the best things to do in Forks is the Twilight museum. This museum will reopen soon once we switch into a phase when they can be open again, but it houses a MASSIVE collection of screen worn props, clothing and the haunted CHUCKESME doll! This museum is a quick tour and is great for everyone, by being able to see any sort of screen used item it’s amazing to see the details that they put into it; even if you aren’t a twilight fan. If you are a Twilight fan – we’ll be doing a Twilight Itinerary blog soon! Keep your eyes open for it 🙂
5pm: Grab your favorite food from Forks and head to the beach for the best sunset view, even if it’s raining there is just nothing like it. A perfect end for a fantastic trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
Written by: Emma-Grayce Fleck
by Cheri Tinker
Welcome to Forks, WA the home of the PNW. Learn some insider tips on what to do and where to go from a born and raised local.
Welcome to Forks Washington and the forever mystery of the PNW!
We are so excited to have you visit us and for you to be reading about our tiny little town.
Forks, Washington is what we call the gem of the forest, a town of now 5,000 people that started out with 3,000 when the Twilight phenomenon hit our town in the early 00’s. Best known for our amazing mountains, rain and of course being the quietest space in the world with our Hoh Rainforest.
Let’s dive in and talk about what to do, and where to go when you visit the upper left PNW.
These are tips on not-so hidden spots open to the public to go and adventure in!
There’s some places in Forks, WA that tourists don’t ever seem to know about, but are the coolest spots to go to. Things like hidden trails and small shops to duck into when it’s pouring down rain.
How to get there: Take the trail right behind the visitors center on the right (near the large parking lot) and hike up towards the ONRC building ( large building on the top of the hill ran by the University of Washington). You'll find yourself near the road and on the right hand side of you, there will be a trail head opening that you have to walk across the road to get to ( look both ways! This is a common cruising route for teenagers so make sure to stop and listen before crossing the street) You'll follow this trail to find a geocache near you, and if you're visiting in the winter a beautiful lookout! Continue following the trail down and you'll eventually get yourself down towards the visitors center.
Where to see them: Once you're done with your hike to the ONRC and the lookout, right across from where you have parked is one of the spots you can see the elk pretty regularly. Right at the back of the local airport the elk typically hangout there before 9am - so make sure to check on them then! But be warned. This airport has security, any unlawful access will give you a nice trip to the Forks jail. Say hi to my dad for me! Always try to be quite when looking at the elk, no matter how far away you are because they startle extremely easily and can run into on going traffic.
- Another great spot is actually past City Hall! Which we'll talk about a little later, near the Miller Tree Inn there are large farming fields where one of the many elk herds typically lay. Make sure to pull over and not stop in the road because local EMT's live down this way and need the road to be accessible at all times.
How to get there:
Drive northbound on 101 and head towards the Forks sign, instead of turning left to the pull in for the sign, take a right and find yourself in a parking lot. Walk to the left and go down the ramp! Remember Forks has a strict no footprint ecotourism habitat - meaning if you walk in with it you have to walk out with it. If you find anything I always suggest taking it with you and throwing it away to keep our ecosystems the best they can be!
Never fear fellow human! We have some pretty amazing shops and things to do other than hiking in our town.
Forks, Wa is on the edge of 3 different tribal reservations, the Quileute Tribe, the Makah Tribe, and the Hoh Tribe. With so many beautiful languages merging into our towns tapestry, we get some pretty hard to pronounce words for street names or cities. So lets learn to pronounce them!
We sure hope that you visit us and see the quietest place in the world when it’s safe to do so. Make sure to stop by The Attic and Farmstand, and as always feel free to shoot us any questions on our Instagram, @theatticinforks.
We hope you enjoyed this short article about the beautiful Forks, WA, we’ll be posting a travel guide pretty regularly on our blog so look out for them!
How do we process pain?
Trauma comes in many flavors. I’m reminded this morning that one man’s demons is another man’s motivator. It’s fascinating to me….the psychology of how we process pain. How we justify in our minds that we are not worthy of love, how we justify how we are not worthy of healing….because we have done something that we think is wrong. Or because we have done something that we think goes against our moral core. Or that we have faced death and won…and didn’t feel that we should have won.
But the worst thing that I see with PTSD, and this is not specific to combat Vets…it’s just trauma in general….is the lack of self-worth. The feeling within the mind that one does not deserve to get better. The feeling that one is unique and that no one can understand or relate to our internal pain.
And this simply isn’t true. The person struggling with PTSD can’t see this themselves, they are in survival mode. They are just trying to function each day. They are trying to not think about how their father beat them when they were a child and made them feel worthless…they are trying to not think about when they rolled their car when they were drunk one night and their friend died…they are trying to not think about the night that they nearly died while giving birth to their child and returned home to lack of support from family…they are trying to not think about the man that they killed in war….whatever their personal internal trauma might be the motivation of that pain, of that self-loathing…that lack of self-care and lack of self-love is eating away at their very soul.
These Vets are not alone…I’ve had trauma and I’m a civilian. You have had trauma. You know someone that has had severe trauma. You likely know someone that struggles with sleep at night. You likely know someone that overeats, or has panic attacks, or self-medicates with drugs or alcohol, or who has major physical problems because their internal struggle surfaces in the form of physical manifestations. Trauma changes your life. It changes how you view day to day living. It changes how you love, work, and breathe. But there is hope. Medications can help to take the edge off so that you can move forward with talking about the pain you are feeling within. Talking….in the form of therapy…is incredibly therapeutic. By talking about the specific traumas, it helps to make them less impactful within the brain. It takes away their power. It takes away their hold on your heart and mind.
Exercise is good for a traumatized brain…and for some that is doing leg lifts and arm lifts…for others it is jogging or the gym. Meditation and concentrated breathing is good for stress reduction and centering of one’s mind and body. Yoga is a beautiful thing for the mind/body. Friends and animals are helpful to connect us to those who care about us unconditionally.
But if you are feeling suicidal….if you are feeling like there is no where to turn. If you feel that the things happening in your head are too much. Reach out to us, reach out to a friend, reach out to a national hotline, or reach out to each other. We cannot face our own demons alone….we are stuck in that loop of not being able to see things clearly….only someone from the outside can aid us to come back to center…to heal and to move forward.
For civilians: 1800-273-8255
For Vets: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255
We are not islands….we are not so strong that we do not break. We are human beings, delicate souls struggling to understand our lives one day at a time. But we are NOT alone. And at Sarge’s Place, we give a darn about each and every person. And DO remember….you are incredibly brave and strong for reaching out. That takes more courage than keeping it within. That shows you are a stronger human being to say, something is not quite going right within me and I need help. Listen to that small voice asking for help…and reach out if you are in crisis