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Forks to Hoquiam

  • Distance: 125 miles
  • Routes: SR 101, SR 109
  • Estimated Driving time: 2.5 hours

The character of the beaches changes dramatically from south to north along the coast. Side trips provide access to the temperate rain forest of the Hoh Valley. The tour travels both inland along the bottom edge of the Olympic Mountains and in other sections skirting directly along the rugged north Pacific Ocean coastline with views out over the ocean. The rugged coastline along this tour differs dramatically from the state’s central and southern coastline.

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A thriving little logging town near the forks of three rivers, the Calawah, the Bogachiel, and the Soleduck. In marked contrast to the surrounding wilderness and the generally ramshackle air of many small logging settlements, the town is well planned and presents a neat appearance. Modern stores border the main street, where mackinaw-shirted loggers once scraped their calked boots along the concrete walks. In the 1940s, the town had a...

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Points of Interest
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Copeland House

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Smith-Mansfield House

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Forks Prairie

A 110-acre tract of woodland with a picnicking and camping area along the river. A trail here follows the stream to its headwaters. The park is near the Bogachiel, a community on the north bank of the Bogachiel River. A post office was established in May of 1892 and closed in February of 1898. The post office was reestablished in 1901 and discontinued in 1912.

Learn more about Bogachiel State Park

Mile: 186

Sidetrip: Hoh Valley

Mile: 179

This 36 mile side trip passes through a vast area that drains the western slopes of Mount Olympus. Roughly paralleling the winding course of the Hoh River, the side road enters sections of the Olympic National Forest.

Take the Hoh Valley side trip

A store, service station, and cabin camp are perched on cliffs above the rumbling surf. Here and there a break in the trees affords a glimpse of white foam flying against the rocky embankment. A trail leads down the bluff 300 yards to the beach. Here huge rocks stand like stone pillars against the sea. Drifting logs and broken trees are ground to bits in the surge of breakers. Offshore,...

Learn more about Ruby Beach

Mile: 165

The tour skirts the shoreline of the Pacific. A rhythmical sweep of water rolls up the broad beach, breaking into foaming crests and spuming into small, rocky inlets. A turnout affords a wide view of the Pacific. To the north a succession of bold promontories reaches into the sea. Westward is Destruction Island, about four and a half miles offshore, grim and forbidding as a fortress. In 1775, the Spanish...

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Mile: 163

The name is the Quinault Indian term for "...good place to land." It is considered the only safe landing place for canoes between the Hoh and Queets rivers. There was a post office there between 1928 and 1956. The village is noted for the trout, starfish, mussels, sea anemones, and other salt-water specimens found along the shore. Ducks, hell-divers, and loons dive in pursuit of their prey; gulls plunge in...

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Points of Interest
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Brown’s Point

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Kalaloch Creek

Mile: 157

It was named for the once-powerful Quiatso Indian tribe which inhabited the area when the first white explorers came to this coast. The name is from a Indian legend in which The Great Spirit waded across a river and rubbed his legs to restore circulation. He then threw the rolls of dirt which came from his legs, and they landed in the river. Out came a man and a woman...

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Mile: 152

When a post office was established in 1910 the settlement had been called Jonesville for Neil A. Jones, an early settler who established the first store in the area. Postal authorities rejected that name because of a town by the same name in Klickitat County. The applicants switched to the storekeeper's first name, which was accepted.

Learn more about Neilton

Mile: 123

At the mouth of the Moclips River, it was once a center of cedar shingle and shake manufacturing. The name is a variation of the Quinault No-mo-Klopish, meaning "people of the turbulent water." Once a busy little settlement, supported largely by its shingle mill, opened by 1905. While the M.R. Shingle Mill no longer exists, evidence of its products can be seen in the shingle-clad housing that remains along Railroad...

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Mile: 31

The descriptive name was given when the first hotel was built in the 1890s. A plat was filed May 26, 1904. The railroad station was named Pacific from 1905 until 1925 when it was changed to Pacific Beach. During WWII, the Navy opened an anti-aircraft gunnery school here, but presently uses the property on the bluff overlooking the ocean as a recreation center for military personnel. The architectural forms and...

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Once the center of cranberry culture on the Pacific Ocean it is now a resort community and the center of the local trading area. Features with the name Copalis refer to an Indian term meaning, "...opposite the rock..." having to do with a large rock off the shore of the Pacific Ocean north of the mouth of the Copalis River. A local band of Native Americans were called Copalis. Toward...

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Mile: 21

A scattered community along the Pacific Ocean beach, in the 1890s, this descriptive name was given by local residents who hoped for a city to be built there. Motor lodges and motels seemingly from a bygone era provide vacationers access to wide swaths of beach where vehicles are still allowed. In the 1940s, crab catching was a popular sport here. Shallow lagoons were left in the sand by the retreating...

Learn more about Ocean City

Mile: 18

Hoquiam is situated on deep water at the mouth of the Hoquiam River, 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean, facing Grays Harbor which is often blanketed by the fog or rainfall characteristic of the region. Pioneer settlement of the Grays Harbor region, it is the elder of the two cities. In economy, industrial development, and general character it is much like its sister city. West of the river the streets...

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