You don’t have to travel far from Sea-Tac Airport to begin experiencing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. A short drive down Interstate 5 takes you to the starting point of one of America’s great roads – US 101.
US 101 quickly changes from freeway, to 4-lane highway, to 2-lane byway. For much of its journey north, it travels along the Hood Canal, which connects with Puget Sound. Watch for roadside pull-outs that allow direct access to the water.
This location is one of the first pull-outs you’ll pass, once you reach Hood Canal. If you’re lucky, the sky will be as blue as the water. Of course, this is the Pacific Northwest….
[tmt_info =””]State Parks are abundant throughout Washington, and you’ll pass more than a half dozen as you head up US 101 along the Hood Canal. Unfortunately, they aren’t free. You’ll have to shell out $5 for parking every time you stop, or risk being ticketed.[/tmt_info]
The Road to Hamma Hamma Campground
On a whim, I turned off US 101 headed towards the Hamma Hamma campground. This 2-lane road provided an occasional good view of the mountains, but after a few miles, it didn’t lead to anything interesting, so I turned back.
The Hamma Hamma Campground is right next to the Hamma Hamma River. Where did those blue skies go?
[tmt_info =””]The Olympic National Forest surrounds most of Olympic National Park. If you plan to hike or camp in the forest, you’ll need to purchase a pass (yes, even if you plan only a quick hike).[/tmt_info]
Along Hood Canal, WA
Back along the Hood Canal, the skies were clearer. This scenic turnoff near Brinnon, Washington provided free parking and a great view of the water.
[tmt_info =””]Most Odd-numbered US highways run north-south, but US 101 is a bit different, especially on the Olympic Peninsula. Without ever making a U-turn, you can travel on 101 North, 101 West, and 101 South, as the highway encircles the peninsula.[/tmt_info]
Note: This trip was first published in 2004.