Port Angeles is the largest city on the northern Olympic Peninsula and the gateway to many of its pleasures. Its busy harbor, protected by the strong sandy arm of Ediz Hook, is visited daily by logging ships, fishing boats, and the Victoria ferry MV Coho.
The view from the Port Angeles city pier is breathtaking: Rocky Hurricane Ridge, made more ominous by a wispy cloud cover, seems to rise straight out of the turbulent waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Because of its location as an entry point to both Vancouver Island (via the ferry) and to nearby Olympic National Park, Port Angeles bustles during the summer.
Getting to Port Angeles
Port Angeles is a major transit point for travelers heading to or from Victoria, B.C., just 18 miles away across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The MV Coho (360/457-4491, www.cohoferry.com, $47.50 one-way for car and driver, $12.50 for passengers, $6.25 for kids 5–11, free under age 5, and $17.75 for bicycle and rider) sails on a 90-minute run between Port Angeles and Victoria four times daily in summer, and twice daily the rest of the year. For specific departure times, contact the Black Ball ferry terminal at the foot of Laurel Street in Port Angeles.
The Victoria Express (360/452-8088 or 800/633-1589, www.victoriaexpress.com, $12.50 one-way, $5 bicycles and kayaks), a passenger-only ferry, makes the same run in an hour, two or three times a day from late May to early October. The ferry departs the Landing Mall terminal in Port Angeles. Advance reservations are advised July–Labor Day.
Horizon Airlines (800/547-9308) provides daily commuter service to Victoria, B.C., and to Sea-Tac Airport from Fairchild International Airport on the city’s west side. Harbor Air (800/359-3220) also flies to Sea-Tac. Rite Bros. Aviation (360/452-6226) offers flightseeing and charter flights over the Olympics from Port Angeles.
Public bus service now extends throughout the Olympic Peninsula, making it possible to reach all the towns for a minimal fare on any of the four different public transit systems.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition