Unplug and Find Peace in Port Ludlow’s Natural Paradise
Port Ludlow is a remote, unincorporated community on the Olympic Peninsula surrounded by wilderness lakes, native heritage sites and endless waterfront access.
This town is the ideal getaway for those looking to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.
(Check for road alerts before you go, and call or go online to confirm the availability of specific attractions and services such as fuel, lodging, restaurants, seasonal events and gatherings.)
Greenery and Scenery
With 26 miles of hiking and biking trails, Port Ludlow is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Located at the west end of the Hood Canal Bridge, the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail is one of the area’s natural treasures. The half-mile loop is accessible for most hikers, including those with small children. The trail is marked by interpretive signs and leads to the picturesque Ludlow Falls (pictured above).
For a longer walk, try the 5-mile Around-The-Bay Trail. The bay enveloping Port Ludlow is one small bend in a landscape riddled with twists and turns. Family farms, miniature marinas and aquatic cul-de-sacs fronted by opulent homes dot the rural scenery in almost every direction.
Soak in the charms of blink-and-you’ve-missed-them hamlets along country roads on the Quimper Peninsula between Port Ludlow and Port Townsend. Or follow U.S. Route 101 south along Hood Canal to the eastern flank of the Olympic Mountains. At Murhut Falls Trail (1.6 miles, roundtrip), just west of Brinnon, clouds of mist and verdant foliage form the backdrop to a 130-foot-tall waterfall that roars past uprooted tree trunks from upstream now stuck in its path.
The Resort at Port Ludlow has one of the nation’s most scenic golf courses. Designed for golfers of all levels, the 18-hole course has epic views of the Hood Canal, Port Ludlow Bay and the Olympic and Cascade mountains. Pro tip: The Olympic Rain Shadow provides drier winter conditions than you’ll find in most other parts of Western Washington, which makes it possible to golf year round among lush woodlands, ponds, streams and ancient logging stumps. Winter tee times are relatively easy to come by.
Water and History
If you’re yearning to get out on Puget Sound, Port Ludlow Marina (pictured above) has 300 slips and offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Spend the morning or afternoon cruising around Port Ludlow Bay or paddling out to the Twin Islands.
You’re practically guaranteed to spot harbor seals, eagles and shorebirds. If you’re lucky, you might see crimson jellyfish as large as dinner plates or a family of river otters. Take note of the Tsimshian Totem Pole on Burner Point, a refurbished representation of the town’s transition from a raw, natural state to a residential community.
Those looking to catch some fish should head west to Ludlow Lake, where there’s an abundance of rainbow trout, largemouth bass and brown bullhead. Teal Lake is another convenient option if you’re looking for rainbow or cutthroat trout.
Be sure to make a stop at Shine Tidelands State Park (pictured above), a nearly 250-acre day-use park at the north end of the Hood Canal Bridge. The park’s shoreline is great for fishing and clamming while the nearby wetlands are ideal for bird watching. Shellfish harvesters should plan their visits during low tide when oysters and clams abound.
Consider visiting nearby state and county parks, particularly in Port Gamble, Hansville and Kingston. The Point No Point County Park in Hansville is home to a scenic, sandy beach with a historic lighthouse, while the heavily wooded Kitsap Memorial State Park offers cabins and a beachfront with picturesque sunset views.
Food and Drink
The Fireside Restaurant at the Resort at Port Ludlow serves elegant Northwest cuisine (pictured above is a scallops dish) paired with a wine program that has received numerous accolades, including recognition at the Washington State Wine Awards. The classic Chimacum Cafe is one of the great authentic Northwest diners. For more than 60 years, old-timers and tourists have turned up for hearty country meals and thick slabs of homemade fruit pies. The Ajax Café in Port Hadlock’s historic 1800s Galster House offers local flavors with ingredients from nearby farms and fishermen. For honey brown ales and oysters on the half shell, stop at the cozy 101 Brewery at Twana Roadhouse in Quilcene (remember to plan a safe ride home).
–Written by Jeff Layton and Maggy Lehmicke