There are things that you miss when you leave home. For us, the big ones are fresh raw oysters and simply spending time in the mountains among raging rivers, towering trees, and familiar plants that we know by name. Come along with us for a PNW day trip along highway 101 as we take you to some of our favorite places. We are going to indulge at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon after a day exploring Olympic National Forest’s Hamma Hamma Rec Area to see what kind of fire damage we can find after last summer’s fire season.
The Perfect PNW Day Trip
If you are looking for things to do along the Highway 101 scenic drive on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon is a definite must. Even if you aren’t into farm to table fresh picked oysters off the beach, they have plenty of other choices on the menu. However, if you haven’t tried raw oysters on the half shell yet, and we firmly believe everyone should do this at least once in their life, then this would be a great place to do it. Oysters don’t get much fresher than this unless you are picking and shucking them yourself straight off the beach.
But before stopping at the Oyster Saloon for an early dinner or a late lunch, why not a drive up into the Hamma Hamma Rec Area first? It’s a beautiful drive, and if you have the time you can even hit a trail, there are several to choose from. Just be sure to get an early start because the restaurant closes at 5:30 in the winter. You should also know that they are only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this time of year. For their full hours and more info, you may want to visit the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon website before you visit.
Okay, Is it Hamma Hamma, or Hama Hama?!
We’re just going to let you guys argue over that one. It’s confusing though, isn’t it! Hamma Hamma seems to be pronounced ‘a’ like ‘apple’, and Hama Hama seems to be pronounced ‘a’ like ‘August’. We say ‘a’ like ‘apple’, Hamma Hamma… that’s how we grew up saying it and we are sticking to our guns.
How do you say it? If you know why there is a difference in pronunciation and spelling, we would love to know. Kindly let us know in the comments below. Okay, moving on now.
Hamma Hamma River and Rec Area
Highway 101 along the east side of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula is seriously one of the most beautiful drives you will ever treat yourself to. The views of Hood Canal are amazing and there are plenty of great stops along the way. One of these days we will write a post listing them all including the wineries, distilleries, restaurants, trails, beaches, and more (be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!), but for today, we are going to stick to the Hamma Hamma River area.
The Hamma Hamma watershed is one of three watersheds in this particular area with road access up into the Olympic National Forest. The other two being the Duckabush and Dosewallips.
Things You Will Want To Know
Forest Service Road NF-25 will take you along the Hamma Hamma River to the Hamma Hamma Campgrounds, as well as the oh-so-popular Lena Lake Trailhead. This is also how you get to the Jefferson Ridge Trailhead, unless that road is still closed, which at the time of this posting sadly, it is. There are other less crowded trails you can hit too, like the Putvin Trail that you see in our video. The Washington Trails Association website is a great place to go for current trail conditions.
Good to know if you are planning to hike in Washington State, you are going to need a Discover Pass. Here is a link to the Washington Trails Association info page for more info and an explanation of passes and permits for hiking in Washington State.
This drive is beautiful any time of year, even in the rain! It just changes from season to season. The road is decent and definitely navigable by car. In the colder months you will likely hit snow, like we did in the video when we visited in January. Just go until you don’t want to go anymore, or until the road gets too rough and then turn around and head down for your fresh oysters off the beach of the Hama Hama Oyster Farm. The mountains are beautiful, but this gastro event just may end up being the highlight of your trip.
Seriously, if you have never tried fresh raw oysters, you really should. We recommend the Blue Pools. They are something special and you can’t get them just anywhere.
The Hama Hama Oyster Saloon
If you drove in on Highway 101 from the south, you passed this oyster farm on your way to the rec area drive. It used to just be the farm and a seafood store, but a couple years ago they added the outdoor restaurant and it is now one of our favorite destinations in the PNW. The Hama Hama Oyster Saloon alone is worth the drive.
The atmosphere doesn’t get much better than this. Kick back at a picnic table in the open fresh air, sit by the fire with a blanket (which they provide) and sip on some local craft brew, or in my case mulled wine, while you slurp up a few oysters, enjoy the steamed clams, and share a bowl of smoked salmon chowder.
Even in January, this is a great outdoor place to hang. If you are a PNW native, you will already know that the key to staying warm is layers, so just layer up!
We recently learned that they even have brochures available for a self guided tour of the farm. Haven’t done it yet, but you can be sure that we will.
One Last Thing, the Hamma Hamma Bridges
We can’t close this article without mentioning the historic Hamma Hamma twin bridges. Originally built in 1924, these concrete arched bridges are an iconic sight along the Highway 101 scenic drive. Just pray that you don’t have oncoming traffic when it comes your turn to drive through them, it is a tight fit.
Don’t forget to stop and take a pic for Instagram… be sure to share and tag us in it! @AtHomeOnTheGo
Thanks for reading! Be sure to let us know you stopped by! We would love to hear from you in the comments section. Let us know what you love about the Hamma Hamma area. Have you been? Are you going? Did you try the oysters? Let us know if you have any questions, or if there other PNW places you would like to know about, we are always open to suggestion.
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If you want to follow along on our journey, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel or sign-up for our once-a-month ‘On The Go’ Mail Drop. Thanks for stopping by! And until next time… life is too short to stay in one place. Happy wanderings!
Jim + Tania
AT HOME ON THE GO