September 1, 2016
By Carolyn Price
Photo at right: Willie Nelson of All Points Charters and Tours. Photo courtesy of Willie Nelson
Catch a ride on Willie Nelson’s All Points Charters and Tours bus that leaves from the waterfront in downtown Port Angeles and you’ll learn more about the Olympic Peninsula than you ever thought possible. Just don’t expect to listen to country music!
This is the legendary Port Angeles Willie Nelson, not the legendary country singer.
Nelson, 70, has been leading tours on the Peninsula since 2005. A trained wildlife biologist, his passion for the Peninsula manifested as a child in the early 1950s when his family regularly vacationed in the area.
The local historian says his most popular tours are the half-, or full-day excursions to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics and out to Lake Crescent, the state’s second deepest lake (624 feet). This tour features a one-mile dirt-trail hike through old-growth forest to the popular 90-foot Marymere Falls.
Popular custom excursions include wine and cider tours and trips out to the Hoh Rain Forest with a picnic lunch in Forks. Another tour heads 71 miles east along Highway 112 with scenic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Makah Cultural and Research Center.
“Drop-dead gorgeous” is how Nelson describes this tour’s featured one-mile hike on the Cape Flattery Trail—the northwestern most point of the U.S.—overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Expect to see a variety of birds and wildlife on those treks to the Washington Coast, including Tufted Puffins and Brown Pelicans and various species of whales which oftentimes feed close to the shoreline.
“The best part of my job is helping people see and enjoy things they couldn’t do on their own,” says Nelson, “and introducing them to the wilderness up close to nature.”