You’re headed to Olympic National Park where almost 1 million acres of rainforest, coastline and alpine terrain await you for an adventure full of fun. But where should you camp? Here’s a guide to help you decide where to spend the night, from car camping paradise and remote backcountry sites to a slice of RV heaven.
Olympic has 15 developed campgrounds with about 900 campsites throughout the park. All campsites provide a fire pit and picnic table, but no RV hookups or showers. Recommended RV length is 21 feet unless otherwise noted.
One thing to know is at Olympic, you will need cash or a check to pay for your site at all national park-managed campground sites. Often, you will pay at unmanned kiosks where change cannot be given for overpayment.
Reservations: All campgrounds (except Kalaloch, Mora, Fairholme, Log Cabin and Sol Duc Hot Springs ) are first-come, first-served, so arrive early to secure a site, especially on weekends. Kalaloch, Mora, Fairholme and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Campground offer advanced reservations via www.recreation.gov. Log Cabin RV & Campground takes reservations by phone at 88-896-3818.
Deer Park Campground
For incredible views in Olympic’s only high-alpine campground, head to Deer Park Campground open June through mid-October, depending on road and weather conditions. Located at 5,400 feet up a steep, winding gravel road, Deer Park offers exceptional views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan De Fuca.
It’s also one of the drier places in the park as it sits on the eastern side of the park. While the Hoh Rain Forest can get up to 140 inches of rain per year, Sequim, just north of Deer Park, only gets 18 inches. The tradeoff is this rustic campground, equipped with 14 sites, has no potable water. Bring your own water jug.
This first-come, first-served campground does have pit toilets. Each of the 14 sites has a picnic table and a fire pit with grates, although you need to bring your own firewood since firewood gathering is not allowed. This campground isn’t suitable for RVs.
There are excellent day hikes that leave from the Deer Park area, including the .5-mile Rain Shadow loop, the 7.4-mile one-way hike from Deer Park to Obstruction Point and the 4.3-mile hike to the junction with Gray Wolf River.
Camp near the clear, blue waters of Lake Crescent for a classic lakeside experience in Olympic. It’s open late April through late September.
This is one of the few campgrounds you can make reservations for during the summer months. The rest of the year is first-come, first-served. Fairholme’s 88 sites come equipped with fire pits with grates and picnic tables. The family friendly campground also has flush toilets, animal-proof food storage, potable water and a dump station for RVs that cost $10 per use. It can accommodate RVs up to 21 feet.
A boat launch is nearby and there are tons of trails for every ability leaving from the striking blue Lake Crescent and around it, ranging from Moments in Time, a short 0.6-mile loop, to Barnes Creek, 7.5 miles one-way.
Graves Creek Campground
This is a primitive, 30-site campground in the rainforest along Graves Creek, near the Quinault River and the trailhead to Enchanted Valley. There is no running water, but there are pit toilets. No RVs or trailers are allowed due to road conditions, but you’ll find first-come, first-served sites for tent campers year round.
Heart O’ the Hills Campground
This 105-site campground near the Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open year-round and puts on ranger programs in summer. Sites are in an evergreen forest and are all first-come, first-served. A few sites are large enough for 35-foot RVs.
Place yourself in the heart of a rainforest at the Hoh Campground. With more than 140 inches of rain a year, Hoh Rain Forest will not disappoint. In fact, noted for its moisture, mosses, bigleaf maples and vine maples, it is one of the best examples of a temperate rainforest in the world.
Surrounded by ancient trees and moss, the Hoh Campground’s 72 sites are available by reservation in the summer months and first-come, first-served the rest of the year. It’s open year-round. There are flush toilets and potable water available. Additional perks are the summer ranger programs that take place at the campground, as well as several great hikes that leave from the area. You can literally walk for miles on the Hoh River Trail or just 1.2 miles on the Spruce Nature Trail.
RVs up to 21 feet are welcome here with a few sites that can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet.
For incredible beachside camping, make a reservation at the beautiful Kalaloch Campground that sits alongside the Pacific Ocean. It’s one of four campgrounds that accepts reservations via recreation.gov in the summer months. Off-season, the 170-site campground is first-come, first-served.
This year-round campground sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Kalaloch Lodge and a small mercantile with gear and groceries. While there is drinking water and flush toilets, showers are nine miles away.
RVers will find sites that can accomodate rigs up to 35 feet in length, though most sites are only suitable for RVs 21 feet or shorter. There’s a dump station located at the campground that is $10 per use.
You can book your site at www.recreation.gov.
Log Cabin Resort RV & Campground
Next to stunning Lake Crescent, the Log Cabin Resort privately manages this campground and RV park. It’s the only campground in the park with full hookups. Open late May through September, you’ll be poised to explore the lake and its surrounding network of trails. The resort even offers boat rentals. There’s also a restaurant, deli and general store on-site.
Restrooms with flush toilets and showers are located at the campground, as well as coin-operated laundry facilities.
All sites have to be booked over the phone by calling 888-896-3818.
Mora is a large, 94-site campground located two miles from Rialto Beach and the Pacific Ocean along the Quillayute River. It’s open year-round and some sites fit 35-foot RVs, though most only fit rigs up to 21 feet in length. While there are no electric hookups, there is an RV dump station for an additional fee. Mora has potable water and flush toilets.
Reserve your individual site 6 months in advance and a group site 12 months in advance via a rolling basis through www.recreation.gov for peak summer season. Reservations are first-come, first-served the rest of the year.
North Fork Campground
The park’s smallest campground, this 9-site, primitive area sits on the North Fork Quinault River. RVs and trailers are not recommended. There are pit toilets, but no running water. Open year-round, this campground is the perfect place to escape and find a sense of solitude.
Located on Ozette Lake, this 15-site, primitive campground is convenient to the Cape Alava and Sand Point Trails. There is potable water available and pit toilets. It’s open year-round, though be aware that some of the sites are prone to flooding in the winter months. It’s not an ideal campground for RVs, as the largest site can only accommodate vehicles 21 feet or shorter.
Queets is a primitive and secluded 20-site campground along the Queets River. RVs and trailers are not recommended on the access road. There’s no water, but there are pit toilets. It’s open year-round.
Sol Duc Hot Springs RV Park & Campground
Both the Sol Duc Campground and the Sol Duc RV Park, located 0.25 miles away, are operated by Sol Duc Resort, not the National Park Service. The resort is nestled under evergreen trees along the Sol Duc River. The popular triple Sol Duc Falls is a short distance down the trail.
The campground has spots for RVs up to 35 feet in length, though most can only fit rigs 21 feet in length or shorter. There are flush toilets and running water at the campground, but there are no hookups.
On the other hand, the RV park is one of only two campgrounds in the park that offers hookups. Campers in RVs up to 36 feet in length can enjoy water and electrical hookups and a dump station is available for $10 per use.
Usually open from late March through October, campers will be in close proximity to the resort’s three hot-spring pools and freshwater pool (fees do apply), the main lodge, gift shop and restaurant.
Both campground and RV park sites can be reserved through recreation.gov.
South Beach Campground
This 55-site, first-come, first-served campground is in an open field a short walk from the Pacific Ocean. Some sites fit 35-foot RVs. It’s open late May through late September. There is no potable water, but flush toilets are available.
Forty-nine sites in the old-growth forest along the Skokomish River make up this campground. It’s open year-round, with flush toilets and water in summer only. The rest of the year there are pit toilets available. It’s near Lake Cushman and trails to Flapjack Lakes and First Divide. Five sites are walk-in only.
Some of the sites at Staircase can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length, but most sites are only suitable to shorter, 21-foot or shorter rigs.
Olympic National Park has countless opportunities to put on a backpack, hike into the wilderness and set up camp far away from civilization. From camping near alpine lakes to setting up your tent above the high tide line on the beach to sleeping in a rainforest, the opportunities are seemingly endless. We’ve chosen three favorites to get you started.
Permits are required for all overnight stays in the wilderness. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance on recreation.gov. There are no walk-up permits available. Some more popular areas operate on a quota system, so it’s advisable to make your reservation as soon as your desired dates become avaliable.
This is the only developed, hike-in campground in the park and does not require a wilderness permit to stay at. A 6.5-mile hike along the washed-out Dosewallips Road is required to reach this primitive campground on the Dosewallips River on the east side of the park. There are pit toilets, but no potable water and camping here is free.
Backpack through a Rainforest to Enchanted Valley
From waterfalls and wildlife to an old-growth rainforest, backpacking to Enchanted Valley in Olympic National Park is an incredible experience at 26 miles round trip.
From the Graves Creek trailhead located in the southwestern part of the park, you will follow the Quinault River through an old-growth temperate rainforest as you make your way 13 miles to Enchanted Valley. There are four backcountry sites along the way: Pony Bridge, O’Neil Creek, Pyrites Creek and Enchanted Valley. There are pit toilets at O’Neil Creek and Enchanted Valley campsites.
A three-mile valley full of waterfalls, this area is also home to active bears, so bear canisters are required as is an understanding of what to do if you encounter a bear along the trail. You can borrow bear canisters at the Wilderness Information Center or South Shore Quinault Ranger Station near Lake Quinault Lodge. Park officials suggest a $3 per canister donation helps to perpetuate the program and provide education materials.
Hike from Shi Shi Beach to Point of Arches
An 8-mile round trip backpacking adventure, your route from Shi Shi Beach to Point of Arches is a beautiful stretch of tidal pools, sea stacks and driftwood. Don’t forget to pack your Frisbee for this seaside adventure.
The first two miles are in the forest on boardwalk and a path that can get very muddy, depending on if it has rained recently. A steep descent to the beach with ropes to hold onto opens up to incredible Pacific Ocean views. Farther down the beach, you will start to see campsites on the beach and in the forest above. Always camp far above the high-tide mark.
To backpack here, you will need two permits – a Makah Recreation Pass that you can pick up in a variety of places in Neah Bay and an Olympic National Park wilderness permit that you must reserve online. Stop by the Wilderness Information Center to get a tide table and know how to read. Its a good idea to speak to a ranger about your plan and plan to be at Point of Arches at low tide.
You also will need animal-proof canisters that you can rent for a $3 suggested donation from the visitor center in Port Angeles. Lastly, you will need to pay for overnight parking that is walking distance from the day parking at the Makah Shi Shi Trailhead.
Can I Camp Anywhere in Olympic National Park?
Campers in Olympic National Park must stay in designated campgrounds, or obtain a wilderness permit to backpack to specific backcountry camping areas in the park. You are not allowed to sleep in your vehicle anywhere in the park except for designated campsites.
Need an Olympic National Park map? Buy the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Olympic National Park map at REI.com. The map includes clearly marked trails and points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches, picnic sites, ranger stations and more printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.