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12 Top-Rated Campgrounds in Olympic National Park

Written by Brad Lane
Jan 16, 2019

Encompassing a wide variety of intricate ecosystems, Olympic National Park presents an adventurous environment found nowhere else in the country. Rain forest hikes, glaciated views, a rugged coastline and a vast network of hiking trails make this an idea place to camp. The park covers nearly a million acres of the Olympic Peninsula, and there's not enough sunlight in the day to cover even a small fraction of the places to visit here. In every region, a wide variety of campgrounds aid in multi-day excursions.

Where you want to pitch a tent or park an RV in Olympic National Park depends on what you want to do, or more specifically, what type of habitat you want to explore. If the mossy branches of the rainforest catch your eye, the Hoh or Graves Creek Campgrounds deliver on lush landscapes. To catch the sunset on the coast, campgrounds like Mora and Kalaloch come with a complimentary saltwater smell and views of the ocean. Deer Park Campground puts you at a high elevation, and Heart O' the Hills is often popular for tourists aiming to catch the splendor at Hurricane Ridge. Find the top sites with our list of the best campgrounds in Olympic National Park.

1. Hoh Campground, Hoh Rain Forest

Mossy surroundings near the Hoh Campground

Mossy surroundings near the Hoh Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Hoh Campground provides the perfect basecamp to explore the surrounding Hoh Rain Forest, one of the most popular areas of the park and an internationally renowned wonder of Washington. Moderately busy throughout the year, especially during the summer season, all 78 campsites at Hoh Campground are granted on a first-come, first-served basis and have access to flushing toilets and potable water.

A short walk from the campground, the Hoh Rain Forest Visitors Center is a great place to start exploring the lush surroundings, and the Hoh River Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Olympic National Park, is also located nearby.

2. Kalaloch Campground, Kalaloch

Ocean-view campsite at Kalaloch Campground

Ocean-view campsite at Kalaloch Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For immediate shoreline access and one of the larger campgrounds in Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Campground offers 170 sites, many with ocean views. Thirty minutes south of the city of Forks, most of the campsites at Kalaloch can be reserved ahead of time, leaving very few for walk-in availability. The smells, sounds, and occasional mist surrounding the ocean encompass the campground, and flushing toilets and potable water are available nearby. Beach 2 and Beach 3 of the southern Wilderness Coast are an easy walk from the campground, and other ocean access points like Ruby Beach are a short drive away.

3. Heart O' the Hills Campground, Hurricane Ridge

Ranger program at nearby Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center

Ranger program at nearby Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For the fastest access to Hurricane Ridge, Heart O' the Hills Campground is located twelve miles from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. An uphill drive away from the panoramic viewpoint, Heart O' the Hills is a perfect basecamp for arriving to Hurricane Ridge early the next day. Similarly, close to the city of Port Angeles and the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, Heart O' the Hills is also a popular first campground on an extended Olympic National Park vacation. All 105 campsites fill up quickly on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the summer, and flush toilets and potable water are available to all overnight campers.

4. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Campground, Sol Duc

Sol Duc Campground

Sol Duc Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Between the Sol Duc Falls trailhead and the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, the Sol Duc Campground features two loops and nearly 100 spacious sites. Most sites at Sol Duc can be reserved ahead of time, which is a recommended approach during the summer season, and the best sites to vie for are the ones adjacent to the Sol Duc River.

The nearby resort is accessible by a hiking trail and has a general store with camping supplies available. The resort's mineral pools can also be utilized with a small day-use fee. Accessible via a hiking trail or short drive in the other direction, the picture-worthy Sol Duc Falls Trail is perfect for a family day hike. Flushing toilets and potable water are available at the campground.

5. Mora Campground

Driftwood on nearby Rialto Beach

Driftwood on nearby Rialto Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Marking the southern boundary of the northern Wilderness Coast, Mora Campground provides access to Rialto Beach and other ocean surroundings. Thirteen miles from the city of Forks, the 94 sites of Mora Campground are situated among a vibrant coastal forest and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Flushing toilets and potable water are accessible to all overnight users, and some sites have stellar views of the Quillayute River before it dumps into the ocean. The nearby Mora Ranger Station is open during the summer, where more information about the area can be easily acquired.

6. Staircase Campground

Tent at Staircase Campground

Tent at Staircase Campground

One of the closest campgrounds to Olympia in the southeast region of the park, Staircase invites overnight stays in an elevated environment. Beneath the canopies of the Douglas firs that dominate the campground, the North Fork of the Skokomish River can be found adjacent to many of the campsites available.

The Staircase Ranger Station is only a short walk away and provides a great first stop in exploring the area. Immediate hiking trails near the campground include Staircase Rapids, Wagonwheel Lake, and numerous backcountry access points. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, all 49 campsites at Staircase often fill up throughout the summer. Vault toilets can be accessed year-round, and potable water is available throughout the summer.

7. Ozette Campground

Lake Ozette

Lake Ozette | Les Williams / photo modified

On the northwest edge of the Olympic Peninsula, and on the northern tip of Lake Ozette, this small campground caters to tourists who make the long drive out to this remote area of the park. All 15 sites at Ozette Campground have partial or direct views of Lake Ozette, and each share access to pit toilets and potable water.

The Ozette Loop Trail begins and ends near the campground, and the nearby Ozette Ranger Station is available with information throughout the summer. If you are counting on a campsite before making the somewhat long drive, other camping and lodging options can be found in the small community of Ozette nearby.

8. Willaby Campground

Boats on the shore of Lake Quinault

Boats on the shore of Lake Quinault | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Overlooking the shores of Lake Quinault in the southern region of the park, Willaby Campground lends access to rainforest surroundings and other water-fed attractions. Operated by the USFS just outside of park boundaries, Willaby is down the road from the Quinault Rainforest Ranger Station, as well as the Quinault Mercantile, which is great for miscellaneous camping items.

The Quinault National Recreation Trail passes through the campground, connecting lakefront views with an interpretive rainforest path. Many of the 21 campsites at Willaby have views of Lake Quinault, and all share access to flushing toilets and potable water nearby. Non-motorized boat rentals are available a short walk from the campgrounds.

9. Hamma Hamma Campground

Hamma Hamma Cabin

Hamma Hamma Cabin | U.S. Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region / photo modified

On the far east side of the peninsula and a 20-mile drive from the Staircase Ranger Station, Hamma Hamma is a first-come, first served campground in pleasant wooded surroundings. Among the old-growth Douglas firs and 15 tent sites at Hamma Hamma Campground, a former guard station and now six-person, furnished cabin is also available for advance reservation.

Popular recreational outlets stemming from the campground include fishing in the adjacent Hamma Hamma River, backpacking into the accessible Mount Skokomish Wilderness, and learning about the Civilian Conservation Corps along the quarter-mile Living Legacy Trail. Vault toilets are available at the campground, and users need to pack in all their own water.

10. Graves Creek Campground

Graves Creek entrance sign

Graves Creek entrance sign | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Providing primitive settings in the heart of a rainforest, Graves Creek Campground can be accessed with a 14-mile drive on a gravel road from the Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station. A babbling stream provides the background noise for this more isolated campground, audible from all 30 first-come, first-served campsites available.

Despite its remote surroundings and slow-going gravel access road (inaccessible by RVs), Graves Creek is known to fill up during the summer. Part of the popularity of this campground comes from its proximity to backcountry hiking trails in the Quinault River Valley, including one of the best hiking trails in Olympic, the 13-mile East Fork of the Quinault River Trail. Overnight visitors need to supply their own drinking water.

11. Bogachiel State Park Campground

The road to Bogachiel

The road to Bogachiel

A uniquely administered alternative to Hoh Campground on the southwest side of the park, Bogachiel State Park encompasses nearly 130 acres of dense forest surroundings. The lush canopies that define Bogachiel and the adjacent Bogachiel River Valley warrant enough scenic attraction to never leave the campground. With areas like the Wilderness Coast and Hoh Rain Forest both 45 minutes away, however, the serene nature surrounding the 26 campsites at Bogachiel is best experienced after a full day of exploring elsewhere. Another unique aspect of Bogachiel are the hot showers within the campground. The sites are available for advanced reservation.

12. Deer Park Campground

The view from Deer Park Campground

The view from Deer Park Campground

At more than 5,000 feet in elevation, Deer Park Campground provides a stunning mountainscape by day and celestial showcase by night. The scenic attraction of Deer Park requires a steep and gravel-road commute, and while the elevation lends to greater exposure to the elements, the campground's eastern location within the rain shadow allows for often clear camping conditions. The 14 campsites at Deer Park Campground are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, with pit toilets available and no potable water. The 18-mile Deer Park Road to access the campground is not suitable for RVs and is closed from late fall until late spring.

A Note about Camping

Sol Duc and Kalaloch are the only two campgrounds within national park boundaries that accept reservations for camping. Reservations can be made through the Recreation.gov website. Campgrounds outside of the national park, and still within the boundaries of Olympic National Forest, can also be reserved ahead of time through this same website. More information about Olympic National Park Campgrounds and other visitor resources can be found at the official Olympic National Park website.

Where to Stay after Your Camping Vacation

  • Mid-Range Hotels: A wide variety of great hotels are located in Port Angeles, the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula, and the Olympic Lodge is a great example of the upscale accommodations to be found. Featuring fast access to Hurricane Ridge, the Olympic Lodge is well reputed for its superior service, gorgeous lobby, and the adjacent 18-hole Olympic Golf Course. The Super 8 by Wyndham Port Angeles at Olympic National Park is another option nearby, featuring clean rooms, a friendly staff, and free waffles in the morning. For a room with a view, the harbor can be easily seen from the Port Angeles Inn, making this "window to the world" a perfect place to access Port Angeles downtown, Olympic National Park, and the daily ferries to Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Budget Hotels: Port Angeles also has a plethora of budget hotels to choose from, and locations like the Royal Victorian Motel deliver on a favorable rate without trading in comfort or style. Located in a quiet neighborhood, the Royal Victorian Hotel is best known for clean rooms, comfortable beds, and a friendly proprietor. A few blocks away, the All View Motel is a family-run, mom-and-pop establishment featuring 20 rooms with either microwaves or kitchenettes. For more local flavor, the Flagstone Motel is pet-friendly and only two blocks from the bustling downtown district of Port Angeles.

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Cities to Explore in Washington: The streets and sounds of Seattle are always fun to explore, including the city's many beaches, nearby campgrounds, accessible hiking trails, and memorable day trips. Other cities to consider exploring near Seattle include Olympia, Tacoma, Bellevue, and Bellingham. On the east side of the state, the city of Spokane is another cultural hub, including with it a wide array of campgrounds and hiking trails. Other fun places to visit can be found with some of the best small towns in Washington, many of which surround Puget Sound.

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