The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Olympic National Park

Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Dean Anderson

Washington is America’s outdoor capital, and the jewel in her crown is Olympia National Park. So beloved is she, that Olympia is the seventh most visited park in the NPS system with nearly three million visitors per year.

The park’s ideal setting on the Olympic Peninsula attracts people from all over the world. Its popularity also means you need to be strategic about camping here because the bulk of the park’s sites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The park never feels crowded when you’re on the trail, but you need to come prepared with a game plan if you intend to spend the night.

We’re here to help with a complete guide to camping in Olympic National Park.

Where to Go Camping in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is enormous, and visitors who arrive for two or more days make the most of the natural wonders it has to offer. Even still, it takes weeks to see the whole park, so you’ll need to prioritize your base camp before showing up.

We recommend choosing the geographic location that best suits your trip as well as the character of the campground.

Camping on the Pacific – Mora

If Rialto Beach, La Push, and Hole-in-the-Wall are on your list, we recommend Mora Campground. Mora has 94 sites and plenty of opportunities for visitors to capture a spot.

Mora is also more secluded than other nearby sites like Kalaloch, which has 169 spaces. The spaces feel slightly more private and offer more room to spread your wing.

If Mora is full, try Ozette. With only fifteen sites, it’s a small campground, but we like it because it’s a far cry from the resorts and mega-sites in the area.

Northern Park Campgrounds – Fairholme

Visit Lake Crescent and the Strait of Juan de Fulca from one of six campsites not including the overflow camping.

Thousands of years ago, colossal ice sheets moved across the landscape gouging out a lake that reaches 624 feet deep. When the ice melted, it left us the stunning sapphire lake we see today.

Our pick for the area is the summer-only Fairholme Campground just off the shore of Lake Crescent.

Fairholme’s season runs from the end of April till the first week of October depending on the weather. There are 88 available sites, and you’ll get both flush toilets and potable water for $20 a night.

High In The Sky – Deer Park

Leave the car behind and enjoy an unparalleled view of Washington’s starry skies in Deer Park Campground.

The 14 sites site at 5,400 feet in a clearing. The access road bans RVs, so there’s almost no light pollution up here.

Deer Park is perfect for following these day-long, high-elevation hikes:

  • Rain Shadow Loop
  • Deer Park to Obstruction Point
  • Three Forks
  • Deer Ridge

Getting here is strenuous: the road is 18 miles long, and the last nine are gravel. Head out here before sundown because the route serves up offers up the Olympic Coast trifecta: it’s narrow, steep, and full of confusing turnoffs.

Away From It All – Dosewallips

Olympic National Park rarely feels crowded – until you reach your campsite. If you’re here to disconnect, escape everything, and hide out at Dosewallips Campground.

Dosewallips is a proper 30 site campground with no fees. The only way here is a 6.5-mile hike from the end of the washed-out access road. Even the park ranger station is unstaffed and without a telephone.

The campsite is perfect for anyone visiting Lake Constance or completing the Constance Pass into the high country.

Hurricane Ridge Central – Heart o the Hills

Whether you’re hiking Hurricane Ridge or you’re here for the photographs, Heart o the Hills is an accessible campground at any time of year.

The 105 spots available here aren’t the most stunning in the park, but the access they provide to Hurricane Ridge is unparalleled. It’s also a good location generally because it’s close to Port Angeles, Lake Crescent, Elwha, and Sol Duc.

Heart o the Hills is one of the few campgrounds we recommend that’s RV-friendly, so bear it in mind before setting up camp.

Sleep in the Rain Forest – Graves Creek

Visitors to the Quinault Rain Forest don’t need to go far. Set up camp in one of the 30 sites available at Graves Creek. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and seasonal restrooms but no potable water.

Set up camp here and you’ll find yourself straddling the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park with beautiful views of the east fork of the Quinault River.

Graves Creek is virtually deserted after the peak summer season. Come here to turn the rainforest into your personal playground.

Wild Camping

Want to go entirely off the grid? Olympic National Park allows wild camping.

Check into the Wilderness Information Center, which also serves as the park’s backcountry permit office. It’s inside the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles.

Want a Sure Thing? Pre-Book These Two Campgrounds

Olympic National Park takes reservations for two campgrounds: Sol Duc and Kalaloch. Kalaloch is large, but right on Highway 101 so it’s not as serene as some visitors might like.

The NPS recommends booking early to avoid disappointment.

Stuck? Ask the Visitor Center

If you get to the park and your first three plans don’t work out, don’t despair. The park has three visitor centers to choose from:

  • Olympic National Park Visitor Center
    • 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362
  • Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
    • 17 miles south of Port Angeles in Hurricane Ridge
  • Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center
    • Highway 101 – 31 miles south of Forks

Ranger stations are also available nearby most major camping sites. Don’t be a stranger!

What Will You Explore Next?

Our guide to camping in Olympic National Park stirred up some wanderlust in you. So, tell us. Where will you go next?

Wherever it is, you need the right tent. Read our tent reviews to find something that will keep you warm in the high country and dry in the rainforests of Olympic National Park.

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