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Olympic National Park Camping Page

Welcome to the Olympic National Park Camping Page.
Here you will find camping and campground information including dates the campgrounds are open and the facilities offered to campers staying in the park.

Bobcats - Corel ©

Bobcats - Corel ©

Olympic National Park Camping Guide
Backcountry Campgrounds Fishing Guide General Information Permits


  

General Information

There are 17 campgrounds in Olympic National Park. They operate on a first come first serve basis, with the exception of Kalaloch Campground, which takes reservations for a limited time (see information below for details).

Summers are most popular, and more crowded, as weather is warmer and drier. Plan to arrive early to obtain space, especially on weekends. Entrance fees (good for seven days) are collected at Elwha, Heart O' the Hills / Hurricane Ridge, Hoh, Sol Duc, and Staircase entrance stations from May through September or later.

Camping fees are subject to change. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis. Most campgrounds provide water, toilets, and garbage containers. Individual campsites offer a picnic table and fire pit or grill. No hook-ups, showers, or laundry facilities are available in park campgrounds. Sites best accommodate trailers 21 feet or less. Major campgrounds have a few sites, which will accommodate larger RV's.

Higher elevations are snow-covered from early November to late June. Some campgrounds and comfort stations are closed and water systems drained during off seasons. The number of sites may also be limited at that time. Inquire about open facilities upon arrival during the off season.

Water repellent clothing is advisable. Include warm clothing and a windbreaker for higher elevations and cool evenings.

Group reservations are available at Kalaloch and Mora by contacting the respective ranger station directly.

Camping limit is fourteen consecutive days.

Firewood - In campgrounds where wood is not available for sale by concession services, visitor may collect dead wood on the ground within one mile of campgrounds. Wood gathering is permitted along road corridors within 100 feet of the road. In the Deer Park area, firewood may be collected only in designated areas.

Hunting and Firearms - Hunting or disturbance of wildlife in any manner is prohibited in National Parks. Firearms may be transported on Park roads in vehicles, provided they are adequately sealed, cased, or otherwise packed to prevent use, and out of sight. Firearms are not necessary for protection from wildlife.

Laundry Facilities - Available in Port Angeles, Sequim, La Push, Forks, and some smaller towns along U.S. Highway 101.

Pets - Pets are permitted on a leash (up to a 6 feet in length) in park campgrounds and parking areas. Pets are prohibited in all park buildings, in the backcountry, and generally all park trails.

Feeding wildlife is prohibited for the health of the animals and your safety.

Showers - Available at Sequim Bay, Bogachiel, Dosewallips, and Lake Cushman State Parks. Contact local Chambers of Commerce for privately-owned facilities.


  

Campground Information
Campground Open Close Sites Trailer Length Dump Station Drinking Water Elevation Fee
Altaire
Low usage closure 30 21 No Yes 450 $10.00
Deer Park
Low usage closure 14 Prohibited No Yes 5,400 $8.00
Dosewallips
Low usage closure 30 Not Recommended No Yes 1,540 $10.00
Elwha All year
41 21 No Yes 390 $10.00
Fairholm
Low usage closure 88 21 Yes Yes 580 $10.00
Graves Creek
Low usage closure 30 21 No Yes 540 $10.00
Heart O'the Hills All Year
105 21 No Yes 1,807 $10.00
Hoh All Year
88 21 Yes Yes 587 $10.00
July Creek (walk-in) All Year
29 Tent Only No Yes 200 $10.00
Kalaloch * All Year
175 21 Yes Yes 50 $12.00
Mora All Year
94 21 Yes Yes 50 $10.00
North Fork All Year
7 No No No 520 None
Ozette All Year
13 21 No Yes 0 $10.00
Queets All Year
20 15 No No 290 $8.00
Sol Duc
Low usage closure 82 21 Yes Yes 1,680 $12.00
South Beach
Low usage closure 50 21 No No < b> 50 $8.00
Staircase All Year
59 21 No Yes 765 $10.00

* Kalaloch Campground operates on a reservation system from 15 Jun - 02 Sep. The price is $ 16.00 during the reservation period and drops back to $ 12.00 before and after the reservation period and reverts back to first come first served. Visitors can make reservations by calling 1-800-365-2267 or online at http://reservations.nps.gov/.


  
Permits and Fees for Wilderness Use

Olympic National Park charges a fee for all overnight trips into the park's wilderness backcountry. Proceeds from the wilderness fee program will go directly to fund projects that benefit park wilderness and wilderness users.

The Wilderness Fee program has two components -- a Permit Registration Fee and an Individual Nightly Fee.

The Permit Registration Fee is $5.00 for a single permit good for up to 14 days and a maximum of 12 people.

The Individual Nightly Fee is $2.00 per person per night for any overnight stay in the park backcountry. Persons 16 years old and younger are exempt from this fee.

A Frequent Hiker Pass will be available for $30.00 per person per year. This is an annual, non-transferable pass, good for twelve months from the date of issue. It covers all wilderness use fees for the pass holder. Additional Frequent Hiker Passes for members of the same household will cost $15.00.

Maximum fee amounts have been set at $50.00 for groups of one to six for up to 14 nights and $100.00 for groups of seven to twelve for up to 14 nights. (Without the fee cap, a 6 - person group staying 14 nights would be charged $173.00.)


  

Backcountry Camping

Camping is prohibited outside authorized campgrounds within the Park unless backpacking at least one-half mile into the backcountry. Please keep the backcountry clean. Better still, leave it cleaner than when you arrived. There are over 95 wilderness locations. Wilderness Use Permits are required for all trail and beach camping, but not for automobile campgrounds. Obtain a backcountry permit from ranger stations and/or the park Wilderness Information Center. See the Permit and Fee Information listed above. Familiarize yourself with backcountry regulations before leaving on your hike.

Campsite - Camp in an established site when one is available. Avoid areas marked for restoration where small plants and excelsior netting have been placed to help re-vegetate damaged soil.

Fires - Wood fires are prohibited in some areas of wilderness. West of the Elwha and North Fork of the Quinault, only stoves are allowed above 3,500 feet. East of this line only stoves must be used above 4,000 feet. If you make a wood fire, build it in an existing fire ring. On the beach, be sure to make your fire at least 10 feet away from the nearest beach log, and if possible, below the high tide line.

The Six Principles of Leave No Trace

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Carefully designing your trip to match your expectations and outdoor skill level is the first step in being prepared. Adequate trip planning and preparation helps to accomplish trip goals safely, while minimizing impacts on the environment and on other users.
Know the area and what to expect, including regulations and special concerns of the area.
Travel in small groups, during seasons or days of a week when use levels are low.
Bears may be present; balance safety concerns in bear country with ecological and social impact concerns.
Select appropriate equipment to help you Leave No Trace.
Repackage food into reusable containers, creating less trash to pack out.

2. Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces

Whenever you travel and camp, confine your use to surfaces that are resistant to impact.
In popular areas, concentrate use. In remote areas, spread use.
Hike on existing trails to minimize disturbance to wildlife, soil and vegetation.
Choose an established campsite, one with a slight slope so rain water can drain.
Use only designated campsites.
Store food so that it is unavailable and uninviting to bears and small animals.
Before departing, make sure your camp is as clean or cleaner than when you arrived.

3. Pack it In, Pack it Out

4. Properly Dispose of What You Can't Pack Out

5. Leave What You Find

The Wilderness Act states that wilderness "... is recognized as an area... where man himself is a visitor who does not remain,...with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable..." People come to the wildlands to enjoy them in their natural state. Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts antlers, and other objects as you find them.

Minimize site alteration when camping, do not build structures.
Avoid damaging live trees and plants.
Avoid disturbing wildlife.
Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts for others to enjoy.
It is illegal to remove any cultural objects from North Cascades National Park.

Cultural artifacts are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. All these "pieces of the past" contribute to our understanding of human and natural history, including the effects of disease, climate changes, and shifting animal populations on the land and her people. Removing these artifacts takes them out of context and removes a chapter from an important story. If you discover an artifact, enjoy it where it is. Leave it as you found it.

6. Minimize Use and Impact from Fires

The use of campfires in the backcountry, once a necessity, is now steeped in history and tradition. Stoves are now essential equipment for minimum-impact camping trips because they are fast and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection.
Use dead and down wood only.
In high use areas, build campfires in existing fire rings to concentrate impacts.
On the coast, build your fire below the high tide line.
Consider using a large wok, gold pan or other metal container to avoid making scars on the ground.

These principles and practices depend more on attitude and awareness than on rules and regulations; they must be based on a respect for and appreciation of wild places and their inhabitants.


Emergency gear - Tips to help you in primitive camping situations

Waterproof matches in airtight containers, metal matches, fire starter and tinder' are suggested. Extra food and clothing, a signal mirror, smoke flare, durable space blankets, plastic bags, and a good first aid kit are extremely valuable if you plan on being out for several days. Cord can be used to make a shelter and hang food in trees. Most hikers carry water purification filters or chemicals. Some even carry pocket strobe lights, and a few carry personal locator beacons. Plan to be self sufficient in any emergency. The land is vast and remote, and you cannot count on early help if you have difficulties.

Equipment - Try and keep your gear lightweight yet durable. Equipment should withstand rigorous use in a rough, mountainous countryside. Help could be many hours away should something go wrong with your gear.

Food and Supplies - Bring your food, equipment and other supplies with you. Avoid food such as bacon or smoked fish, soaps, and cosmetics with strong odors as they attract bears. Bottles and cans are hard to dispose of. If you take them in, you are expected to carry them out. Without some sort of bear proof storage, you should be prepared to hang your food as high as possible. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit carrying fuel in containers such as stoves on commercial airlines. Use white gas.

Footwear - Boots should be a sturdy hiking or mountaineering type that provides good ankle support. Some hikers prefer boots with the rubber shoe and leather upper, like the Maine Hunting Shoe. You can count on your feet getting wet regardless of your boot type, so durability and support should be a prime concern. Many pair of socks are essential. Tennis shoes are good for crossing rivers.

Insects - Insect repellent and head nets are highly recommended.

Map - Trails Illustrated topo map covers the whole park and includes the most current information on the location of trails and camps.
Green Trails maps contain more topographic information and include trail mileage.
USGS maps provide the most detailed topographic information. Although campsite and trail information are often outdated, these are the preferred maps for mountaineering and cross- country travel. Maps, books and pamphlets are sold at park headquarters and ranger and information stations.

Rain Gear and Clothing - Durable rain gear that covers both the upper and lower torso is a must for hikes of any length. The rain gear should keep out water in a steady down pour. Since you will eventually get wet in any significant rain storm, wool or synthetic clothing that insulates when wet is highly recommended for wear under rain gear. The weather can change quickly and without warning. Expect rain and drizzle. Hypothermia is always a possibility with wet conditions and cool temperatures.

Stove - A gasoline stove is essential. You may not cut down live trees. Set campfires with downed wood only.

Tents and Sleeping Bags - You should have a tent with a waterproof floor, rain-fly, and a no-see- um netting, and this tent should be designed to withstand strong winds. Bring plenty of extra stakes and strong cord to keep the tent secure. Synthetics like �Polarguard' or �Fiberfill' are better than down in a wet environment because synthetics will insulate when wet while down will not. A sleeping pad will provide insulation as well as comfort.


  

Fishing Guide

Effective 01 May 2003 through 30 April 2004

All waters within Olympic National Park are closed to the removal of any species of fish, shellfish, aquatic plants, or wildlife except as provided below. All waters open to fishing as described below are only open from one hour before official sunrise to one hour after official sunset. To protect the park's fish resources, these regulations are subject to change; please see locally posted regulation changes and notices.

Fishing Regulations are subject to change throughout the year
Check with a ranger station for the most current information

State fishing licenses are not required for stream and lake fishing, except that a Washington State special punch-card is necessary when fishing for steelhead and salmon. A license is required to fish in the ocean and additional licenses are necessary when harvesting shellfish and seaweed. Seasons are generally the same as for waters outside the park. Regulations are available at visitor centers and ranger stations. Boats can be rented at Fairholm Visitor Service Area, Log Cabin Resort, and Lake Crescent Lodge.

Bait

Bait is defined as any artificial or natural substance which attracts fish by scent and/or flavor. Artificial lures are made of metal, wood, feathers, hair, fiber, leather, cork, rubber or plastic. Some areas of Olympic National Park are managed as Selective or Quality fishing areas where bait is not allowed. Areas closed to bait fishing are listed in "Exceptions to General Seasons and Limits."

The following are prohibited in all park waters:

Live or dead minnows
Chub or other bait fish
Placing fish eggs, roe, food or other substance in park water
Possession of illegal bait
Digging for bait

Legal Gear

Single rod
Reel
Line

Prohibited use in park fishing:

Nets
Seines
Traps
Drugs
Explosive

Catch-and-Release Requirements

To improve the quality of the fisheries and conserve certain depleted stocks and their gene pool, some catch-and-release and wild-release areas have been adopted within the park. These areas are noted under "Exceptions to General Seasons and Limits."

The following species must be released in all park waters:

Bull trout
Dolly Varden
Wild steelhead (rainbow trout more than 20 in long) caught from 01 Jun - 30 Nov
Hatchery steelheads may be kept and are identified by a healed scar where the adipose or ventral fin has been removed.

If handled properly, fish have an excellent chance of survival after they are released.

By practicing proper catch and release fishing, today's anglers preserve quality fishing for the anglers of tomorrow. Use artificial flies and lures to catch fish that you plan to release. Use barbless hooks and an appropriate hook size. Pliers can be used to pinch down barbs on conventional hooks.

Catch and Release Methods

Enjoy your time on the water.

Water closed to Fishing

Portion of Kalaloch Creek used for domestic water; posted
Elwha River from Lake Mills spillway downstream 400 feet
North Fork Skokomish from park boundary to Dolly Pool Falls after 31 Aug
Sol Duc River 100 yds upstream to 250 yds downstream of Salmon Cascades (01 Aug- 31 Oct)

Marine Fish and Shellfish

Harvest of marine fish, shellfish and intertidal organisms from the Pacific Coastal Area is only allowed in accordance with Washington Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife seasons and limits, call: 360-902-2200. All other intertidal and shoreline species, including seaweed, are protected.

Salmon fishing is only allowed on certain rivers and during specified seasons listed under "Exceptions to General Seasons and Limits." Minimum size limit is 12 inches and adults are chinook over 24 inches, and coho over 20 inches. Salmon between 12 inches and the adult minimum size are considered "jacks".

Salmon limits

General Seasons and Limits apply to all waters except those areas and limits listed under "Exceptions to General Seasons and Limits."

General Season
Lakes, ponds and reservoirs
Last Sat in Apr - 31 Oct

Fishing Information
Fish Minimum Size Limit Daily Limit
Bass None None
Eastern Brook Trout None None
Trout 8 inches 2
Steelhead
2
Squawfish None None
Yellow Perch None None
Whitefish 8 inches 2

Exceptions to General Seasons and Limits

General seasons, size, daily, and possession limits listed above apply to the following waters with these exceptions:

Exceptions
River Location Exception
Bogachiel Below the Jct of North and Main Fork 14 inch limit on trout, winter steelhead: mainstream, 01 Nov - 28 Feb, wild release, singlebarbless hooks, artificial lures only.
Calawah South Fork 14 inch limit on trout.
Crescent Lake Artificial lures only - Catch & Release Only
Dosewallips Below the falls at river mile 14.5 14 inch limit on trout.
Elwha River and tributaries 12 inch limit, single barbless hooks, artificial lures only.
Gray Wolf River 14 inch limit on trout, artificial lures only.
Hoh Below Gracier Creek 01 Jun - 31 Oct, 14 inch limit on trout.
Hoh Mainstream below South Fork 16 May - 31 Aug, six "jack" salmon limit.
Hoh Mainstream above South Fork 01 Nov - 28 Feb, winter steelhead wild release, single barbless hook, artificial lure only.
Hoh Mainstream below South Fork 01 Nov - 15 Apr, winter steelhead wild release, single barbless hook, artificial lure only.
Irely Lake Lake Catch-and-release, artificial lures only.
Mills Reservoir 12 inch limit, single barbless hook, artificial lure only.
Ozette Lake 14 inch limit on trout, closed to kokanee.
Ozette River 14 inch limit on trout; 01 Jul - 31 Oct, 6 "jack" salmon limit; 01 Nov - 28 Feb, 14 inch limit on winter steelhead.
Queets Mainstream and tributaries Wild release, artificial lures only above Streaters Crossing.
Queets Mainstream below Streaters Crossing Boat Launch Bait allowed for salmon fishing, but single barbless hooks required 01 Jul - 30 Nov. Up to 6 provide only 2 adults, release all adult coho.
Queets Mainstream from Tshletshy Creek to Hartzell Boat Launch 01 Nov - 15 Apr, winter steelhead, wild release, single barbless hooks, artificial lures only.
Queets Mainstream from Hartzell Boat Launch to park boundary 01 Nov - 30 Nov, 14 inch limit on winter steelhead, wild release.
Queets Mainstream from Hartzell Boat Launch to park boundary 01 Dec - 28 Feb, 14 inch limit on winter steelhead.
Queets Mainstream from Hartzell Boat Launch to park boundary 01 Mar - 15 Apr, winter steelhead, wild release.
Quinault Mainstream, North Fork below Kimta Creek, East Fork below Fire Creek. 14 inch limit on trout.
Quinault Mainstream below the North Shore Quinault River Bridge 01 Jul - 31 Oct, 6 "jack" salmon; 01 Nov - 31 Mar, 14 inch limit on winter steelhead to park boundary.
Salmon River Wild release, artificial lure, prior to 01 Sep; 01 Sep - 30 Nov, up to 6 provide no more than 2 adults, bait allowed; 01 Nov - 28 Feb, 14 inch limit on winter steelhead, bait allowed.
Skokomish - North Fork Mainstream and tributaries Catch-and-release, artificial lures, closed from the park boundary to Dolly Pool Falls after 31Aug.
Sol Duc Below Sol Duc Falls 14 inch limit on trout.
South Fork Hoh River Wild release, artificial lure only.


Olympic National Park Travel Packets


by John William Uhler

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