From beautiful beaches, to old growth rainforests, to dramatic snow-capped mountains, you would be hard pressed to find a national park with more diverse ecosystems than Olympic National Park in the northwestern corner of Washington State. With such varied landscapes, it can be difficult to decide which part of the park to visit and where to set up camp. Below we offer our advice on the top seven campgrounds that Olympic National Park offers.
This campground isn´t for the light of heart. It is easily the highest campground in the park, and on clear nights you´ll enjoy star-filled skies and perhaps even a glimpse of the lights from distant Seattle. You can also enjoy the stunning views of the nearby peaks of the Olympic Mountains. There are absolutely no services at this campground and you will have to hike in, but if you make it and don´t mind roughing it, there are some absolutely spectacular views and great nearby hikes where you´ll be sure to find plenty of company with the mountain goats.
Fairholme Campground is much more family friendly than Deer Park and does offer basic amenities such as restrooms and running water. It is located next the Lake Crescent and you and your family will be conveniently located next to several hiking trails, waterfalls, and short summits you can hike up. This campground fills up quickly so you will want to plan to get there early in the day to secure your spot.
Graves Creek Campground
What isn´t to like about camping in a rainforest? The Quinault Rainforest is an absolute beautiful area ripe with towering, moss-covered trees that seem to swallow you up in your smallness. The Graves Creek Campground has plenty of great camping spots, but if you are lucky you might even be able to find a spot right on the banks of the Quinault River where you´ll fall asleep to the tranquil sound of a crystal clear river running through a rainforest.
Hoh River Campground
The Hoh Rainforest is easily the most famous rainforest ecosystem in the United States. The Hoh Rainforest Trail offers perhaps the best glimpse into this truly unique ecosystem. The campground here is rather simple, but each and every spot seems to be swallowed up by the towering trees and thick vegetation.
It is important to remember that this is one of the wettest spots in the United States so you will want to bring a quality water proof tent and several ground tarps to stay dry. To help you choose a quality tent, check out our post that features the best tent brands available today.
What could be better than finding a campsite that offers stunning views of sunsets over the Pacific Ocean? The Kalaloch Campground is located on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the western most part of the National Park. After a long day of exploring the tide pools and the infinite variety of marine life and enjoying the great beach hiking near the campground, the sunsets are the best way to end your day.
This campground does fill up during the summer months so you might want to make a reservation. Know the appropriate gear for the right season. If you plan to visit during the summer months, it's best to bring a durable cooler to keep your drinks cool and food fresh. Check out our review of the best camping cooler to help you choose which cooler to bring.
If you visit during the off season, however, you will find the place almost empty and have your choice of the best sites available.
While this campground isn´t located within sight of the coast, you are only a short walk away from those magnificent sea stacks located along the Olympic Coast. This campground definitely is less crowded than the Kalaloch Campground, and it is also the closest campground to the LaPush coast. If you´re lucky, you might even be able to spot a whale off shore. Bald eagles and deer are also common sightings around this campground.
North Fork Campground
Perhaps the most under-appreciated of Olympic National Park´s campgrounds, the North Fork Campground along the Quinault River is a gem that very few people ever visit. While you can simply come to this campground to enjoy the solitude and hike along the river´s edges, you are also conveniently close to some great trail such as First Divide and the Skyline Primitive Trail.
Finding the Perfect Spot at Olympic National Park
Whether you hike up to the highest reaches of Deer Park or stay near the ground at Kalaloch, Olympic National Park offers several beautiful and unique campgrounds that will offer you a unique glimpse into this truly magical national park. Since most of the campgrounds don´t take reservations, you will want to make sure to plan ahead. The earlier you get to the campground, the better chance you will have to find that perfect spot for a few days of rest, relaxation and adventure.