Olympic National Park is an ideal destination for RV camping due to its diverse natural wonders, rich history, and abundant recreational opportunities. Situated in the Pacific Northwest, the park offers a unique experience to travelers seeking an immersive and adventurous outdoor getaway.
The history and cultural significance of Olympic National Park are deeply rooted in the region’s Native American heritage. Before European settlers arrived in North America, Native American communities used the park’s resources, particularly the subalpine meadows, for fishing and hunting. Over time, the area became popular for logging, but local resistance led to conservation efforts and the eventual establishment of the park. Originally designated as Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909, it gained national park status in 1938 and received the prestigious title of a world heritage site in 1988, highlighting its global significance.
What makes Olympic National Park truly unique are the natural occurrences that shaped its landscape. The park is divided into four distinct regions, each offering a diverse environment. Moss-covered temperate rainforests, rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, serene lakes, and towering mountains create a mesmerizing blend of ecosystems. The breathtaking Olympic Mountains dominate the western half of the park, with Mount Olympus standing tall at nearly 8,000 feet. The convergence of various ecological zones has resulted in a rare biological diversity, making it a UNESCO-designated International Biosphere Reserve.
The weather in Olympic National Park is characterized by mild temperatures and abundant rainfall throughout the year. The Hoh Rainforest, located within the park, is renowned for receiving up to 12 feet of rain annually. RV renters should be prepared for wet conditions and plan accordingly. The dry season typically falls between July and September, attracting more visitors, but even during this time, some precipitation is likely. It is essential to pack appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable during various weather conditions.
Olympic National Park offers a wide array of activities for its visitors, catering to various interests and preferences. Boating, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and winter recreation opportunities abound, ensuring there’s something enjoyable for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The park’s vast expanse of wilderness opens up endless possibilities for exploration, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its natural wonders. Whether one seeks tranquility by a calm lake, seeks adventure amidst lush forests, or marvels at the breathtaking mountain vistas, there’s a perfect experience awaiting each visitor.
For those embarking on their journey with RVs, Olympic National Park presents several RV-friendly campgrounds, ensuring a convenient stay for travelers with recreational vehicles. With a total of 12 year-round campgrounds, some can be reserved in advance, while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. These campgrounds provide essential amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings, ensuring a comfortable camping experience. Additionally, larger campgrounds may offer more comprehensive facilities, including showers and visitor centers, catering to the needs of RV renters throughout their stay.
The peak season for visiting Olympic National Park is during the dry season, which typically spans from July to September. This period offers better weather conditions for outdoor activities and draws a higher number of visitors. However, the park can be enjoyed year-round, with quieter experiences available during the winter, spring, and fall.
Olympic National Park stands as a gem in the Pacific Northwest, inviting RV renters to explore its diverse landscapes, rich history, and abundant recreational opportunities. With its natural wonders, cultural significance, and numerous amenities, the park promises an unforgettable and fulfilling experience for all who venture into its enchanting embrace.
As a precautionary measure, the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park Trail, Switchback Trail, Klahhane Ridge Trail, Lake Angeles campsite, and Heather Park campsite are temporarily closed following the incident that occurred on July 29, 2023.
The Hurricane Ridge Road will experience a temporary closure on August 6th from 7 AM to 12 PM to accommodate the annual “Ride the Hurricane” cycling event. During this time, the road will be inaccessible to regular traffic to ensure the safety and smooth functioning of the event.
From August 1 to August 4, 2023, access to Graves Creek Road, Graves Creek Campground, and East Fork Quinault trailhead will be unavailable due to bridge repairs.
Due to limited restroom capacity, only 345 vehicles are allowed daily, and the parking area can accommodate a maximum of 175 vehicles at any given time.
During the summer months, the Hoh Rain Forest experiences high visitation, resulting in 1-2 hour wait times at the entrance station between 10 AM and 5 PM. The parking lot reaches its capacity early, leading to traffic management measures.
Effective from July 15, 2023, several river systems within Olympic National Park, namely Quillayute, Dickey, Bogachiel, South Fork Calawah, Sol Duc, and North Fork Sol Duc Rivers and their tributaries, will be closed for all recreational fishing until further notice..
Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest are introducing fire restrictions, permitting campfires exclusively within established fire rings in designated zones. Backcountry campfires, as well as the use of charcoal, are prohibited.
While infrastructure upgrades are ongoing, loops B and D at Heart O’ the Hills Campground remain closed. However, loops A, C, E, and the Heart of the Forest Trail are accessible for visitors.
Transportation options in Olympic National Park are primarily centered around driving. The park is encircled by Highway 101, which serves as the main access route. Visitors can enter the park through various entrances along Highway 101, and there are additional connections to the Olympic Peninsula via state roads and I-5. However, it’s important to note that the central areas of the park are not reachable by road, requiring visitors to drive longer distances around the park to access certain destinations.
In terms of rig size restrictions, most parking lots within the park can accommodate RVs under 35 feet in length. Larger RVs may encounter limited parking options and should exercise caution when navigating the park’s roads.
Olympic National Park offers a range of parking options for RVs. There are parking lots available at various locations, including those near visitor centers and popular attractions. However, overnight parking outside of designated campsites is not permitted. RV campers need to reserve a campsite in advance to ensure a place to park and stay overnight. While there are designated RV parking areas throughout the park, it is not recommended to solely rely on an RV for transportation to explore the park thoroughly. The park’s vast size and diverse landscapes are best explored using alternative transportation methods such as hiking, biking, or shuttle services where available. This way, visitors can access and experience more remote and scenic areas that are inaccessible by vehicles.
Public transportation options within Olympic National Park are limited. As of now, there is no free public shuttle service operating within the park. However, some private bus and transit companies offer shuttle services from nearby towns to popular park destinations along Highway 101. These shuttle services can be beneficial for visitors who prefer not to drive or for those looking for a guided tour experience.
While public transportation options are scarce within the park, it is still possible to explore various areas on foot through the extensive network of hiking trails. Hiking paths allow visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty and access scenic viewpoints and attractions. For longer getaways, visitors can consider combining hiking with occasional trips to nearby towns to restock supplies and enjoy local amenities.
Located within Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Campground is renowned for its stunning coastal views. It offers a total of 168 sites, and all sites provide fire pits with grates, picnic tables, and animal-proof food storage. While most RV sites can accommodate rigs under 21 feet, there are a few that can accommodate larger RVs up to 35 feet. Kalaloch Campground does not have electrical, water, or sewer hookups. Basic amenities include water collection points, restrooms, and a dump station. The campground is open year-round, but reservations are only available during the summer season, while other months are first-come, first-served. Pets are allowed.
Situated in Olympic State Park, Sol Duc Campground offers a peaceful setting amid an enchanting old-growth forest. With 82 sites, most of which can accommodate RVs under 21 feet in length, the campground provides a rustic camping experience. A few sites support larger RVs up to 35 feet. While the sites are rustic, they offer picnic tables and fire pits with grates. Amenities at the campground include restrooms, potable water, and an RV dump station. Sol Duc Campground is open from mid-March to the end of October, and reservations can be made up to one year in advance. Pets are welcome.
Located centrally on the Olympic Peninsula, this KOA campground is an excellent choice for those seeking modern amenities and easy access to the park. The campground offers dozens of sites, including electrical and primitive options. Amenities include a pool, hot tub, pavilion, playground, dog park, bike rentals, convenience store, souvenir shop, and a dump station. The campground is open year-round and allows reservations. Its strategic location offers proximity to attractions such as the Olympic Game Farm, Marine Life Center, Port Angeles’ historic downtown boutiques, and Forks, the real-life setting of the Twilight Saga. Pets are welcome.
Found within Olympic National Park, Heart O’ the Hills Campground offers a serene woodland setting. The campground loops A, C, E, and the Heart of the Forest Trail are open for visitors. However, loops B and D remain closed due to ongoing infrastructure upgrades. The sites in this campground are suited for smaller RVs and trailers, typically under 35 feet in length. Amenities include picnic tables and fire rings. Restrooms are available, but there are no hookups for electrical, water, or sewer. Heart O’ the Hills Campground operates from mid-March through the end of October, and reservations can be made in advance. Pets are allowed.
Staircase Campground in Olympic National Park offers a first-come, first-served camping experience. The campground provides a total of 47 RV-friendly sites. All sites are primitive, meaning there are no water, electric, or sewer hookups available. However, the campground can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Each site includes a fire ring, picnic table, and animal-proof food locker. The campground has flush toilets and is open year-round, but during the winter, it operates as a fully primitive campground with only pit toilets due to freezing temperatures. Staircase Campground is indeed pet-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry companions along.
Dosewallips Campground is another first-come, first-served campground within Olympic National Park. It offers a total of 82 sites, and all of the sites are primitive with no water, electrical, or sewer hookups. However, the campground provides amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits with grates, restrooms, and water collection points. RVs and trailers up to 21 feet in length can be accommodated in most sites, while a few spaces can handle rigs up to 35 feet long. The campground is open year-round but may have reduced services during the winter months. Dosewallips Campground is pet-friendly, so you can bring your pets along for the camping adventure.
Hoh Campground offers a stunning backdrop of giant conifers and lush moss. It comprises three loops with 88 RV-friendly sites available year-round. Most sites accommodate rigs up to 21 feet, with a few spacious options for RVs up to 35 feet. Although no hookups are available, each site has a fire pit and grate, and amenities include water collection points, picnic tables, and restrooms. The campground hosts ranger-led programs during the summer, adding to the experience. All sites are first-come, first-served, so early arrival is recommended, and newcomers may inquire about specific instructions from the park office.
Fairholme Campground provides excellent lake access with 87 primitive sites, each with a fire pit and grate. While there are no water, electrical, or sewer hookups, amenities include picnic tables, animal-proof food storage, restrooms, water collection points, and a dump station. Fairholme Campground is popular, especially for RVs and travel trailers under 21 feet. Sites are first-come, first-served and open from late April to early October.
If you prefer something different from RV camping, there are other accommodation choices in Olympic National Park. One appealing option is to stay at the cozy lodges located within or near the park. While not all lodges are open year-round, there are several options available for visitors. Among the lodges operated by the National Parks Service, you can find Lake Crescent Lodge, Log Cabin Resort, and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Kalaloch Lodge is the only lodge open year-round, making it an excellent choice for off-season travelers.
There are several private campgrounds located near Olympic National Park that offer RV camping facilities. These campgrounds may have more availability than the campsites inside the park, especially during peak seasons. Private campgrounds often provide a range of amenities, including full hookups (water, electric, and sewer), Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Some of these campgrounds may even offer shuttle services to popular attractions within the national park.Private campgrounds like Elwha Dam RV Park and Rainforest Resort Village offer well-equipped facilities and easy park access
Wilderness camping in Olympic National Park offers a contrasting and awe-inspiring experience compared to the cozy environment of RV camping.While you cannot bring your RV into the backcountry, you can obtain a permit for overnight camping in the remote areas of the park. Spending a night under the stars or pitching a tent in the backcountry allows campers to connect deeply with nature, providing a chance to get away from it all for longer trips. However, proper precautions are crucial to ensure safety, such as securely storing food and supplies to avoid attracting wildlife. Wilderness camping offers a more primitive experience, requiring self-sufficiency and adherence to park guidelines and safety measures. Obtaining necessary permits in advance is essential, as some areas may have limited availability. Overall, it offers a rewarding opportunity to immerse oneself in the park’s natural beauty and create lasting memories amidst the wilderness.
During winter, Hurricane Ridge transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting RV campers looking for snow sports. Located in the northern part of Olympic National Park, the ski area offers opportunities for downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tubing. With breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains and the Salish Sea, it’s a must-visit spot for winter enthusiasts.
Nestled along the shores of Lake Crescent, the historic Lake Crescent Lodge offers a cozy retreat during the winter months. RV campers can enjoy the tranquil beauty of the frozen lake and snow-dusted landscapes. The lodge provides a warm and inviting atmosphere with crackling fireplaces, comfortable accommodations, and stunning lake views.
Located in the lush Sol Duc Valley, the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort provides a soothing escape during the winter season. The resort features natural hot spring pools surrounded by snowy scenery, allowing RV campers to relax and unwind in the healing waters while surrounded by a winter wonderland.
Winter brings a serene and magical experience to the Elwha River Valley. RV campers can explore the picturesque Elwha River and witness the cascading Madison Falls framed by ice formations. The valley’s rich history, including the removal of dams and ecosystem restoration, adds to its appeal.
Offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Salish Sea during late fall, showcasing the vibrant colors of high alpine plants in the forests and meadows. It provides a unique perspective of the Gray Wolf River Valley, making it a must-visit location for RV campers. However, visitors should plan their trip before the first snowfall, as the road may close during winter. In case of road closures, Hurricane Ridge nearby offers equally breathtaking vistas. Both locations promise an unforgettable experience immersed in the natural beauty of Olympic National Park’s landscapes. Don’t forget your camera to capture the seasonal wonders and create lasting memories.
The Staircase Loop Trail in the Staircase area of the park offers a picturesque and easy hike through ancient old-growth forests. The trail provides breathtaking views of lush green landscapes, moss-covered terrain, and abundant wildlife. With a length of approximately one mile, it caters to hikers of different skill levels, making it a perfect introduction to the serene wilderness of the park. Additionally, the trail serves as a gateway to other wilderness destinations in the Staircase region, offering visitors a delightful experience of the park’s natural wonders.
Ozette Triangle, situated within Olympic National Park, is a captivating area that allures visitors with its extraordinary charm. While fall colors may not be prevalent, the location has much to offer those seeking a remote and peaceful experience. The coastal scenery is adorned with captivating sea stacks, enhancing the area’s coastal allure. Exploring the tidepools reveals a vibrant marine life, allowing for an up-close encounter with starfish and seashells. The area’s highlight is the exhilarating fall storms, which bring visible ocean swells days before reaching the shore. Ozette Triangle provides a remarkable opportunity to immerse oneself in the rugged and unspoiled beauty of Olympic National Park, making it an essential destination for those seeking a distinctive and unforgettable adventure.
Located within Olympic National Park, is a captivating destination that appeals to nature enthusiasts and hikers, especially during the fall season. This iconic trip within the park offers a wide range of activities to indulge in, including hiking, swimming, and immersing oneself in the breathtaking scenic vistas. To access Royal Basin, visitors traverse along the scenic Dungeness River, passing by the charming Royal Creek. The journey culminates at the enchanting Royal Lake, where the vivid autumn foliage casts a spellbinding reflection on the serene and clear waters. For those in search of more awe-inspiring views, the main trail extends further to the Upper Royal Basin, offering glimpses of majestic glaciated mountains and rewarding explorers with an authentic appreciation of the park’s natural marvels.
During the summer, Lake Crescent becomes a hub of activity for RV campers. The crystal-clear lake invites visitors to enjoy various water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing. Nearby, the Marymere Falls Trail offers a picturesque hike through a lush forest, leading to the breathtaking Marymere Falls, where the water cascades down from a height.
Located near Sequim, the Olympic Game Farm provides a unique experience for RV campers. Families can take a fascinating drive-through tour, getting up close and personal with various animals like bison, elk, and bears, all from the safety and comfort of their vehicles. This interactive and educational destination offers an exciting adventure for everyone.
Summer is the perfect time to explore Rialto Beach and the charming coastal village of La Push. RV campers can take leisurely strolls along the shoreline, observing marine life and marveling at the dramatic sea stacks and cliffs dotting the coastline. The stunning scenery makes for an unforgettable coastal experience.
The Quinault Rainforest transforms into a lush paradise during the summer. RV campers can embark on the Enchanted Valley Trail, a longer and more challenging hike that rewards with breathtaking views of the Enchanted Valley and Quinault River. The rich biodiversity and serene atmosphere make it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.
Spring is an excellent time to hike to Upper Lena Lake. As the snow begins to melt, RV camper can embark on the challenging trail leading to the pristine mountain lake. Along the way, they will be greeted by a picturesque landscape adorned with colorful wildflowers, while snowy peaks stand majestically in the background. The effort is rewarded with a breathtaking view from the lake, making it a truly memorable experience for nature enthusiasts.
Spring ushers in new life after the removal of the dams. RV campers have a unique opportunity to witness the remarkable resurgence of salmon populations in the restored ecosystem. Exploring the valley through well-marked hiking trails offers a chance to immerse oneself in the rejuvenated surroundings, while the scenic picnicking spots provide a tranquil setting to connect with nature.
Nestled on the eastern edge of Olympic National Park, Dosewallips State Park is a serene oasis during the springtime. RV campers can indulge in peaceful camping experiences while enjoying fishing and birdwatching along the banks of the Dosewallips River. The gentle flow of the river creates a calming atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and unwinding amidst the beauty of nature.
The Hoh River Trail remains a beloved springtime favorite among RV campers, drawing them into the enchanting Hoh Rainforest. As they traverse the trail, the lush greenery and vibrant wildflowers create a picturesque backdrop. The Hoh River gracefully flows, offering glimpses of elk, and the melodious sounds of nature add to the serene ambiance.
For fishing enthusiasts, Olympic National Park’s freshwater options are a true paradise. The lakes, rivers, and streams provide ample opportunities to catch salmon, trout, and char. However, it is essential for anglers to be well-informed about fishing regulations and potential licensing requirements to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing practices that harmonize with the park’s conservation efforts.