Find yourself in Olympic National Park this Summer

We’ve been posting quite a few articles this Winter on how the weather battered the park. Downed trees and  and rising rivers forced closures from Staircase to Elwah.

But, the sun is out and the staff of the Olympic National Park is getting ready for a busy Summer season.

Here is the official update which dropped into our mailbox today on what is open and what’s closed:


Staircase

The Staircase Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be available during for the summer season from May 20 through September 26.


Dosewallips

The Dosewallips Road remains closed due to a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the campground is walk-in (5.5 miles) only.


Deer Park

Deer Park Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting. If conditions allow, this area may open earlier than scheduled. The campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water.


Hurricane Ridge Road and Heart O’ the Hills

Hurricane Ridge Road is currently open as weather and staffing allow. People should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current conditions and road status. 

Beginning in early May, the road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or late spring snow storms cause it to close temporarily. 

The Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 mile of road that leads past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead) is expected to open by mid-June.

Reaching elevations over 6,000 feet, sections of the Obstruction Point Road are still covered with four to five feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas.  This road is expected to open in mid-June snow permitting.  If conditions allow, it may open earlier. 

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only beginning May 7.  Weekend hours will continue through June 7.  The Visitor Center will be staffed daily beginning June 20.  The snack bar and gift shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only from April 30 – May 22 and will open daily beginning May 27. Check olympicnationalparks.com for more information.

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available. 


Elwha Valley

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed to all motor vehicles at the Madison Falls parking lot, just inside the park boundary. A series of severe winter storms in November, December and January led to exceptionally high flows and flooding along the Elwha River. Approximately 90 feet of Olympic Hot Springs Road was washed out and additional sections were eroded and damaged by flood waters. The road is open to pedestrians, bicycles and horse riders, with a small temporary bridge spanning the washout.

Precipitation in the Elwha Valley this winter measured 138 percent of normal, making this winter the fourth wettest in the 75-year record at the Elwha Ranger Station. In the four-month period from November through February, the Elwha River experienced a 25-year flood, a 10-year flood, two five-year floods and one two-year flood.

Park staff is working to restore vehicle access to the Elwha Valley as quickly as possible, with plans to install a one-lane bridge this summer. A firm timeline is not established yet.

Both the Elwha and Altair campgrounds are also located in the active floodplain of the Elwha River and sustained extensive damage and loss of facilities. Both campgrounds are closed indefinitely and are not expected to open this summer.

Olympic Raft and Kayak, based just outside the park along the Elwha River, offers guided raft trips on the Elwha River, as well as kayak trips and other opportunities.  Check raftandkayak.com for more information.


Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season on April 29 and will remain open through January 2, 2017, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.  More information is available at olympicnationalparks.com 

Fairholme Campground will open this summer from April 29 through October 3, with drinking water and flush toilets available.  Fairholme Store will open for the season on May 27 and be open daily through September 5. 

The Log Cabin Resort will open May 20 through September 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store.  More information is available at olympicnationalparks.com 

La Poel Picnic area will open for day use on Saturday, April 29. 


Sol Duc Valley

The Sol Duc Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily. 

The Sol Duc Campground is now operated by Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and is open this year from March 25 through October 30. Reservations are accepted for up to 75 percent of the campsites, with the remainder available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations for the Sol Duc Campground can be made online at www.recreation.gov. 

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store.  The Resort will be open through October 30, 2016. More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com 


Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.  The Hoh Rain Forest Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available. 

The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is currently open Friday through Tuesday and will be open daily from June 22 through September 30.       


Pacific Coast

Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette—Olympic National Park’s road-accessible coastal destinations—are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads, except for the Beach Four parking area and trail, which are closed due to erosion damage.

The Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds both provide drinking water and flush toilets.  The Ozette Campground is primitive, with pit toilets and no potable water in the campground, however, water is available nearby.  South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, will open on May 15.

The Kalaloch Information Station will be open five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) beginning on May 18.  Daily hours will begin June 19.

Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop.  For more information, check http://www.thekalalochlodge.com/ for more information.


Queets Valley

The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures, however the Lower Queets Road is closed about a half-mile below Matheny Creek (one mile before the end of the road) due to road damage. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no potable water.


Quinault Rain Forest

The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open. The North Fork Road is also open. 

 The six-mile Graves Creek Road sustained severe storm and flood damage and is open to motor vehicles for its first four miles only.  Vehicle access ends at the road’s four-mile point, and an interim trailhead has been established there. Because of limited turn-around space, the Graves Creek Road is closed to RVs and trailers. 

 Hikers accessing the East Fork Quinault Trail and Enchanted Valley will have an extra two miles of walking before reaching the regular trailhead. Horse and stock trailers must be parked at the intersection of the Graves Creek Road and South Shore Road, adding six miles to the standard trip.

 Park crews expect to begin repair work to the Graves Creek Road late this summer, once river flows have dropped.

Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions. The Graves Creek Campground (walk-in only) and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.  


Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center

The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC), located at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information Center located within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.  Information is also available at the park’s website

Several feet of snow remains on the ground, beginning at elevations above 3,000 feet. Even at low elevations, hikers are reminded to use caution and be aware of downed trees, trail damage, high and swift creek crossings, and changing weather conditions.


 

Thinking about visiting Olympic National Park this Summer?

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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