Olympic National Park is Slowly Reopening After A Wild Winter

As we finally get a break from the seemingly endless onslaught of rain and clouds, Olympic National Park has sent out a reminder that the park is starting to open up for the late spring and summer months. Starting on April 28th, the Hurricane Ridge Road will be open 24 hours a day depending on weather, while numerous campgrounds and roads are expected to open in May and June. We will obviously keep you all updated on the openings of each region, but this is a great announcement. The official Olympic National Press release is as follows, with images provided by yours truly and a few comments added by The Outdoor Society. 

From Olympic National Park and The Outdoor Society on June 27th, 2016

After a winter that brought more low-elevation snow to the Olympic Peninsula than recent years and with signs of spring beginning to unfold, staff at Olympic National Park are working to clean, prepare and make park facilities ready for the spring and summer seasons.

“Even though it is spring now, there are still wintry conditions in the park’s higher elevations and an above average snowpack,” said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Lee Taylor.  “Weather across the national park is incredibly variable and unpredictable, so visitors should always be prepared for changing conditions at any time of year.”

Hikers crossing the Skokomish River on the Staircase Loop Bridge near Staircase Campground in Olympic National Park

 Staircase

The Staircase Campground will open May 25 with drinking water and flush toilets available through September 30. Trails to higher elevations are still pretty snowy, but the Staircase Loop Trail is fantastic right now. The Forest Service Road to Staircase is currently in extremely rough shape, but is expected to be groomed and flattened back out if and when there is a long, dry streak in the forecast.


Crossing the Dosewallips River in Olympic National Park after lowland snow

Dosewallips

The Dosewallips Road remains closed due to a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the primitive campground is walk-in only (5.5 miles). The dirt road to the trailhead is in rough shape, but is manageable for nearly all vehicles. Please use caution while driving to this region.


 

Wildflowers and Panoramas along the trail between Deer Park and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Deer Park

Deer Park Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting. Depending on snow conditions, this area may open earlier or later than scheduled. However, we are pretty sure that this will be later than mid-June, unless the weather shifts quickly. The Deer Park campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water and is one of the best places for high alpine car camping in the west.


A typical summer day at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge Road and Heart O’ the Hills

Beginning April 28, the Hurricane Ridge Road will be open 24 hours a day, weather permitting. Visitors should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current road and weather conditions.

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 eight to nine 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 staffed Fridays through Sundays beginning April 28.  The Visitor Center will be staffed daily June 23 – September 30.  The Hurricane Ridge Gift Shop & Snack Bar on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only from April 28 – May 21 and will open daily beginning May 26. Check www.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.


Goblins Gate, Elwha River, Olympic National Park

Elwha Valley

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the Glines Canyon Spillway Overlook. The remainder of the Olympic Hot Springs Road is currently open to pedestrians and bicycles. The Whiskey Bend Road is open all the way to the trailhead after nearly two years of closures. This is ridiculously exciting and is a place everyone needs to hike and explore. Keep in mind that there are currently no campgrounds in the Elwha Valley, thanks to the wild and shifting river.


Looking down at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park from Mount Storm King

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season April 28 and remain open through January 2, 2018, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.  More information is available at www.olympicnationalparks.com. Fairholme Campground will be open April 28 – October 2, with drinking water and flush toilets available.  Fairholme Store will open daily May 26 – September 4.  The Log Cabin Resort will be open May 19 – September 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store.  Check www.olympicnationalparks.com for more information. La Poel picnic area is open for day use.


Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park

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 operated by Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and is open for the season with flush toilets and drinking water available through October 29. 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. After October 29, Loop A of the campground will be open for primitive use when the road is open. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot spring pools and a small store.  The Resort will be open throughOctober 29, 2017. More information is available at www.olympicnationalparks.com


Mineral Creek Falls in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park

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 Fridays through Sundays and will be open daily May 12 – September 30.


The Olympic Coast at Shi Shi beach in Olympic National Park

Kalaloch, LaPush, Shi Shi, Ozette

Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette—Olympic National Park’s road-accessible coastal destinations—are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads.

The Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds both provide drinking water and flush toilets.  The Ozette Campground is primitive with pit toilets, and drinking water is available now through mid-October.  South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, will open May 19.

The Kalaloch Information Station will be open five days a week (Tuesdays through Saturdays) beginning May 16 and will open daily June 25 – September 30, 2017.

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


A view of the Queets River, downstream from the Queets Campground in Olympic National Park

Queets Valley

The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water. This is one of the most remote places that can be driven to in the park and is quite spectacular. While hiking is minimal, unless you ford the Queets River, the region is one of the hidden gems of Olympic.


 

Pony Bridge, Quinault River, Olympic National Park

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 is open, but RVs and trailers are not permitted because of road conditions and recent washouts. The Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions. The Graves Creek Campground and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.


The trail from Black and Whites to Big Log in Olympic National Park

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 currently open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information 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 remain 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.


Gladys Divide, Olympic National Park

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