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As winter is quickly approaching, Olympic National Park is closing down some popular camping regions to the public for the season. This is a normal announcement, but it is one that needs to be shared by all to make sure no-one drives far out of the way to discover their camping dreams are crushed. I couldn’t image traveling for hours and hours, getting more excited with every passing mile for a unique car camping experience in Olympic, only to find out that the destination of my daydreams wasn’t open. While a handful of campgrounds will be closing, many others will remain open year round, perfect for your off-season adventures into one of America’s favorite wilderness destinations. If you haven’t seen Olympic National Park in the winter, you are missing out on amazing views and experiences!
Those heading to the Sol Duc Campground will have access until the end of October. According to park officials, the Sol Duc Campground will close for the season on Sunday, October 30. The Sol Duc Resort and Hot Springs will also be closing on that date, but the rest of the region remains open. Keep in mind that the Sol Duc Road is only open as weather and conditions permit; something that caused a closure to the region for quite awhile in the 2015-16 winter. The region does have a vault toilet at the trailhead to Sol Duc Falls and toilet paper is once again something you should bring. Again, visitors need to remember to bring their own drinking water if visiting the Sol Duc Region.
Starting on Tuesday, October 11th, the Staircase Campground on the Hood Canal side of the park will be closed for the winter. The Staircase area is scheduled to remain open throughout the winter for day use and trailhead access, though heavy snow may change this. We will always keep you updated on this road and area, as it is closest to Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle. Those visiting the area will only have access to a vault toilet and should bring their own toilet paper, just in case. Also, there will be no access to water at Staircase, so park officials are telling visitors that they should bring their own drinking water.
While only temporary, the Hoh Campground will close on Monday, October 31 until Friday, November 4 for maintenance reasons. Olympic National Park officials are telling is that so that crews are fixing the electrical system. The campground is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, November 5. Also, keep posted about temporary closures to the Hoh Campground due to the Elk Rut. The rut closed the campground in the fall of 2015 for nearly a full month. Remember…the Hoh is only temporarily closed for a few days, it is open the rest of the year!
Out along the coast, the Fairholme and South Beach campgrounds have already been closed and will remain closed until next spring. If you want to camp on the coast, Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette will remain open all year. Mora and Kalaloch campgrounds will have drinking water and flush toilets available, while Ozette has vault toilets (bring TP) and no potable water.
Near Sequim and Port Angeles, the Deer Park Campground will be closed in mid-October, once snow conditions make the road too dangerous to remain open to the public. Instead of Deer Park, the Heart O’the Hills campgrounds at the base of the road to Hurricane Ridge will remain open year round, with drinking water and flush toilets available. Granted, the road to Hurricane Ridge will probably only be open on Friday-Sunday, weather permitting, so plan accordingly.
In the Quinault Region, both the Graves Creek and North Fork campgrounds will remain open all winter, with vault toilets and no potable water. The Queets campgrounds will also remain open through the winter, with vault toilets and no potable water. If you stay at these, be prepared and bring everything you need to be warm, dry, fed and hydrated. Winter is not a joke out in Olympic!
For more information about visiting Olympic National Park, consider purchasing The Definitive Guide to Olympic National Park, as well as listening to our weekly podcast, The Adventure Dispatch. The Adventure Dispatch is your go-to source for all the important weather, road, snow, trail and event information for Olympic National Park.