The Best Free Campsites On The Olympic Peninsula
Lets get right to the point theres a ton of free camping on the Olympic Peninsula.
Although many campers stay at an Olympic National Park campground, there are countless free campgrounds, dispersed campsites, and even free casino boondocking just outside the parks boundaries.
Today, Im going to tell you all about these free campsites .
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Campground
For up to date pool schedule information, please visit our website here. Pool access fees are $18 for adults, $12 for children ages 4-12 and $12 for seniors over 62 years old per session. Towel rentals are $5. You may bring your own towel. Lockers are available, but locks are not provided.
The Springs Restaurant is currently only serving take out. Ordering hours are 7:30 AM – 10:00 AM for breakfast and 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM for lunch and dinner.
Sol Duc Campground is now open.
The campground currently offers two tent camping loops including a walk-in area that accommodate 82 tent campsites plus 17 RV campsites. Nearby comfort stations in the campground or lodge loops offer flush toilets and potable water. Each site offers a picnic table, fire ring and paved access.
Camping On Public Lands
BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for camping under the stars ranging from staying in an RV at a highly developed campground to simply throwing a sleeping bag on the ground in the backcountry. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed public lands.
At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Make sure to check the campgrounds website or call the appropriate field office when planning your trip.
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Washington’s Parks: The best state and national parks of Washington attract millions of tourists to the state every year. Alongside a great selection of campgrounds, the best hiking trails of Olympic National Park provide plenty of adventures to explore by day. A crown jewel of the state, Mount Rainier National Park also has a great selection of top-rated hiking trails and amazing campgrounds. For more elevated adventures in Washington, the best hiking trails and top-rated campgrounds of North Cascades National Park enables exploration of this rugged environment.
Other Adventures in Washington: If you are new to the outdoors, you may want to begin by having a read through our articles on camping for beginners and hiking for beginners. The top-rated hiking trails in Washington can lead you down an adventurous path, and the state’s best campgrounds provide some pretty awesome places to pitch a tent. For even more natural attractions, Washington is also stacked with spectacular waterfalls and inviting hot springs.
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Why Not Try Camping In Olympic National Park
Camping in Olympic National Park itself is honestly amazing.
Sure, its not free, but a night or two spent in the park is well worth it, especially on your first trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
There are 14 campgrounds managed by the National Park Service. Hands down, my favorite campground in Olympic National Park is Kalaloch Campground.
Not only is it just one of three that offers reservations in the summer , but Kalaloch Campground is also steps from the beach. Several campsites actually overlook the ocean .
Developed campgrounds in Olympic National Park range from $14 to $24 per night. However, there is one campground in the park thats actually free.
Another option is to camp on the beach. Several places on the Olympic Peninsula welcome backcountry beach camping.
This requires a hike in and youll be camping right on the beach, not in developed campground. Youll need wilderness camping permits. Bear-proof canisters are also required.
Free Dispersed Camping In Olympic National Forest
Olympic National Forest is broken up into several non-contiguous districts surrounding Olympic National Park.
The two main districts are the Hood Canal Ranger District and the Pacific Ranger District .
Dispersed camping is available throughout Olympic National Forest. This is one of the best ways to camp for free on the Olympic Peninsula, especially if you prefer primitive camping outside of a developed campground.
Unfortunately, Olympic National Forests boundaries are a little more difficult to ascertain than other national forests. And, remember, you must be within the forests boundaries to legally dispersed camp dispersed camping is not allowed in the national park.
Personally, Ive had a lot of luck dispersed camping near Lake Wynoochee, Lake Cushman, and east of Forks. However, there are countless Olympic National Forest dispersed campsites Ive yet to explore.
Not interested in dispersed camping? You can still camp for free in Olympic National Forest.
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What To Know About Free Camping
When looking for a free camping spot, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Above all else, youll want to verify that the area is legal for public camping. Often ranger stations will have Bureau of Land Management maps indicating allowed access areas.
Then scout out your desired location to ensure you and your equipment can safely navigate the terrain. Finally, if you choose to stay, obey all posted rules and follow leave no trace principles.
Dispersed Camping Near Olympic National Park
Dispersed camping is another option for camping near Olympic National Park.
Also known as wild camping, dispersed camping is camping outside of a designated campground.
This means you wont have any normal campground amenities such as running water or bathrooms. Remember to always follow the leave no trace principles .
Dont forget that camping is only allowed in certain areas. On the Olympic Peninsula, its generally restricted to the Olympic National Forest.
The best thing about dispersed camping? Its free!
Another option for free camping on the Olympic Peninsula is to stay at a DNR campground.
There are 12 DNR campgrounds on the Olympic Peninsula. Each requires a Discover Pass which costs just $30 per year. Other than that, they are free to use.
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Free Dispersed Camping Near Olympic National Park
If you dont want to stay in the park, there are multiple free dispersed camping sites located in the Olympic National Forest. This is a great place to stay if you have pets, want to save money, or if youre looking for less rigid campground regulations.
Camping in the National Forest requires that you follow leave no trace principles such as packing out all of your trash. These campgrounds within the national forest are free and come equipped with vault toilets:
Kolob Reservoir Dispersed Camping
Summary BLM lakeside camping, roughly 20 minutes further up the road from Lava Point.
Pros Beautiful area with TONS of privacy. Youll find beautiful aspen tree groves surrounding the far end of the lake, making this area exceptionally beautiful during a lush, green spring or early summer season. No reservations are ever needed, and theres literally no limit to where you can set up a tent, so its a great backup option for a beautiful, open campsite if your other options fall through.
Cons No bathrooms or facilities whatsoever. Being quite a bit higher in elevation than the Zion valley floor, nights will be noticeably colder. Its also nearly a 45 min. drive each way from Hwy 9, adding quite a bit of extra time if youre trying to access Zion National Park early the next day. You wont find a single gas station along the way, so fill up in town before you make the trek.
Directions Continued from our last example, if you continue following Kolob Terrace Rd. all the way up , youll eventually run into Kolob Reservoir, where you can camp anywhere theres a dirt pull-out.
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Backcountry Campsites For Beginner Backpacking
Olympic National Park has hundreds of backcountry campsites on the edges and interior of the park. These sites require hiking into and carrying all necessary overnight gear. It helps to make these overnight endeavors for the first time with an experienced friend, but anyone is welcome to enjoy the Olympic Wilderness overnight. Backcountry reservations are required and can be booked six months in advance.
Olympic Peninsula Camping: West Inland
Klahanie Campground – Just east of Forks, WA, on the South Fork Calawah River.
- Closed for the 2019 season
- Primitive, summer only Tents, RV – max 21′ vault toilet no dump station No water
- US Forest Service: Klahanie Campground
Bogachiel State Park Campground – Just south of Forks, WA, on the Bogachiel River.
- Year round Tents, RV – max 40′ has dump station Potable Water Restrooms
- WA State Park: Bogachiel State Park
Minnie Peterson Campground – South of Forks, WA, on Upper Hoh Road
- Near Hoh River, primitive
Willoughby Creek Campground – South of Forks, WA, on Upper Hoh Road before entering the ONP Hoh Rain Forest. Situated literally on the bank of the Hoh River .
- Primitive, primarily day-use Tents self-contained RV camping allowed, max 16′
Hoh Oxbow – On Highway 101 south of Upper Hoh Road, in a bend of the Hoh River
- Forested, 8 campsites on Hoh River Primitive Vault toilet
Cottonwood – Forested, on the Hoh River just south of Forks, WA
- Year round Primitive Tents RV – max. 21′ No dump station
South Fork – On the South Fork Hoh River, south east of Forks, WA
- Year round Primitive 3 sites tents Toilet RV – max 21′ no dump station
Copper Mine Bottom – East of Kalaloch on Clearwater Road
- Year round Primitive Toilet Tents RV max. 16′, no dump station
Upper Clearwater– East of Kalaloch on Clearwater Road
- Year round Primitive Tents RV – max 21′ no dump station
Yahoo Lake – East of Kalaloch on Clearwater Road
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South Fork Hoh Campground
South Fork Hoh Campground is one of the best places for free camping near Olympic National Park.
Located just outside the parks boundaries, its an ideal basecamp for exploring the western section of the park. Its especially popular with those planning to hike the nearby South Fork Hoh Trail.
The campground is beautiful, primitive, and relaxing. The 7 campsites are all shaded and quite private. The Hoh River is just steps away.
Some of the campsites are suitable for RVs up to 30 feet. You must access the campground via a gravel forest service road, but this is generally well-maintained and suitable for all vehicles.
South Fork Hoh Campground has vault toilets. It has picnic tables and fire rings at each campsite. It doesnt have garbage service or potable water.
Steiner Flat Primitive Campground
The Trinity River is the longest tributary of the Klamath, and Steiner Flat gets campers can literally pitch a tent on its banks for no fee. Visitors can hike in the nearby Trinity Alps Wilderness or take to the river to swim, paddle, or even pan for gold. Theres no water at this site, but the BLM does maintain vault toilets.
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Olympic Peninsula Camping: South Side
These campgrounds are located on Lake Quinault, in the Olympic National Forest but not within the Olympic National Park:
Salt Creek County Park and Campground – On the beach near Joyce, WA
- Year round Tents RVs,big-rigs, pull-through sites, hook-ups Restrooms/Showers
- Clallam County: SaltCreek County Park
Lyre River Campground – On Hwy 112 near the Lyre River west of Joyce, WA
- Forested Year Round Primitive Tents RVs/trailers not recommended
- Potable water at one spigot at the north of the campground
Klahowya Campground – On Hwy 101 near the Sol Duc River west of Lake Crescent, WA
- Forested Summer only Tent RV’s up to 30-40′ Potable water vault and flush toilets
- US Forest Service: Klahowya Campground
Bear Creek Campground – On Hwy 101 east of Beaver WA and Lake Pleasant
- Forested Year round primitive Tents RV Toilets
In addition to Olympic Peninsula camping, see also: Olympic National Park Camping for those campgrounds within the Olympic National Park.
Other Places To Camp For Free On The Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic National Forest and DNR-managed land are far from the only places to camp for free on the Olympic Peninsula.
The Hoh River Trust is another excellent option, although its a trek to reach. Its a beautiful area though . Its best for tent camping as the unpaved road into the campsites is quite rough.
Additional options for RV boondocking can be had at the Walmart in Port Angeles as well as the Walmart in Sequim. As far as Im aware, overnight parking is still allowed at both locations, although its always wise to call ahead to double check.
Although its not completely free, boondocking at Quinault Beach Resort & Casino costs just $10 Sunday through Thursday .
Its located at the far southwest end of the Olympic Peninsula near Ocean Shores. The beach is just a short walk away from the overnight RV parking lot.
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First Second And Third Beach In La Push
Region: Olympic Peninsula
Transit route from downtown Seattle: Take the Bainbridge Island Ferry, then the Clallam Transit Strait Shot to the Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles. From there, take the 14 to Forks, then the 15 to the end of the line in La Push.
Travel time from downtown Seattle: Six or seven hours, based on catching the 9:35 a.m. ferry to Bainbridge Island from Colman Dock. Add an hour for Saturday trips. If you hurry, you can use your transfer time in Port Angeles to catch the 20 to the Olympic National Park visitor center for your wilderness camping permit .
Transit-accessible on weekends: Saturdays only.
Total transit fare: $34.50 round-trip .
Accommodations: While these beaches are technically backpacking trips, youre probably already packed for itand beach camping on First Beach is just a short walk away. To get a little farther out, hike an hour or two to Second or Third Beach. While it assumes driving, this rundown from REI has more information on the trip.
Region: Kitsap County
Transit route from downtown Seattle: Take the Bainbridge Island Ferry from Colman Dock, then take Kitsap Transit route 96 to the park. Its about 20-minute walk to the park.
Travel time from downtown Seattle: Roughly an hour and a half.
Transit-accessible on weekends: No, but if you dont mind a longer walk, Kitsap Transit Route 90 runs on Saturdays and stops an hour-long walk away, or its a 45-minute bike ride from the ferry terminal.
Where To Find Dispersed Camping In Washington
Public land, rest stops, parking lots, oh my! Washington has a wide variety of free campsites. Some are best suited for a quick nights sleep when youre passing through, but others are begging for you to settle in for a week or more and enjoy the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Washington earns its nickname of the Evergreen State honestlyit has a lot of trees! If you rely on solar, keep a close eye on our Campendium community reviews to ensure your chosen location has enough sun access to keep you charged up and ready to go.
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