The BEST Olympic National Forest Camping

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Olympic National Forest located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is an incredible natural landscape with hundreds of thousands of acres to explore. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound and made up of stunning temperate rainforest and soaring mountains, a visit here is sure to amaze. The best way to experience this wonderland is to plan an Olympic National Forest Camping trip.

There are 17 Forest Service campgrounds scattered throughout as well as many opportunities for free, dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest. You’ll be able to camp next to stunning lakes, along the coast, or high in the mountains.

Regardless of your camping preferences, you’re sure to find the perfect campsite for your trip. We’ve put together this guide to help you pick the right campground for your next Olympic National Forest camping adventure!

Let’s get started.

Olympic National Forest Camping Guide

The Basics

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to plan an Olympic National Forest camping trip.  This includes everything from when to camp, what to bring, how to get there, and how to make a reservation.

This is the essential camping information before you head out!

For more information on dispersed camping in Washington check out our complete guide here.

When to Camp in Olympic National Forest

It is possible to camp year-round in Olympic National Forest, although the summer months from May – September are the most popular. During the winter you can expect cold, wet days where camping may not be the most pleasant. Many of the USFS campgrounds also close seasonally, so your only option may be dispersed camping during the off-season.

The higher elevations also get snow in the winter, making a camping trip that much more difficult.

However, summers on the Olympic Peninsula are stunning. You’ll enjoy the sunniest part of the year and long days. Campgrounds will be at their most crowded during July and August, but given the number of options you’re almost always likely to be able to find a campsite. 

Puget Sound


What to Bring

While we’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for Olympic National Forest camping:

  • Map: A good map is essential to making sure you are on public land, exploring the area, and learning more about your surroundings. We recommend this National Geographic map which covers the Olympic National Park as well as most of the National Forest.
  • Coleman Camping Stove – This classic piece of gear is perfect for cooking up deluxe campsite dinners.
  • Portable water container – A portable water container is a life saver while camping.
  • Cooler – Keeping food and drinks cool is critical when camping. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!

Permits, Fees, & Reservations for Olympic National Forest Camping

Out of the 17 developed campgrounds in Olympic National Forest all but three are first-come, first served. The three campgrounds that accept reservations are Falls Creek, Willaby, and Coho. These campgrounds can all be reserved via at the links below:

For dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest there are no permits or fees required, but we always recommend checking with the relevant USFS Ranger Districts (contact info in the next section) for the most up to date regulations.


Other Considerations

Olympic National Forest Campgrounds

Olympic National Forest has 17 developed campgrounds located throughout the forest. These campgrounds can be grouped together into distinct regions, which we’ve outlined below.

Your perfect campground will depend on what section of Olympic National Forest you’re hoping to explore, as well as your camping setup. Rest assured that there are great campgrounds available for tents, trailers, RVs, and everything in between!

The map below gives an overview of each campground’s location with more details included in the following sections.

Planning a Washington State road trip? Be sure to check out our other camping guides in the area:

Developed Campgrounds in Olympic National Forest

It can be a bit overwhelming to navigate all of your options for camping in Olympic National Forest. While we’ve included details on all the campgrounds in this guide, we’ve also highlighted some of our favorites below to help make your trip planning a little bit easier!

  • Best for Tent Camping: Dungeness Forks Campground
  • Best for RV Campers: Satsop Center Campground
  • Best for Solitude: Gatton Creek walk-in campground
  • Best for Families: Seal Rock Campground
  • Best Free Campsite in Olympic National Forest: Campbell Tree Grove Campground

Dosewallips Area Campgrounds

The Dosewallips area sits adjacent to the Hood Canal on the eastern edge of Olympic National Forest. Close to the town of the Quilcene, you’ll have two excellent campgrounds to choose from here. The Seal Rock Campground is one of the most popular in Olympic National Forest for its canalside location.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Falls View Campground 30 campsites Yes, up to 35′ $10/night Vault toilet
Seal Rock Campground 41 campsites Yes $18/night Drinking water, flush toilets
Map of the Seal Rock Campground in Olympic National Forest
Map of the Seal Rock Campground.


Duckabush Area Campgrounds

Moving inland from the Hood Canal you’ll find the Duckabush region of Olympic National Forest and the Collins Campground. This diverse area transitions from the coast all the way to Brothers Peak with an elevation of nearly 7,000′. The Collins Campground sits on the Duckabush River and is a good option for those seeking solitude.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Collins Campground 16 campsites Yes $14/night Vault toilets
Collins Campground sign
The Collins Campground in Olympic National Forest. Photo credit USFS.

Dungeness Area Campgrounds

Known as the driest area in Olympic National Forest, the Dungeness section is located in the far northeast section of the forest. There is one lone campground here, Dungeness Forks. This small campground has just 10 campsites and cannot accommodate RVs or larger trailers. This is a good option for those looking for a quieter, tent camping experience along two beautiful rivers.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Dungeness Forks Campground 10 campsites No $14/night Vault toilet


Forks Area Campgrounds

Located in the northwest corner of Olympic National Forest, the Forks area features two excellent campgrounds. Take advantage of hiking the Bogachiel Rain Forest Trail, which leads into Olympic National Park. For camping, the Klahanie Campground provides easy access to the town of Forks and is situated in a stunning old growth forest. The larger Klahowya Campground sits on the Sol Duc River, which offers tubing opportunities in the summer.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Klahanie Campground 20 campsites Yes $10/night Vault toilet
Klahowya Campground 56 campsites Yes $17/night Drinking water, flush toilets

Hamma Hamma Area Campgrounds

Tucked into the mountains on the east side of Olympic National Forest is the Hamma Hamma River Valley, which features three excellent campgrounds. This area of the forest is quite popular for its access to Mt. Skokomish, and also is one of our top picks for dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest.

The Lena Lake Campground is one of our favorite sites on the peninsula. You’ll have to hike in approximately 3.5 miles to reach the campground, but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful campsite in pristine wilderness.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Hamma Hamma Campground 15 campsites Yes, up to 21′ $14/night Vault toilet
Lena Creek Campground 13 campsites Yes $14/night Vault toilet
Lena Lake Campground (walk in site)  29 campsites No, hike in sites only   Free  Pit toilets
Lena Lake in Olympic National Forest
Lena Lake. Photo credit USFS.

Lake Cushman Area Campgrounds

The Lake Cushman area is located in the southeast corner of Olympic National Forest and is very popular for camping and water recreation on the reservoir. Big Creek Campground is the sole USFS campground in this area and features 64 campsites that can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs up to 36 feet in length.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Big Creek Campground 64 campsites Yes, up to 36′ $20/night Drinking water, Vault toilets

Quinault Area Campgrounds

A stunningly beautiful rainforest highlights the Quinault area of Olympic National Forest, located on the southern edges of the forest. There is excellent camping to be had here, highlighted by the free Campbell Tree Grove Campground. This is a tent only site that is a popular spot during the summer. In addition, there are three other campgrounds in the area that vary in size and facilities.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Campbell Tree Grove Campground 31 campsites No Free Vault toilets
Falls Creek Campground 31 campsites Yes $25/night Drinking water, flush toilet
Gatton Creek Campground (walk in site)  5 campsites  No, walk in only  $25/night  Vault toilet
Willaby Campground (Reservations recommended)  21 sites  Yes  $25/night  Drinking water, flush toilets
Old growth forest in Olympic National Forest Camping

Skokomish Area Campgrounds

Popular with hikers and mountain bikes, the Skokomish region in the southeast corner of Olympic National Forest has a single campground to choose from. The Brown Creek Campground features 20 sites adjacent to the Skokomish River. Several of the sites can accommodate RVs, and there are six sites that are open year-round.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Brown Creek Campground 20 campsites Yes $14/night Vault toilets

Wynoochee Area Campgrounds

You final option for developed campgrounds in Olympic National Forest is area surrounding Wynoochee Lake. You’ll have two campground options here with the larger Coho Campground located directly on the lake shore, and the Satsop Center Campground located up an adjacent valley. The Satsop Campground is one of the few that has RV hookups, so is a great option if that is amenity you’re interested in.

  Number of Sites RVs? Fee Facilities
Coho Campground 56 campsites Yes $20 – $25/night depending on site Drinking water, flush toilets
Satsop Center Campground 41 campsites Yes, full hookups available $20 – $25/night depending on site Drinking water, flush toilets, showers, RV hookups
Satsop Center Campground, Olympic National Forest
Satsop Campground. Photo credit USFS.


RV Campgrounds in Olympic National Forest

Of the 17 campgrounds in Olympic National Forest, 12 allow for RV camping. Each campground has specific length limitations, so be sure to check that ahead of your trip if you’re planning on camping in an RV. Additionally, a few campgrounds have hookups available, which we’ve outlined below:

  • Falls View Campground: 14 RV sites, including six pull through. Max length 35′. No hookups.
  • Seal Rock Campground: Larger RVs can fit at the site near the Hood Canal. No hookups.
  • Collins Campground: 10 sites can accommodate RVs. No hookups. 
  • Klahowya Campground: Max length between 30′ – 40′ depending on site. No hookups. 
  • Hamma Hamma Campground: Max length of 21′. No hookups. 
  • Lena Creek Campground: No hookups.
  • Big Creek Campground: 53 RV sites. No hookups.
  • Falls Creek Campground: 21 RV sites. No hookups. 
  • Willaby Campground: 19 RV sites. No hookups.
  • Brown Creek Campground: 12 RV sites. No hookups.
  • Coho Campground: 46 RV sites. No hookups, but dump station available.
  • Satsop Center Campground: 9 RV sites, six with full hookups. 


Olympic National Forest Dispersed Camping

For the adventurous campers out there or those simply looking to avoid the bustle of a developed campground, you’ll find some incredible free, dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest. 

Almost all of the Olympic National Forest is open to dispersed camping, provided you follow the USFS regulations:

  • Set up camp at least 200 feet from water sources.
  • Pick campsites that are screened from roads, trails, and other amenities.
  • Always choose an established dispersed site when possible. 
  • If camping in a previously undisturbed area (not recommended!) always return it to its original condition.

Dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest carries some additional Leave No Trace responsibilities compared to staying in one of the developed campgrounds.

Please always follow these principles when dispersed camping:

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare: Have an idea of where you’d like to camp and always be sure you are camping in an area that permits dispersed camping.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Never camp on fragile ground or create a new campsite.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack out all of your trash and bury human waste away from water sources. Ideally, carry out human waste or use a portable toilet.
  • Leave what you find: Never take anything from your campsite. Other than trash of course!
  • Minimize campfire impacts: Never create new fire rings and only have fires if permitted.
  • Respect Wildlife: Properly store food at all times and be aware of the area’s wildlife.
  • Be considerate of Other Visitors: Pack out your trash, don’t be loud, and leave your campsite in better condition than you found it.

You can read more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace camping here.

Also, don’t forget there are a few free campgrounds in Olympic National Forest:

For specific Olympic National Forest dispersed camping areas, see our top picks below:

Forest Road 29

Restrooms: No

The most popular dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest is along Forest Service Road 29 in the northwest section of the national forest. The road here has several dozen pull outs that make the perfect dispersed campsite and many can accommodate larger RVs and trailers.

The area linked on the map above is the largest and most popular camping area and is a good first option. Should you find it full, simply continue along the road looking for good campsites to pull off at.

This dispersed camping area is close to the Olympic Discovery Trailhead, which meanders along the Sol Duc River. 

Hamma Hamma River

Restrooms: No

The Hamma Hamma River Valley has some good dispersed campsites if you continue past the Lena Creek Campground along Hamma Hamma Road/NF-25. Not much more than simple pull outs, you’ll be close to the river as well the Lena Lake trailhead.

These sites are best suited to those camping in tent or with small vans, as it would be difficult to fit a larger rig or trailer in any of the sites.

Beaver Lake

Restrooms: No

Although not the most scenic dispersed camping option in Olympic National Forest, there is a small pull out just off Highway 113/Burnt Mountain Road adjacent to Beaver Lake that offers a few free campsites.

This is a convenient option for those road tripping around the Olympic Peninsula, but we’d recommend one of the other dispersed camping areas for those looking for a bit more solitude.

Quinault Ridge Road Dispersed Camping

Restrooms: No

Quinault Ridge Road is a popular Olympic National Forest dispersed camping destination on the south side of the forest. Located just off Highway 101, these sites are a convenient place to spend the night, but you’ll likely want to look elsewhere if planning to spend a few days camping in Olympic National Forest.

Access is easy here and many of the camping areas can accommodate larger rigs and trailers, although it does tend to fill up on summer weekends.

Hoh Oxbow Campground

Restrooms: No

The Hoh Oxbow Campground isn’t technically a dispersed campsite, but it is a smaller, free campsite that will likely appeal to those seeking a beautiful campground in Olympic National Forest. There are just 8 campsites here, all located adjacent to the stunning Hoh River.

The benefit of camping here is that you’ll be able to enjoy some basic facilities. The campground can also accommodate RVs, generally up to 30′ in length.

The one catch at the Hoh Oxbow Campground is that you’ll need to purchase a ‘Discover Pass’ to be able to camp here. For just $35 you’ll get access to tons of excellent Department of Natural Resources campgrounds on the Olympic Peninsula and beyond. A worthy investment in our opinion. 


Elkhorn Dispersed Camping Area

Restrooms: No

The final option for dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest requires a short, 1 mile hike to access. Known as the Elkhorn Dispersed Camping Area, this section of the forest sits along the Dosewallips River and has a peaceful and tranquil vibe.

There are no facilities here, so it is essential to pack out all of your trash and practice Leave No Trace camping principles. 


Have a great trip!

That’s it! We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan a great Olympic National Forest camping trip, and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!

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