Here's a link to an excellent article with lots of information for camping with kids. It includes What to Pack, Safety tips about the weather, animals, fire and getting (or not getting) lost. This article is from the aaastateofplay.com website and was suggested to us by Nicole, a middle school student from Colorado. Thanks Nicole!
From Douglas Scott from rootsrated.com
Olympic National Park, the 5th most visited park in the United States, is amazingly still left off the list of many visitors to Washington State. Just a few hours from Seattle, Olympic National Park gives visitors a chance to explore glacier capped mountains, rain forests, and beaches, all within the park boundaries. Called three parks in one by nearly all who visit, a trip to Olympic National Park is a nature experience you’ll never forget. While many know of Olympic National Park, few who haven’t visited the region understand what makes it such a sought after destination for hikers, adventurers, families and road trippers from around the world. So, here are 8 reasons to explore Olympic National Park.
At 1,442 square miles in size, Olympic National Park is larger than Rhode Island by 200 square miles, over half the size of Delaware, nearly twice as large as Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and 300 square miles larger than Yosemite. One road surrounds the park and to drive around the entire park takes nearly six full hours with no stops. Olympic National Park is also home to 49 peaks over 6,500 feet, many of which are rarely climbed due to difficult terrain and isolation. Over 600 miles of trails are waiting to be explored and enjoyed, the majority of which are designated wilderness by the National Park Service.
Olympic National Park is home to 266 glaciers spread throughout the park. Blue Glacier, located on Mount Olympus, is 2.6 miles long and is estimated to be the size of 20 trillion ice cubes.
Read More: http://exotichikes.com/olympic-national-park-the-land-of-glaciers/
There is a common misconception about the Olympic National Park. While the region is known for amazing rain forests, incredible mountain peaks, gorgeous beaches and salmon stocked rivers, few people actually come to visit the park for its wide range of animals. Usually, if people want to see wild animals they travel to Yellowstone National Park. However, before you make that trek, check out the amazingly abundant wildlife right here on the Olympic Peninsula.
From the Roosevelt elk, which are the bases for the founding of the Olympic National Park, to the marmots, slugs, flying squirrels and salamanders that are endemic to the Olympic Peninsula, the region is alive with hundreds of different animals.
The Animals of the Hoh Rainforest: http://exotichikes.com/the-animals-of-olympic-national-parks-hoh-rainforest-a-video/
The beaches of Olympic National Park are some of the best in the world, but not for those who like to lay on pristine sections of coast with warm waters. Olympic’s beaches are rocky, craggy, full of sea life, and provide amazing hiking opportunities. Complete with some of the most picturesque sea-stacks in the world, these beaches make for great storm watching on rainy days and amazing hiking on sunny days. Depending on the season, whales, both gray and Orca, are visible from every beach. From LaPush to Shi Shi and the popular Ruby Beach, each and every visitor that sets their sights on the Washington Coast will fall in love with it. Whether you are looking for a day hike, a backpacking trip, or an amazing place to catch the sunrise, few places compare to the Pacific Coast of Olympic National Park.
See more on beaches: http://exotichikes.com/olympic-national-park-rainforest-and-beaches/
Technically, the western edge of Olympic National Park is one rainforest, but locals have broken these rainy, temperate forests into three distinct rainforests; the Hoh, Queets, and Quinault.
The Hoh Rainforest is the most famous, with moss-covered trees, short and flat hiking trails, and over 120 inches of rain falling annually. Bobcat, bear and elk can be seen along creeks, gorging themselves on salmon who’ve returned to their spawning grounds upstream. For the more adventurous, the Hoh Rainforest is where you can summit the tallest peak in the park, Mount Olympus.
The Queets rainforest is the most remote and less visited rainforest region in Olympic National Park. With up to 140 inches of rain, the Queets Rainforest is where every drop of rain falls before the clouds off the Pacific Ocean rise of the mighty Mount Olympus. If you want to be alone in a rainforest, this is where you must go.
The Quinault Rainforest is one of the classic destinations for tourists looking to get away from the more popular Hoh Rainforest region. With 120 inches of a rain a year, this wet, damp, moss-covered forest is home to black bears, salmon, eagles, waterfalls and incredible backpacking trips, exploring the Quinault Rainforest should be at the top of everyone’s list.
6. Lakes, Rivers and Waterfalls
Olympic National Park consists of water, so the rivers, lakes and waterfalls of the region serve as the life-force. High alpine lakes, like Lake of the Angels and the Seven Lakes Basin region are sought after hiking and backpacking destinations. If isolated lakes aren’t what you enjoy, Lake Crescent and Lake Quinault are fantastic lakes in the park. Lake Crescent, near to great hiking, kayaking and camping is the second deepest lake in Washington State, estimated to be over 1,000 feet deep in places. Lake Quinault isn’t nearly that deep, but it is home to great views, a classic old lodge, and it’s close to the mountains, the rainforest and the ocean.
The most famous rivers of the region are the Hoh, the Elwha, the Quinault and the Queets, but many smaller rivers also support life. With a healthy salmon population, the rivers are popular with anglers of all abilities, but fishing in the park is not allowed. The rivers in the park are wild, carving canyons through rugged terrain and creating breathtaking and remote waterfalls. Service Falls, along the Queets River, has yet to be explored on foot, thanks in part to a prohibitive 200 hundred foot canyon.
The waterfalls of Olympic National Park are hands-down, some of the most beautiful waterfalls you will see. With over 100 inches of rain falling throughout the majority of the park, water seems to be flowing from everywhere, cascading down every nook and cranny. From the iconic three tiered waterfall of Sol Duc to the beautiful roadside falls of the Quinault and everything in between, if you love waterfalls, you will love the Olympics.
More Waterfall info: http://exotichikes.com/top-10-waterfalls-around-olympic-national-park/
It is hard to imagine hiking anywhere more beautiful than Olympic National Park, and once you step foot on the over 600 miles of trails, you will get hooked. From low land hikes along gorgeous beaches and dense rainforests to summiting isolated peaks or walking along treeless ridges that allow you to see to the ends of the earth, the views and experience one gets from hiking the Olympics are arguably some of the best in the nation. Other parks may have good beach trails, or great hikes along rivers or lakes, but Olympic has it all.
Some of the best summer hikes for visitors:http://exotichikes.com/ten-summer-trails-everyone-needs-to-hike-around-olympic-national-park/
Olympic National Park is one of the most isolated places in America, home to the ‘Quietest Square Inch in the States’. While some trails can get crowded by local standards, visitors who have experienced the masses at Yosemite, Yellowstone or the rim of the Grand Canyon will feel isolated and far removed from society. With Seattle being hours away, few take the time to hit the trails in Olympic. Aside from a few summer days, only the heartiest of visitors will venture further than a half mile down the trails of the region, letting you have the majority of the park to yourself year round.
Douglas Scott from rootsrated.com
Washington Trails Association has written this overview of hikes throughout the Olympics. Click here. Thanks WTA!
The Deer Park Road and campground will open Tuesday, June 10. The nine-mile road is open as far as the campground. The last short section of road above the campground remains closed due to erosion damage and is expected to open by the end of the week.
Visitors are advised to use caution while driving this winding gravel road, particularly over the coming week when heavy equipment will be operating along the road. A road grader will work on improving the road’s gravel surface this week.
The campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water.
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 open. Sections of the eight-mile long Obstruction Point Road are still snow-covered. Park staff hope to open the first three miles to the Waterhole area by end of this month.
For more information about visiting Olympic National Park and current conditions of park roads, campground and other facilities, consult the Olympic National Park website at www.nps.gov/olym.
Sequim Gazette - June 10, 2014
Excerpted from Andy Perdue, the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine and wine columnist for The Seattle Times. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com..
You won’t find many grapes, but you will find a lot to love while wine touring the scenic Olympic Peninsula.
The northwestern corner of Washington is best known for majestic mountains, wondrous waterways and amazing forests and streams. It is one of the most beautiful regions anywhere, and now it is wine country, too.
If you are looking to spend a long weekend tasting wine around the peninsula, you are in luck because it naturally lends itself to three days of touring. We will start in the southern peninsula around the town of Shelton, move up to the Kitsap Peninsula, then head north to the communities that border the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You can, of course, do this in any order you wish.
Northern Olympic Peninsula
The Victorian town of Port Townsend is on the Quimper Peninsula. From there, you can head west to sunny Sequim, which is in a rain shadow and gets only about 18 inches of rain per year. From there, you’ll continue on Highway 101 to Port Angeles, which is the biggest town on the peninsula and is across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria, British Columbia.
Several wineries have found homes on the Olympic Peninsula. Here is a sampling of what you’ll find.
— Marrowstone Vineyards. Based on Marrowstone Island southeast of Port Townsend, this is a working winery and vineyard producing wines using local and regional grapes. 423 Meade Road, Nordland, 360-385-5239.
— FairWinds Winery. Owner Micheal Cavett has been running this small winery for more than a decade in the outskirts of Port Townsend. He is one of the few wineries still crafting Lemberger, and he also makes Cab, Merlot, Gewürztraminer and a delicious dessert wine called Port O’Call. 1984 W. Hastings Ave., Port Townsend, 360-385-6899.
— Wind Rose Cellars. In downtown Sequim, winemaker David Volmut has created one of this town’s hot spots, with a winery, wine bar, food and jazz club. The wines are primarily Italian varieties. 143 W. Washington St., Sequim, 360-681-0690.
— Olympic Cellars. This winery on Highway 101 near Port Angeles started in 1979 as Neuharth Winery. It is housed in a century-old barn. 255410 Highway 101, Port Angeles, 360-452-0160.
— Camaraderie Cellars. Along a tree-lined road south of Port Angeles, Camaraderie is owned and operated by Don and Vicki Corson. They craft some of the finest wines anywhere, using grapes from top Columbia Valley vineyards. They have built a beautiful winery in a gorgeous and secluded location, a perfect place to relax and enjoy wine and nature. 334 Benson Road, Port Angeles, 360-417-3564.
— Harbinger Winery. While she was winemaker at Olympic Cellars, Sara Gagnon survived a plane crash in Olympic National Park. She decided to live life to the fullest and launch Harbinger, the northwestern-most winery in the continental United States. She crafts more than a dozen wines and also has beer on tap at her winery. 2358 W. Highway 101, Port Angeles, 360-452-4262.
Ciders are becoming a big deal in the Northwest, and if you’re interested in trying some, check out Alpenfire and Eaglemount in Port Townsend and Finnriver in Chimacum.
Where to eat
Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles all offer many dining choices. Here are three to consider:
— Bella Italia. Long before Twilight was written, Bella Italia was a favorite restaurant in Port Angeles. It has since been featured in the novel and movie, perhaps coincidentally because its name matches the heroine’s. 118 E. First St., Port Angeles, 360-457-5442.
— Silverwater Café. Open since 1989, Silverwater is near the waterfront in Port Townsend. It features Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired cuisine with a Northwest twist. 237 Taylor St., Port Townsend, 360-385-6448.
— Alder Wood Bistro. This is more than just another restaurant. It’s a destination for foodies who care about local, organic, wood-fired cuisine. And it offers a terrific wine, cider and beer list. 139 W. Alder St., Sequim, 360-683-4321.
The northern Olympic Peninsula has no shortage of things to do. You can explore downtown Port Townsend, head to Fort Worden State Park near Port Townsend (where the film An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed), hike the Dungeness Spit near Port Angeles, golf the many courses in and around Sequim or head to Hurricane Ridge south of Port Angeles for hiking.
Looking for an unusual adventure? Sara Gagnon, owner of Harbinger Winery, also owns Adventures Through Kayaking, and you can go kayaking, rafting or mountain biking with her or her partner, Tammi. It’s next to the winery on Highway 101. Call 360-417-3015.
From the Sequim Gazette - May 27, 2014
As migrating birds return and wildflowers bloom in the lowland forests, employees at Olympic National Park are turning their attention to spring cleaning and preparations for the main visitor season.
“Spring is a great time to experience Olympic National Park and we invite people to come out and enjoy the warmer temperatures and sunshine,” park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said. “Visitors always should be prepared for changing conditions, as snow is possible any time of year at the park’s higher elevations and weather can shift rapidly.”
The Staircase Campground is open year-round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.) Drinking water and flush toilets will be available during the summer season through Sept. 29.
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 Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting. While most of the road is snow-free, the upper elevations are not. 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 generally open 24 hours a day through the spring and summer, unless road work or late spring snowstorms cause it to close temporarily. Park crews will work on several projects in late May and early June, leading to morning road closures on some week days as described in an earlier news release.
Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 miles 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 still are covered with four to five feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas. This road is expected to open in mid-July, snow permitting. If conditions allow, it may open earlier.
The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is staffed weekends through June 8 and will be staffed daily beginning June 13. The snack bar and gift shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open on weekends and began daily operations on May 23. Check www.olympicnationalparks.com for more information.
The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year-round with drinking water and flush toilets available.
The Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed just beyond the Altair Campground to allow safe removal of the Glines Canyon Dam.
Dam removal is scheduled for completion this September. Following dam removal, park road crews will install visitor safety fencing at the canyon edge and improve parking facilities, during which time the road will remain closed to all entry. All sections of the Olympic Hot Springs Road are anticipated to open in late 2014.
Whiskey Bend Road generally is open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.
The Elwha Campground is open year-round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.) Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated for the summer through Sept. 15.
Altair Campground will be open through September, with drinking water and flush toilets.
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 www.raftandkayak.com for more information.
Lake Crescent Lodge is open for the season and will remain open through Jan. 1, 2015, 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 this summer through Oct. 6, with drinking water and flush toilets available. Fairholme General Store is open Friday-Sunday. The store is open daily through Sept. 2.
The Log Cabin Resort will be open through Sept. 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store. More information is available at www.olympicnationalparks.com.
La Poel Picnic area opened for day use on May 24.
Sol Duc Valley
The Sol Duc Road generally is open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.
The Sol Duc Campground and the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are open for the season.
The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store. More information is available at www.olympicnationalparks.com.
Hoh Rain ForestThe Hoh Rain Forest Road generally is 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 now staffed Friday-Tuesday and will be open daily from June 18-Sept. 1. The visitor center will close Sept. 2 to allow for major renovations to the 1950s-era building and restrooms.
The visitor center is expected to reopen by spring 2015. Additional details about this facility improvement project will be released soon.
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 no potable water in the campground, however, water is available nearby. South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, has been open since May 16.
The Kalaloch Information Station is now open Thursdays-Mondays and will be staffed daily from June 18-Sept. 28.
Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop. For more information, check www.thekalalochlodge.com.
The Olympic National Forest & Olympic National Park Recreation Information Center formerly located in the Forks Transit Station has been closed due to budget reductions.
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.
Quinault Rain Forest
The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open. The Graves Creek and North Fork roads also are open. All Quinault area roads typically are open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions.
The Graves Creek Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.
Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center, at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, is open daily from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information Center within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions. Information also is 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.
From the Northwest Traveler at the Seattle Times 5/21/14
Several feet of snow remain on the ground beginning at elevations above 3,000 feet, but Olympic National Park is adding a number of “open” signs to campgrounds and other facilities starting this Memorial Day weekend.
The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is staffed weekends through June 8 and will be staffed daily beginning June 13. The visitor center’s snack bar and gift shop, which have been open weekends only, begin daily operations May 23.
Lake Crescent Lodge opened for the season May 2 and will remain open through Jan. 1, 2015, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop. Lodges at Kalaloch and Lake Quinault are open year-round.
Park officials encourage visitors to stop by or call (360-565-3100) the Wilderness Information Center located within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center (3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles) for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions. Information is also available at the park’s website.
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.
From The News Tribune 1/26/14
Big Creek Campground and adjacent trails in Olympic National Forest will close in early February for approximately nine months. The closure is necessary to ensure public safety while timber harvest operations and campground upgrades are underway.
The following trails will be closed while the work is in progress:
• Big Creek Campground Trail No. 827. The closure includes the entire length of this 1.1 mile loop trail.
• Upper Big Creek Loop Trail No. 827.1 (east side). The closure includes the east side of the upper loop trail from the Big Creek Confluence Trail No. 827.3 to the Big Creek Campground Trail No. 827.
An alternate route, located off of Forest Service Road 24 on the west side of Big Creek Campground, will allow visitors to access the west side of the Upper Big Creek Loop Trail No. 827.1, and the Mount Ellinor Connector Trail No. 827.2.
Work on the campground includes creating a new tent camping area, new group camping sites with picnic shelters and fire rings, additional RV sites, a host site, new toilets, new picnic tables, new kiosks, a new accessible trail, additional parking and a water distribution system. The campground improvements are funded through the 2009 Cushman Hydropower relicense project. The closure is expected to last until November. “This closure creates a temporary inconvenience but the public can look forward to many new campground amenities,” Dean Yoshina, Hood Canal District ranger, said in the news release. The campground, located 9 miles northwest of Hoodsport near Lake Cushman, currently has 22 campsites. Also nearby is the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park.
For additional information about this project or the related closures, contact the Hood Canal Ranger District at 360-765-2200.
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/01/26/3012502/allows-for-upgrades-olympic-forest.html#storylink=cpy
Here's an excellent article on what to see and do with your family in Port Townsend. Click Here.
Reservations Available for Olympic National Park Wilderness Overnight Camping - Olympic Camping and Vacation Rentals
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Reservation requests for the 10 park wilderness camping areas that have quotas will be accepted by fax or postal mail only beginning April 1st. Phone or email reservation requests are not accepted and reservations are recommended for 10 popular camping areas within the park that have overnight-use limits — or quotas — which are in effect from May 1 to Sept. 30.
The areas are Ozette Coast, Royal Basin/Royal Lake area, Grand Valley and Badger Valley area, Lake Constance, Upper Lena Lake, Flapjack Lakes, Sol Duc/Seven Lakes Basin/Mink Lake area, Hoh Lake and C.B. Flats, Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows, and group and stock campsites along the Hoh River Trail. Camping is permitted only in designated sites within these areas and reservations for camp areas without overnight-use limits are not needed and will not be accepted.
Permits for these areas are not limited and may be picked up at a permit office just before a hike. Wilderness camping permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park backcountry areas. Permits are $5 for a group and an additional $2 per person per night for those 16 or older. The full permit fee will be charged for all reservations and the fee is nonrefundable.
Reservations can be submitted by fax or mail using the form at http://tinyurl.com/crwsuf7 and additional information is available at http://tinyurl.com/cuufl29.
Olympic Camping Rentals is committed to offering quality camping packages and superior service. We love camping and want to help others, regardless of experience, to have wonderfully memorable camping experiences. We believe that you should be as comfortable as possible while on a camping trip and have chosen the gear that we offer our customers accordingly. We will work directly with our customers to help them choose their gear and destinations to best suit their needs.