A black-tailed deer springs over a stream near Moose Lake in the Olympic backcountry.

A black-tailed deer springs over a stream near Moose Lake in the Olympic backcountry.

Advanced Reservations for Wilderness Backpacking in Olympic National Park

  • Tue Feb 11th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

From Olympic National Park

The summer wilderness backpacking season is months away, but it’s time to start planning. Many of the most popular wilderness areas at Olympic National Park have limits for how many people can camp there on any given night.

For the best chance of securing reservations, start now — and keep these important tips in mind:

• Olympic National Park wilderness camping permit reservations are made online at Recreation.gov. The reservation system is on a rolling six-month window. This means that on Feb. 28, you can reserve a camp area for a trip starting as far out as Aug. 28. Each new date becomes available at 7 a.m.

• Once you book the first night of your trip, Recreation.gov will allow you to complete your itinerary even if the rest of the dates are beyond the six-month reservation period. But be forewarned: You cannot change the start date of your trip in this system unless you clear allthe dates and start again.

• If the sites you would like to reserve are not available on Recreation.gov, reserve the best trip you can. Inquire when you arrive if there are any cancellations or if any walk-up quota is available for your preferred location. That’s rare during the busy summer season, so plan the best trip possible now.

• Even if the campsites you are visiting do not have a maximum number of spaces available (non-quota), reserving your permit in advance will save you time when you arrive at the park to pick it up. Remember, you will still need to pick up your permit in person at a Wilderness Information Center before you begin your trip.

The park transitioned to the online reservation system last March. The new system allows backpackers to check the availability of sites in real time, plan their trip and receive immediate confirmation. It also has streamlined the park’s wilderness permit reservations.

For more information about wilderness permits and backpacking in Olympic National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm. It also pays to check that site regularly for road and trail closures and other factors that may affect your trip.

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Wilderness Information Centers

These three facilities are still closed for the winter, but will reopen with daily hours in the spring. In addition to backciuntry permits, these locations can provide current trail information and, depending on availability, loan out animal-resistant food canisters for safe storage.

Hurricane Ridge

Inside the Olympic National Park Visitor Center

3002 Mount Angeles Road

Port Angeles, WA 98362

360-565-3100

Quinault

Inside the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Ranger District office

353 South Shore Road

Quinault, WA 98575

360-288-0232

Hoodsport

Inside the Hoodsport Visitor Information Center

150 N. Cushman Road

Hoodsport, WA 98548

360-460-0087

 

Photos by Steve Ringman | The Seattle Times
                                Peaks surround the trail from Obstruction Point in Olympic National Park.

Photos by Steve Ringman | The Seattle Times Peaks surround the trail from Obstruction Point in Olympic National Park.

Violets grow between rocks that are pelted by cold, rain and wind on Grand Pass in Olympic National Park.

Violets grow between rocks that are pelted by cold, rain and wind on Grand Pass in Olympic National Park.

An Olympic marmot surveys its meadow near Moose Lake.

An Olympic marmot surveys its meadow near Moose Lake.