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Olympic Backpacking Permits

Olympic Backpacking Permits

WILDERNESS CAMPING PERMIT OVERVIEW
Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park

Wilderness camping permits are required on all overnight trips throughout Olympic National Park. Take a look at the National Park Service’s wilderness map to determine where you want to spend your nights in the backcountry. Each permit has a fee of $8 per person per night, plus a $6 permit fee. Below we will go in to detail about how to get wilderness camping permits, when to make reservations, and everything else you need to know about getting permits for your next backpacking trip in Olympic National Park!

For the most success in getting the wilderness camping permit that you desire, you will want to:

  • 1. Do your research and plan an itinerary, then see if your planned itinerary can be reserved in advance, and know when you can start the application process.
  • 2. If you cannot get a reservation for the sites you want, try a first-come, first-served permit.
  • 3. Consider changing your itinerary, if you must. There are many, many incredible trails that are perfect for backpacking in Olympic National Park.
  • 4. Choose to go with a guiding company.

HOW AND WHEN TO MAKE A RESERVATION
Man Backpacking in Olympic

There is a quota for the number of group permits and individual backpacking permits available in each area of the park. All areas have a different quota, depending on the environment and the impacts that camping has on it. You can check the quotas for each areas at recreation.gov.

Areas where 100% of the permits are able to be reserved in advance include:

  • Ozette Coast
  • Royal Basin
  • Lake Constance
  • Upper Lena Lake
  • Flapjack Lakes

Areas where 50% of the permits are able to be reserved in advance, and the other 50% are available as first-come, first-served permits include:
  • Grand and Badger Valleys
  • Sol Duc/ Seven Lakes Basin/ Mink Lake
  • Hoh Lake and C.B. Flats
  • Hoh River Trail

Reservations can be made at recreation.gov, and open in March for the following year.

FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED PERMITS
Backpacking in Olympic National Park

The following areas keep 50% of the quota for walk-up permits, on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Grand and Badger Valleys
  • Sol Duc/ Seven Lakes Basin/ Mink Lake
  • Hoh Lake and C.B. Flats
  • Hoh River Trail

You can visit one of the Wilderness Information Centers, located in Port Angeles, Quinault, and Hoodsport, to try for a walk-up permit, or to pick up your permit reservation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Hiker in Olympic National Park

Although Olympic National Park isn’t known for it’s bear populations like other National Parks, there are still plenty of backcountry critters that could get into your food—ruining your trip, and ending their life. You are required to use either a bear canister to secure your food, a bear wire to hang your food or a tree—with the food hung 12 feet from the ground and 10 feet from the trunk. Bear canisters are available for rental at the Port Angeles or Quinault Wilderness Information Centers, and are required in Enchanted Valley, Sol Duc/ 7 Lakes Basin, Royal Basin and the entire Wilderness Coast.

In addition, make sure you are aware of the tides if backpacking along the coast. You can look at the tide predictions here.

Lastly, know that the weather can be variable and make sure you have rain gear, and layers. You can look at the current weather at Hurricane Ridge, the Quinault Rainforest and Rialto Beach. Below are the average temperatures and days of precipitation for the three locations:

Month Hurricane Ridge Quinault Rainforest Rialto Beach Days of Precip
Avg Hi Avg Lo Avg Hi Avg Lo Avg Hi Avg Lo
January 30°F (-1°C) 21°F (-6°C) 45°F (7°C) 35°F (1°C) 46°F (7°C) 35°F (1°C) 19 Days
February 29°F (-2°C) 17°F (-8°C) 47°F (8°C) 35°F (1°C) 48°F (8°C) 36°F (2°C) 21 Days
March 32°F (0°C) 19°F (-7°C) 51°F (10°C) 36°F (2°C) 51°F (10°C) 38°F (3°C) 19 Days
April 37°F (2°C) 21°F (-6°C) 56°F (13°C) 39°F (3°C) 55°F (12°C) 41°F (4°C) 17 Days
May 44°F (6°C) 28°F (-2°C) 63°F (17°C) 44°F (6°C) 61°F (16°C) 45°F (6°C) 13 Days
June 49°F (9°C) 32°F (0°C) 67°F (19°C) 48°F (8°C) 65°F (18°C) 49°F (9°C) 10 Days
July 57°F (13°C) 39°F (3°C) 74°F (23°C) 51°F (10°C) 68°F (20°C) 52°F (11°C) 6 Days
August 57°F (13°C) 39°F (3°C) 75°F (23°C) 52°F (11°C) 69°F (20°C) 52°F (11°C) 5 Days
September 51°F (10°C) 35°F (1°C) 69°F (20°C) 49°F (9°C) 66°F (18°C) 49°F (9°C) 8 Days
October 41°F (5°C) 29°F (-2°C) 59°F (15°C) 44°F (6°C) 57°F (14°C) 43°F (6°C) 14 Days
November 32°F (0°C) 23°F (-5°C) 49°F (9°C) 39°F (3°C) 50°F (10°C) 38°F (3°C) 20 Days
December 27°F (-2°C) 19°F (-7°C) 43°F (6°C) 34°F (1°C) 46°F (7°C) 35°F (2°C) 20 Days

LEAVE NO TRACE
Stunning Mountains in Olympic

Help preserve the wilderness for the backpackers that come after you by following the seven principles of Leave No Trace. These principles help create a safe trip for you as well as protect the land for other visitors and the wildlife that gets to call this landscape "home". Below are the ways you can leave no trace:

  • 1. Plan ahead and prepare
  • 2. Travel and camp only on durable surfaces
  • 3. Dispose of waste properly
  • 4. Leave what you find
  • 5. Minimize campfire impacts
  • 6. Respect wildlife
  • 7. Be considerate of other visitors

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

Join a Guided Hiking Adventure
Yosemite hiking tours

Olympic National Park is home to some of the most epic and amazing hiking vacations in the world. Wildland Trekking offers trips with the best of Olympic: the coast, the mountains, wildlife, solitude, adventure and fascinating natural and cultural interpretation.

Guided Olympic National Park treks are all-inclusive which covers permits, local transportation (excluded on certain tours), meals, equipment, safety systems, and professional hiking/wilderness guides; all of which allows visitors to maximize their time in Olympic and focus entirely on enjoying the Park.

OLYMPIC ADVENTURE TOURS

  • GUIDED BACKPACKING ADVENTURES: these are for people interested in an authentic Olympic National Park adventure away from the roads and crowds.
  • INN-BASED PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more!
  • CAMPING-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of the Olympic Coast on wonderful outdoor vacations.
  • DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day in Olympic National Park on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour on one of the Park's best trails.