Outdoors

Olympic National Park staff preps for busy summer season

As migrating birds wing overhead and wildflowers bloom in snow-free lowland forests, Olympic National Park staffers are working on spring cleaning and preparations for the busy summer visitor season.

“We’ve had an early spring at Olympic National Park, and we’re happy to see people already coming out to enjoy the warmth, sunshine and budding trees,” Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in a news release. “It’s still wintry at the park’s higher elevations, though, and no matter the elevation, visitors should always be prepared for changing conditions, as rain and even snow are possible at any time of year.”

Here is rundown of the key spring openings:

STAIRCASE: The Staircase Campground is open year-round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water). Drinking water and flush toilets will be available May 22-Sept. 28.

DOSEWALLIPS: 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: Deer Park Road and Campground are scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting. While most of the road is snow-free, drifts remain at the upper elevations. If conditions allow, the area might 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 open as weather and staffing allow. People should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current conditions and road status.

Beginning in early May, the road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or late spring snowstorms cause it to close temporarily.

The 1.5 miles of Hurricane Hill Road that lead 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 of more than 6,000 feet, sections of Obstruction Point Road are still covered with 4-5 feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas. The road is expected to open in mid-June, snow permitting. If conditions allow, it may open earlier.

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open weekends only beginning May 2 and running through June 7. The visitor center will be staffed daily beginning June 12. The snack bar and gift shop will be open on weekends May 3-18 and will be open daily beginning May 22.

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Heart O’the Hills Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

ELWHA VALLEY: The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the Boulder Creek Trailhead, unless road work or weather conditions close it temporarily. There is currently no access from the Olympic Hot Springs Road to Glines Canyon or the former Lake Mills, as construction of a new parking area and viewpoint continues. This area is expected to open this summer.

Whiskey Bend Road is closed to vehicle traffic at Glines Canyon Overlook, 1 mile above the intersection with Olympic Hot Springs Road. Winter rains caused a major washout that destroyed a 500-foot section of road. The road is open to foot, bicycle and horse travel, but all horse trailers must be parked and stock off-loaded at the Elwha picnic area. Horse trailers are not allowed on the Whiskey Bend Road because there is not a turnaround that will accommodate trailers.

The Elwha Campground is open year-round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water). Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated April 17-Sept. 14.

Altair Campground is closed until further notice because of damage and loss of campsites and roadway caused by high winter flows along the Elwha River. A timeline and plans for repairing and reopening the campground have not been completed.

LAKE CRESCENT: Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season on May 2 and will remain open through Jan. 1, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.

Fairholme Campground will open May 21-Oct. 5, with drinking water and flush toilets available. Beginning May 1, Fairholme General Store will be open Friday-Sunday through May 17. Beginning May 22, the store will be open daily through Sept. 7.

The Log Cabin Resort will be open May 22-Sept. 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping. The boat launch, dining room and store will also be available.

La Poel Picnic Area will open for day use on May 23.

SOL DUC VALLEY: The Sol Duc Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.

The Sol Duc Campground is open year round; drinking water and flush toilets will be activated on April 16.

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store.

HOH RAIN FOREST: The Hoh Rain Forest Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions close it temporarily. The Hoh Rain Forest Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is currently operating out of a temporary trailer while the main visitor center is under renovation. The center is open Friday-Tuesday and will be open daily June 17-Sept. 7. The primary visitor center is expected to reopen this spring.

PACIFIC COAST: Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette — the park’s road-accessible coastal destinations — are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads, except for the Beach Four parking area and trail, which are closed due to erosion damage.

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, will open May 15.

The Kalaloch Information Station will be open Tuesdays-Saturdays beginning May 19. Daily hours will begin June 16.

Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop.

QUEETS VALLEY: The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures. The Lower Queets Road is closed about a half-mile below Matheny Creek (one mile before the end of the road) due to road damage. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no potable water.

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 are also open. All Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day.

The Graves Creek Campground and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.

WILDERNESS INFORMATION CENTER: The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center, at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, is open daily from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and will be open from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning May 12.

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