Dispersed camping (or boondocking) is allowed inside Olympic National Forest. The forest allows camping just about anywhere and everywhere within its boundaries, though certain areas come with certain restrictions. Below are five of the most popular places for dispersed camping and free camping…
5 Dispersed Camping Sites in Olympic National Forest
Note: Make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations for dispersed camping inside Olympic National Forest. Read, “Olympic National Forest, Camping Rules“.
Forest Road 29 South
Perhaps the most well-documented of dispersed camping sites in Olympic National Forest, Forest Road 29 (FS-29 on Google Maps) is found in the Pacific Ranger District, in the north-west section of the Forest. The south portion of the road starts at the town of Forks and heads east, roughly following the Calawah and Sitkum Rivers. There are numerous dispersed camping sites you can pull into, some large enough for 40+ foot trailers while other small enough only for vans.
Forest Road 29 is well-packed and easy to drive along at least for the first several miles. About 7-8 miles in, its gets bumpy and rutted. Eventually it begins ascending a mountain and four-wheel drive becomes necessary. But within the first 5-6 miles you will find dozens of sites to choose from.
TIP: If you are towing a trailer, you may want to find a place within the first mile of the road to unhitch. Then you can drive further along the road to find a site and/or determine how far along the road you can go.
Starting GPS (47.9702, -124.4036) – Head east along Sitkum-Solduc Road. A little more than a mile in, turn right on to Forest Road 29 (FS-29). Don’t camp anywhere until you reach Klahanie Campground. At that point, you are now inside Olympic National Forest boundaries. Note that the Forest maintains a rule that dispersed camping is not allowed within 1/4 mile of a developed campground, thus you will have to camp at least that far further east from Klahanie.
Forest Road 29 North
The north portion of Forest Road 29 is often considered to be more friendly for larger RVs with pavement for a good portion until it turns to hard packed gravel. There are larger sites to be found here, and decent cell signal from Verizon and T-Mobile (none for AT&T).
Forest Road 29 North will eventually go all the way to the South portion of the road into town of Forks. However, this road ascends elevation, becomes more narrow and rocky, and more treacherous for larger RVs and trailers. If you want to explore the North portion of the road, it’s best to follow the directions above, and start at US-101.
Starting GPS (48.0639, -124.1096) – Head south along Cooper Ranch Road, and about 2,000 feet in, take another turn on Forest Road 29.
Beaver Lake Pullout
Beaver Lake also like in the Pacific Ranger District, in the extreme north-west portion of the Forest. It’s found along State Highway 113 (Burnt Mountain Road), about four miles north of Sappho.
All there is here is a 300 foot long pullout from the highway, with picnic tables at each end. It’s technically a developed campground because of the picnic tables, however you won’t find it mentioned on the Forest’s website. There are no camping fees; it’s completely free, but subject to Olympic National Forest’s rules for developed campgrounds (14-day stay).
GPS Location (48.1140, -124.2451)
Campbell Tree Grove Campground
While technically not dispersed camping, Campbell Tree Grove Campground is a free campground found in the Forest’s Hood Canal Ranger District. The Campground is located adjacent to the West Fork Humptulips River in a beautiful temperate rain forest. The Campbell Tree Grove itself is a stand of old growth which illuminates the distinctive features of Olympic National Forest.
Campbell Tree Grove Campground is found along Forest Road 2204, about 26 miles (nearly an hour’s drive) from the town of Humptulips. While it’s a long, bumpy drive in, this campground still remains as one of the most popular choices for free-camping inside the Forest.
Starting GPS (47.2672, -123.9182) – At the intersection of US-101 and Donkey Creek Road, head north-west on Donkey Creek Road. After 8.1 miles, turn left on to NF-2204. It’s another 13.9 miles to the campground.
Quinalt Ridge Road
Located in the extreme south-west of the Forest, Quinalt Ridge Road starts from US-101 and heads east into the mountains. Quinalt Ridge Road is ideal for small to medium sized rigs, or trailers less than 24 feet. It’s another well-used road for boondocking with several sites to choose from. But if you’re towing a larger trailer, you may find it difficult to get turned around.
If you’re towing a trailer 24 feet or longer, it’s a good idea to unhitch somewhere else just to investigate this road for campsites openings. There are many sites available along this road. There are a few ideal campsites within the first 1/4 mile of this road. If those sites are taken, there are several more up the road, however the road becomes more narrow. These sites further up the road are suitable for cars, vans, pickup truck campers, and trailers under 20 feet.
Starting GPS (47.3467, -123.9095) – At the intersection of US-101 and Quinalt Ridge Road (NF-2258), head east on Quinalt Ridge Road. You will be immediately into Olympic National Forest land. Any site large enough for your rig is free and legal for camping.
For Further Reading
- More articles about camping in Washington State
- Is it Legal to Camp Anywhere in a National Forest?
- How Long Can You Camp in a National Forest?