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Old 02-17-2020, 09:44 AM   #1
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2019 25' Globetrotter
Suffolk , Virginia
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Olympic National Forest

Dear Folks,

My wife and I are planning a trip in late April from Portland, Or (picking up our Globetrotter 25 from storage) and traveling for a few days to ONF.

Can anyone chime in on best route and campgrounds - also what not to miss?

We have never been in that part of the world before.


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Old 02-17-2020, 10:29 AM   #2
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Port Townsend , Washington
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While you say "ONF" did you also want to include the Olympic National Park? It has a bit more to offer and much of the Olympic peninsula the two are sort of indistinguishable, but both wonderful! (NF:National Forest, NP: National Park)
That said I would encourage circling the peninsula (Hwy 101 and the Hood Canal and the Pacific Ocean - come up one way and go back the other, either direction works fine.)
Highlights include Hood Canal (NF), the Hoh Rainforest (NP), spectacular semi-remote beaches-Ruby/Kalaloch etc. (NP), Lake Crescent (NP & NF), Hurricane Ridge (NP but not nearby camping with an AS), Lake Quinault.
Personal spots to stay include: Kalaloch CG, Klahowya CG, Salt Creek Rec Area CG (on the Straight of Juan de Fuca not the forest per se)
Other folks like: Hoh River CG, South Beach CG, Sol Duc CG, Dosewalips CG, Fairholme CG.
And I have to put a plug in for (home) Port Townsend and Fort Worden State Park, or nearby Fort Flagler SP.

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Old 02-17-2020, 12:17 PM   #3
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Yes - I did mean to include the Park.
How is the weather up there in later April/early May?
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:32 PM   #4
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We are considering a Fall trip to the ONP/ONF. What kind of weather could we expect?
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:15 PM   #5
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We were there last summer. We drove through several National Park campgrounds to check them out and it may be difficult or impossible getting a 25 in most of the campsites. At the time we were pulling a 25 FC and really didn't see a spot we thought we could fit in. There are a few spots where you would fit if they are available. All were taken when we were there. But just keep in mind the NP campgrounds are older campgrounds and built for smaller trailers. Lots of big trees to negotiate. More for tent and pop up camper type camping or small trailers. Double check each campground before you go and talk to the rangers. I think many of them are first come first serve. The campgrounds are beautiful though.

A couple of places we camped that were not NP were Dosewallips State Park and the Evergreen Coho SKP park. Dosewallips was a very nice state park that had great paved sites plenty long and full hook ups. There is a herd of elk that passes through the park regularly. We liked it a lot. The Evergreen Coho SKP park is OK for a few nights. If you're in Escapees it is a good deal rate-wise. But their short term camping sites are on a large gravel area where you may be parked in-between a couple of gynormous Class As and you can't have a camp fire. The kind of place where there are a lot of folks that basically live there. A few very "permanent" looking setups. Doesn't feel like camping at all. The problem with both of these places is that they are on the east side of the Peninsula and a long drive to the west side sights.

We stayed at a small commercial park in Forks for a few days so we'd be closer to the places we wanted to visit, but we can't really recommend it.

Good luck and enjoy the area. It is absolutely gorgeous. You will need more than "a few days". There is just too much to see. Drive the 101 all the way around the OP. Visit the Hoh Rainforest and hike the paths. Hike along Rialto Beach at sunset. Drive up to Hurricane Ridge if the weather is clear.

By the way, on our drive from Portland to the OP we stayed at Hudson Parcher county park in Rainier, Or. Was a nice place to camp. Small meandering campground with lots of mature trees.

Steve Jones
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by LBelle View Post
... I would encourage circling the peninsula (Hwy 101 and the Hood Canal and the Pacific Ocean - come up one way and go back the other, either direction works fine.)
I've lived in this part of the country all my life, have made many trips there. I do agree with LBelle above, but wish to point out that if you make 'the circle route', then you go South along the coastal part. If you go North that way, there are far fewer pullouts for places to snap pictures or just to stop for lunch. And the places you do find, seldom have views or easy re-entry into traffic.

If you're getting nothing but rain and want a day or two out of it, stop in Sequim (pronounced 'skwim'). They are in the rain shadow of the Olympics and there is very little rainfall. There's also a dry-camping park nearby that's not bad when it's not crowded.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:19 AM   #7
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Might want to check out Kalaloch GC. Spring can be a little damp.
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:54 PM   #8
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The weather on the peninsula varies quite a bit (Port Townsend & Sequim are in a rain shadow and get 15 - 18" of precipitation annually while on the west side Forks gets right at 100!) But Spring and Fall can be quite nice. It would be chancy to depend on nice weather anytime after October 1st but that is when we often make a coastal trip.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:06 PM   #9
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We live nearby, on the Kitsap peninsula, and love Fort Worden and Fort Flagler. Reservations are a must for Fort Worden year round, but you may find some space at Fort Flagler. (Our avatar is from Fort Flagler, last January.)

The Hoh NP campground was closed for a time, as there was flood damage to the road leading into the park. Definitely check the National Park website, which says it is back open now:

We do like the campground that Steamguy mentioned, in Sequim. It is a Clallam county park, Dungeness County Park, which sits next to the Dungeness spit, the longest natural sand spit in the US, at 5.5 miles. Makes for a nice hike out to the lighthouse.

And, we find ourselves going back to Salt Creek campground three times this year. Nice park, just outside Port Angeles. Check out the Olympic Discovery Trail, if you want a nice walking, biking trail.

See you out there!

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