Washington’s Olympic National Park is renowned for its diverse and dramatic scenery. From its rugged Pacific coastline to its glacier-capped peaks, the park possesses four distinct ecosystems, including lowland forests, temperate rainforests, and alpine meadows. It’s entirely possible to see each of these distinct areas, and much of the flora and fauna they have to discover, by visiting some of the park’s popular tourist destinations. The best location for this is arguably Hurricane Ridge, which can be accessed via Port Angeles. But the best way to immerse yourself in this abundance of nature is to go for a hike in the park and camp in the backcountry. In the Sol Duc region of the park, 40 miles west of Port Angeles, Deer Lake is a fairly easy overnight backcountry destination for roaming the park’s forests, or as a stopover en route to the High Divide and Seven Lakes Basin.
The backcountry camp area at Deer Lake offers a number of designated sites dispersed around the wooded lakeshore. The lake can be accessed via a 3.3-mile direct route from the Sol Duc Trailhead, or a 7.3-mile roundabout route from the Mink Lake Trailhead. Sites are primitive with no amenities, and campfires are prohibited. There is a backcountry privy and seasonal ranger station located in the area. Campers should exercise Leave No Trace camping practices, and store all food and scented items in bear-proof containers. The park has a limited quantity of containers available to borrow. Camping in the Olympic backcountry requires a wilderness camping permit. Permits can be reserved in advance, or acquired in person at one of the park’s Backcountry Information Centers. Overnight camping permits cost $8/person/night, plus a $6 fee.