Kalaloch Campground is located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Olympic National Park, on a high bluff adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. It is a good choice for those looking for Kalaloch or Ruby Beach camping. Although campsites are not directly on the beach, several of them overlook the water and there is beach access within the facility. The campground is large and set amidst a peaceful, coastal forest that thrives on the regions high annual rainfall. Rain or shine, it is one of the most visited areas of the park.
Kalaloch, meaning "a good place to land" in the Quinault language, has no shortage of natural areas to explore. The Pacific shoreline just below provides ample habitat for marine life: tide pools reveal crabs and sea urchins at low tide; sea otters float on the surface of submerged kelp beds; shorebirds nest on beaches; and whales and dolphins occasionally emerge offshore. Beyond the national parks 73 miles of coastline lie three national wildlife refuges and one marine sanctuary.
Near the campground and lodge, trails and steps descend about 40 ft. to the beach. There are several beaches, tide pools, scenic overlooks and trails to explore. The Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail is a mile-long walk through the forest along Kalaloch Creek, which drains into the ocean. There are accessible lookout points at Ruby Beach and Beach Trail 4.
Kalaloch camping is known for birding; species such as western gulls and bald eagles are frequently sighted. Visitors may even spot a puffin. Fishing and shellfish harvesting is allowed under state and park regulations.
Swimming is possible, however the Kalaloch area is known for large drifting logs that can pose a threat to swimmers as they wash ashore. Swimmers should also be aware of potentially dangerous rip tides.
Kalaloch Campground is a large facility with 168 campsites, including one group site and four accessible sites. Each site has campfire rings with grates and picnic tables. Food lockers and drinking water are available at campground loop restrooms. There are no hookups at this facility, though a dump station is available for a $5 fee. The nearest shower facility is nine miles away, and campers can purchase firewood and other goods at a nearby general store.
I camped Kalaloch the second week of July 2020. It was amazing. Here are some pointers:
It's pronounced Ka-LAY-loch. It's derived from the Native Quinault meaning "easy place to land" - as in "beach with no rocks". It's not Scottish Highlands, though it sounds like it.
I made advance reservations on the Recreation.gov website which illustrated this is one of the most difficult-to-land campground reservations in the country. Still, even at late notice, there are cancellations. I could only find single nights at different campsites which meant I had to move (tent camping) every day but it gave me a good overview. Highs were 59 degrees but I didn't feel chilly; I think the sand holds heat.
There is a walk-up cue line each morning in front of the rangers office in the parking lot starting about 9am taking a wait list for the current night. First come, first served. They ask you to return about noon to see if you've made it in and pay. Even though the campground was fully booked online they did manage to squeeze in a few each day. Any later in the day and I'm not sure you would have made it in though it of course depends on the season. Seven days max stays allowed and yes they do watch.
Obviously, the oceanfront sites are the most in-demand and hardest to land. People book (and pay) these months in advance and it is maddening to watch them sit empty overnight when the bookers don't show or cancel. I would say about 50% of visitors (week I was there) used RV's of one size or another; great for avoiding bad weather. Take a tarp to cover your tent in case of heavy rain. Campsitephotos.com shows every site at Kalaloch which is great.
The awesome beach is the star of the show, however. Accessed by fairly easy stairs, the words huge, wild, immense, spectacular might be used for starters. Even though the campground totally sold-out, I walked each day for miles without meeting others. I would highly recommend walking all the way North to Brown's Point to explore; it's a long way and yes, it's worth it. BE SURE TO READ TIDE TABLE posted on the board in the parking lot. You need to round a few points to get to the good stuff and need to know the incoming tide schedule. Plan in advance: DON'T round those points in an incoming tide.
I thought the most northern camp ring (D Loop) the most appealing but they all are good. Try to avoid camping closest to the highway, you will regret it. The A loop teens are all terrific sites. Camp rangers were friendly and kept place clean. Lots of families and aural drama (of course) but you're there for the beach. Walk South to the Lodge for ice cream cones in the general store (a mood-lifter). World's largest pine tree north on the highway 101 amusing. Ruby Beach was crowded with a steep trail and I opted for North Kalaloch areas. Dogs must be on leashes on the beach. Verizon service only on beach halfway out while standing on one foot…
Road to Forks long and twisty; no special need to go. If Kalaloch is full, popular oceanfront South Beach (no reservations) might be avail but get there early. Discuss ocean safety with your family and take seriously rip tides, floating logs (deadly), and dangers of not following tide tables. Sneaker waves are known to randomly come high up on beach, especially during winter. Never turn your back on the ocean.
Enjoy this hugely-beautiful place where the solids turn to liquids. It is ethereal and I've never seen such amazing sunsets: almost out-of-body experiences. So glad it’s a National Park. TuskPDX
We were lucky enough to book an oceanfront site after weeks of trying. It was definitely worth the effort! Easily our all time favorite place to camp. Gorgeous area, amazing beach. Clean bathrooms.
Very nice campground, right on the beach, but each campsite is nicely separated by trees and well kept forest growth. After a little climb over some driftwood there was a lot of beach to explore at low tide. Also an excellent place to watch the sunset.
A gorgeous campground! With many sites keep in mind that your neighbors and you will be aware of each other’s presence. With that said, if you get a coastal view (which is hard) you will have your privacy. Facilities were very clean and the beach was amazing!
This natural setting is beyond words. Otherworldly, the edge of civilization, windswept, utterly fresh. Campsites and bathrooms are fine, just, as if not to compete with the view. There are no hookups, but who cares when you are literally in paradise? The beach is like a dream. Wished so much that we had more time to explore…
The campground was chuckabluck full. We came at about 3:30 to see if there were any cancelled sites available on a first-come-first-served basis. I got in line, as the registration booth said “back at 5:15”. Soon there was a crowd waiting. Everyone was tense at first due to the competition for the unknown, but very friendly and encouraging.
Then, a miracle happened: a woman walked up to the crowd and said, “Are you all looking for a site for one night? I have ten pre-paid sites that were for my wedding guests - we got married here yesterday - does anyone want one?” We all raised our hands in utter shock, and she began doling out these free sights.
(Christina, I came by your campsite that evening to thank you with a nice bottle of Port, but you had already left. I hope you read this, you really blessed us! We will never forget your kindness and generosity! Congratulations on your wedding, in such a magical spectacular setting!)
We will definitely return as often as possible to this amazing place. (With reservations next time!)
Most campsites are woven in amongst old growth rainforest trees. Bathrooms are basic, no showers. Water spigots at bathrooms. Tent, rv camping allowed with some sites on the beach bluff overlooking the ocean. $22 for tent camping comes with fire ring and picnic table. There is a general store .5 miles away at the lodge.
Really loved camping here and being right on the coast. We had a fairly large site that had a decent amount of privacy, which was tucked back in the woods, but we could still hear the ocean. There are many sites that directly overlook the ocean, but I noticed those were much windier than those tucked back in the trees. Also keep in mind many of the sites in the campground are quite small, many of which looked like they could only accommodate a single tent. The site I was in luckily fit 2 tents easily. The campground features flush toilet bathrooms, water spigots, and dish washing areas. Be sure to take the trails that lead down to the beach, and you can even have a bonfire on the beach if you want! Overall this was one of my favorite places to camp!
Nestled between the highway and the ocean, this park is five stars for location, but three stars for the disparity in sites and limited bathroom facilities. But you can’t beat the price($11 with a senior lifetime pass or$22 without). Not all sites are created equal. There are six loops(A-F) and if you can score one with an ocean view in Loops A, D, E, or F), you are lucky(refer to the photo below to see which are the best sites). I reserved three months in advance(this is one of I believe two Olympic National Park campgrounds that are reservable) but the closest I could get was to hear the ocean, but two sites away from a view. That’s ok because I love falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. I also did not realize when reserving that our site(A9) was a handicapped site. The ranger assured us this was not a problem. It was an awkward site in that the picnic table was located very close to the parking space(and could not be moved). Additionally, I think it would be difficult for a handicapped person to navigate getting out of a vehicle to the site, given the concrete parking barriers. Some of the sites are very dark, some not quite level, and some in the A loop are right next to the highway and guaranteed to hear road noise. Supposedly many of the sites do not accommodate large RVs but I saw many (Our site, A9 would NOT accommodate a large RV). I cannot speak about the other bathrooms but in the A loop, there were only two stalls and one sink. No soap dispenser and only cold water. However, I only saw someone else in the bathroom once during our two- night stay. No showers or hookups but that is typical for national park campgrounds. There is a dump station for an additional charge. The best part about this park is the location: easy access to miles of gorgeous walkable beach. Nearly non-existent cell service (Verizon); every once in a while, we’d get a burst of service, but it would not last.
Try to get there early in the weekend so you can get one of the cliff side camp sites! Beautiful beach. Can get crowded quickly though.
Right on the ocean
Lots to do like any national park they have rangers and shows in the evening
And hikes all around with special hikes with rangers on low tide pools etc
Favorite place to camp
The sounds of the ocean make ya wanna sleep