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Accessible from only human powered or wind powered boats (or if you are really ambitious, at super low tide, you can wade over from Pearl Island). Reservations are required to camp in either of the two group sites. I was here with a group with a kayak outfitter on a multi-day trip. The island is really small- only one acre! There is no water here (ironic when you are surrounded by water), and you need to pack out your trash (there is a compost bin), but there is a vault toilet (pretty smelly, but better than nothing!). There are a few trees you can hang a hammock from, but not many. We had to paddle to Pearl Island to scrounge for driftwood for a fire. We were there just before the fourth of July, so we were able to see some local fireworks, and of course there was lots of sea plane noise during the day. Saw some harbor seals and lots of birds, and saw bald eagles on the paddle over.
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Once entering one of the most iconic areas of Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge, you are are welcomed with open arms to the Heart O’ The Hills Campground, a beautiful primitive camp nestled only a few short miles from the ridge itself.
The first taste of Olympic from this direction, the campground is the perfect retreat for a day or even a week for those wanting to explore the many trails and features within a short driving distance of the northern entrance.
I had the privilege of visiting this location on my lengthy trip to the Pacific Northwest and as a Ranger For the Dyrt was given the unique opportunity to share not only my experience but also a special product by Banner and Oak which made my adventures within the park even better.
Heart O’ The Hills is a quiet location just south of the Port Angeles area and a few miles within the entrance gate. There are no reservations available for this unique campground so early arrival is suggested on weekends, especially during peak season.
I visited on a weekday in late fall and noticed there were numerous spots available to choose from. Empty sites are easily located by visiting the pay kiosk near the main restrooms of camp, here there is a paper slip system of making occupied spaces, very similar to that of the ones they use by the National Seashores.
Pricing for this camp is very reasonable at only$20 per night, or for those with the Senior Interagency Pass only $10. Unlike many kiosks which accept only cash you can make payment at this location by check as well which allows you an additional option. However keep in mind there are no credit card payments accepted!!
When I explored the camp I noticed two main styles of camping were available, smaller sites which catered to single vehicles and tent campers and larger sites which could easily accommodate larger rigs or double occupancy car groups. While there is a limit of 8 people per site, these larger sites would not feel crowded with 8-12 people in most instances.
Sites are equipped with standard amenities of picnic tables and fire rings. Throughout camp there are bear boxes with shared access for many sites. Additionally, I found that while this is considered to be a primitive campground there are water spigots located every few sites for shared usage. There is no electrical hook ups and at the time of my visit the restrooms were closed temporarily, with port-a-pottys instead located at this area.
Unfortunately by the closure of the restrooms I was unable to determine if there were electrical outlets or even showers at the this campground which did weigh heavily on my mind when staying here. I really wish I would have known, because those two features could take the stay from a great one to an extraordinary stay.
Just beyond the C loop of camp the Heart O’ The Hills Forest Trail can be found. The first of many trails you will want to explore at the park, this trail allows you a glimpse at the beautiful forest around you. Though this trail is nor ADA for those able to walk on slightly uneven ground this trail is one you will not want to miss.
Taking a walk down this trail it was so peaceful and I easily could have lost track of time just discovering the larger than life mushrooms, the massive ferns and the trickling streams around me, a far different setting than my native Texas home.
- Firewood is available at this location only seasonably. Should you arrive at camp and wood not be available you can return to the community of Port Angeles and pick some up for a reasonable price point.
- If you are going to be staying in this area and are not prepared for bear country, stop at the visitor’s stop when you come into the park and ask about their bear cans.
- In an effort to conserve paper, the park is working toward going paperless when it comes to maps, if you happen to be visiting this area download the online maps to your smart phone before visiting or take a photo when stopping at one of the visitor centers.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I am often given the unique opportunity to try products in the field which might add value to the camping and exploring experience as a whole. I was very fortunate to be able to evaluate some of the many items from the Banner& Oak Company along this adventure.
For this adventure I took the Pike solid back panel construction hat for a trip around the campground. I personally love hats and find them to be a travel must for men and women for a variety of reasons. On cool days they allow you to keep your body heat from escaping through your head, which is the area of our bodies which allows the most to escape. On a sunny day, a hat can keep you from getting to much glare or help with sunburn on your sensitive scalp region. A hat is a must for all travel.
The Pike is a hat which was named from the infamous Pike’s Peak in Colorado. It’s sturdy construction allows for comfort and coverage while allowing adjustability through a snapback.
On a more personal level, I found the hat to have great overall feel to it. The material used was perfect for the slight chill in the air and being able to secure the hat through adjustments came in handy as I moved from the calm of camp to the winds of the Hurricane Ridge. The olive color fit my personal style well, and while they do have other color options in the Pink including charcoal and maroon, the green tone feels very outdoorsy.
- Do not be afraid to shop both the mens and women’s sections for different designs. When doing so make sure you check the sizing but keep in mind some styles might suit your style more from your not standard shopping section.
- Hats are one of the more essential travel items so finding a hat which is comfortable in all situations is important. I suggest solid back panels for cooler months and vented or mesh backs for summer.
We camp here at least twice per year. You can reserve online at the state parks website months in advance (dont expect to get in last minute). Currently the upper campground is under construction, so spaces are limited. We love the upper bunkers, the views, the beach, and the history. No water hookups in winter. Great places for all ages!
This is a beautiful park overlooking the water. The trees are amazing, including some very big old-growth cedars. It is open for day use, but unfortunately it has been closed to overnight camping due to what they're describing as "tree diseases that may lead to tree falls." Beach access also has been limited due to erosion of the bluffs. It's still open for day use/picnicking.
This is a good campground to pitch your tent for a night, if you need a place to stay. The bathrooms and showers are clean and the patrons are pleasant.
I recommend picking a site away from the main road (Meridian, very noisy at most hours) and you should be a happy camper!
I have camped here twice, once on upper campgrounds and most recently the lower loop. We stayed in #83 in the lower loop and loved it. Nice spacious site with our trailer and slightly wooded for privacy with a view of the water. The bathroom and shower facilities are clean and warm. Nice playground for kids and beaches to explore. Tons of old war bunkers as well. About 35 minutes to port Townsend for a good meal and shopping. Highly recommend this campground. Books up fast! Caution with the upper campground. We did tent camping in the summer and our site was completely dirt. We ended up very dusty and dirty and it was a little out of control and we just succumbed to being dirty and dusty. Not all sites are that way but if we had it to do over we would be more careful.
The Olympic National Park is one of my favorite places in Washington. There are so many great hikes nearby you don’t want to miss out! I think the best time to do is during the summer because the weather is the best this time of year. If you go in the spring there is still snow at some campgrounds and hiking areas. The fall is gorgeous here because of all the changing colors! Lillian Ridge Trail is amazing and a must do!! The views at the top are incredible. You’ll also see some wildlife- mountain goats and Pikas. We saw a cute little Pika family, with the little Pikas crying on a rock to their mother. We got the best weather in July, although it was VERY busy!! We did a few hikes nearby, all of which were full of people. Please look ahead if dogs are allowed or not. Highly recommend!