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Brown Creek Campground is just outside of Shelton WA. There are a lot of cool places to explore around the area. Check it the high steel bridge or hike spider lake and see the beavers.
The historic and infamous Vance Creek bridge is just down the road, but they have made it off limits and difficult to get to.
We stayed here at the beginning of September 2019, and they weren't super busy. Clean bathrooms with free showers. Laundry facilities on site if needed. Fair sized spots. Close to the road but surprisingly limited noise from the road. Easily walkable into downtown Forks to see the Twilight stuff and an short drive to La Push with some exceptional beach views. A little on the pricey side for what it is.
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.
Happy Four is an under-utilized campground in the backcountry of the Hoh River Trail. It's confusingly more like 6 miles from the trailhead, past the wildly popular 5-mile Island campground. This is a good option for people who make it to the trailhead by early afternoon and can rack up the miles along the flat Hoh River trail. It's far enough in the backcountry that you aren't competing with day hikers for trail space.
I couldn't find the privy here but they are mapped to exist, the bear wires are somewhat hard to find because there's no sign pointing you there and there's so many trails crisscrossing the campground. The trail is a little hard to find from the main Hoh River Trail but if you see the shelter you know you're close!
The campground is far enough off the trailhead that you won't get much trail noise and there's enough vegetation between sites that you won't necessarily see your neighbor. It's still close enough to the trailhead that you won't be by yourself but most people tend to stop at 5-Mile Island so things are a little quieter here.
Are you looking for total solitude and hearing elk bugling in the morning as your alarm? Can you really rack up the miles if you have the time? Then Lewis Meadows is a great spot. Nearly 12 miles from the Hoh River trailhead getting here in one day is a journey but totally worth it, especially in the busy summer months where other campground along the Hoh River are full of people. Many stop at Olympus Guard Station so pushing a little further along the trail means you are essentially alone!
This campground might have the nicest group spot, shaded under a massive tree with space for 4-5 tents and a fire ring. The meadow has a few spaces including the stock camp as well as the open-air privy and the bear wires. I opted to go through the woods and camp on the eroding back next to the massive gravel bar on the river.
This is a great option if Olympus Guard station looks too busy. Backtracking a bit means you can head up over the ridge to Seven Lakes Basin or pushing further up the Hoh River trail leads you to the amazing High Hoh Bridge and up to Blue Glacier (it's an all-day hike). But just being this far out in the backcountry is good enough for most!
This spot (appropriately 5 miles from the Hoh River trailhead) is a great choice for a day hike or an overnight spot if you have enough time to make it this far into the backcountry before nighfall (if not try Mt. Tom Creek). With that being said this place gets really crowded with overnight campers during the summer so if your idea of solitude is hearing elk bugling in the morning you're better off pushing on. If you have a big group and don't mind seeing your neighbors this spot may be a good bet for you!
Located directly on the river with at least one privy (which probably gets utilized a lot) and directly off the trailhead this campground is just past the point that most day hikers turn around, so you won't have too much trail noise. There's a number of spots both on the side of the river and more than likely across the river on the island itself (although don't cross unless you know what you're doing). All the spots I noticed had fire rings and some had make-shift seats. Like all the spots long the Hoh River Trail there are bear wires here so no bear cans necessary although when I was there reports had come in of a curoius coyote who was stealing food/bags/clothes from the camping area!
Overall you're still going to get an outdoor experience here at 5-mile island, it's just how much solitude you want that will dictate if this is the right campground for you. In my opinion, if you have time pushing for Olympus Guard Station is a better option or stopping at Mt. Tom Creek.
As easy as it is to get to this campground along the Hoh River Trail there are surprisingly few people here, most opt to go a little further up the trail to Five Mile Island or even further to Olympus Guard Station. With that being said the trail is still incredibly crowded this far up with day hikers/large groups/birdwatchers/instagrammers so if you are looking for total solitude you are better off pushing further. With that being said once the day hikers leave there are few people that opt to stay here overnight.
Set only about 2 miles from the trailhead at the Hoh Visitor Center Mt. Tom Creek has about 6-8 sites scattered across the creek and river, meaning you're always close to a water source. There's a large group site that can probably fit 6-7 tents for big groups (reserve at the WIC in Port Angeles or the Hoh Visitor Center). Make sure you have your permit ready as a ranger may be likely to come by and check on you here. Like all spots along the Hoh River trail there are bear wires here so no need to bring a bear canister!
As this campground is really close to the trail it's pretty easy to get in and out although it makes for a constant human presence. The sites are set far enough apart that you may not see your neighbor (although you may hear them). Mineral Falls is a nice spot to walk up to (only a half-mile back) and the spots along the river make a great place to stop and have a snack!
For 2019 The National Park Service upgraded the Olympus Guard Station campsites, mainly in the form of new privys! It's still just as amazing backcountry campground nearly 10 miles into the backcountry of Olympic National Park with tons of spots to choose from and enough space that even in the busy summer months you feel more solitude than in other spots along the Hoh River Trail.
This is by far the nicest of all backcountry campsites along the Hoh River trail and quite possibly in the entire west side of the interior of the park. Two larger group spots are reservable at either the WIC in Port Angeles or at the Hoh Visitor Center if you're feeling lucky. There are numerous other spots tucked away from the trail in the forest and out on a gravel bar next to the Hoh River. Obviously water is not an issue but bring a filter as even this far in the backcountry its best to filter/boil your water. There are bear wires at the campground (as with all campsites on the Hoh River Trail) so no bear can necessary unless you want your food a little closer to your campsite.
This place gets pretty crowded in the summer but is not as bad as places like 5 mile Island, it's worth the extra effort to make it back here, even if it's just for the night. Good base camp for a day hike up to either Blue Glacier or over the Ridge into Seven Lakes Basin. The trail is fairly flat the entire way and barring any major washouts is pretty easy going. There's usually a summer guard at the station as well if you need any assistance.
The absolute closest campground you will find in the Hoh Rainforest to the most iconic trails in all the rainforest, the onsite campground is one which truly is a gem in Olympic National Park.
Because of its location prepare for rain!! I planned a stay here only to find I was basically rained out of my initial site which was slushy and slimy. On a good day however this campground really shines!! And when you are preparing if you prepare with an additional tarp you can still comfortably sleep here without issue in a tent.
I did see the advantage of those who were in hard sides however. They stay could be much more universal than it is in a tent as there would be no assembly. Sometimes in this area it can rain for days on end so a tent can pose an issue within those circumstances even with a tarp shelter.
Personally I would recommend checking the weather for the slightly less rainy season if tent camping based on my own personal experience.
Overall the facilities were clean and nice and offered standard amenities. However the restrooms seemed to be heated a bit which was very nice.
My favorite part of this campground however was the proximity to the trails. At any time you could venture a couple hundred yards and be in the middle of something spectacular. Green isn't even the color, it is beyond that it is electric.
You also have a very high chance of an elk sighting in this area is you are quiet, which is beyond words if you enjoy photography. Just take heed from the visitor center on proper safety measures however.