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This campground is hidden in the middle of a major Western Washington city, Federal Way. Once in the campground, you would have no idea that you are surrounded by a sprawling metropolitan area.
The campsites are small but private. They do allow for campfires but you should bring your own firewood.
There is a trail that follows a creek down to the shoreline. If you are into geocaching we found a few along the trail. Depending on the season this trail can be quite muddy.
I grew up camping here, as a Boy Scout this was a perfect location for many activities.
The campground is located in Capital Forest which is home to lots of hiking, mountain bike, equestrian, and ATV trails. There is even a near by gravel pit owned by the Department of Natural Resources and it is designated for target shooting.
The sites are first come first serve and you okay using and iron ranger.
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.
Some spots are grassy, some spots are gravel, but all are extremely tight. They have a boat launch that you dont have to be camping there to use, just pay a fee and launch your boat, so some sketchy people end up wandering around. Shower house costs to gain access to and is absolutely filthy. Staff, however, is very friendly. Would not recommend.
Excellent location for those with military access to the base - active duty, retired or family. 30/50 amp hookups. Beautiful views of American Lake. Pet friendly.
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.
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.