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When traveling in the PNW, a handy item to consider is the Discover Pass. Not only does it allow access to all of the State Parks, but it also unlocks the limitless possibilities of FREE camping throughout the state of Washington.
I stumbled upon many campground which could be utilized throughout the state by simply having the pass, something which is somewhat of a secret they don’t share with you when you first visit the state itself.
Picking up this pass guarantees you unlimited access to these facilities for one calendar year and is only$40.
For more details about the Discover Pass CLICK HERE
One of the many locations I found along the way was the HOH OxBow Campground, a semi improved campground just a short distance from the entrance to the Olympic National Park’s unique rainforest. When it comes to FREE camping in the area this is one of the more easily accessible sites with a quick turn out right off the 101.
Staying in this area you can expect larger campsites with picnic tables and fire rings and a single vault toilet for the location. There are around 10 campsites at this location and if you are traveling with friends each of these has plenty of room for 2-3 rigs or cars.
I found this site does fill however there are also some smaller pull outs over by the fishing area if you are looking to stay in your smaller vehicle. I pulled in later in the evening and needed a location for the evening which was relatively close to the rainforest, the next day’s adventure. It was pouring so camping in a tent was out of the question. I found a single parking/pull off area and discovered that you can stay here as well so it was perfect.
The next morning I woke to a chilly morning but no rain and decided to walk around and explore and was welcomed into the natural beauty of the area. From where I was parked there was a small walking trail which departed the campground and ran alongside a river and to some spectacular views. A small boat launch was perfect for canoes or kayaks and is a popular area for fishing in this region.
This site allows up to 7 days at a time, as do many DNR Managed Lands. You can stay here with a Discover Pass but must display it on your front dash at all times. Camping items must be attended to at least once every 24 hours otherwise you will be considered to have abandoned them, so don’t use this as a home base and explore a longer hike without checking in.
Because this is a limited service site you will be required to pack in and out all of your trash as there are no pick ups or trash cans. You also cannot collect fire wood from the area and must bring your own.
Something I really did appreciate about this location was the overall peace which came from exploring it. Though it was just off the roadway, I heard absolutely no road noise. I also noticed posted signs prohibiting ATVs from the area to keep the peace and quiet.
- Bring everything you will need for camping as this is a Primitive Campground and offers no store options. Should you forget something I suggest visiting Forks which is a short distance north along the 101.
- Make sure you bring a raincoat. This area is known as a rainforest for a reason, it receives over a hundred inches of rain each year and usually this comes in the form of a constant drizzle. While you might be tempted to bring an umbrella but this can prove to be more cumbersome than helpful.
- Download offline maps before coming to this area, especially if you have AT&T, service through this area is very limited and sparse.
Points Of Interest To Check Out:
Ruby Beach- Also known as Driftwood Beach this location is just south of the campground and offers great views of some unique aspects of the Washington coastline. You will most enjoy seeing the many creations people leave on the beach from the washed up logs from the surrounding forest.
Forks- This community is a unique place to visit in the state as it has been a part of the film industry for several projects, most famously known as the area for which they filmed Twilight. In addition to some familiar locations you can find a few interesting places to stop in town which have a lot of historic value.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt I am able to check out some amazing gear and provide feedback from my travels and the practicality of usage. For this trip I was able to check out some very useful items from Banner & Oak.
Did you know that you lose the vast majority of your body heat through not covering your head? Studies prove that over half of your body heat is lost through your head when not covered. Reasoning relates to the amount of skin exposed accounting for 7% of your total skin surface area and most of that rarely covered, unlike much of the other portions of your body.
A quick way to ensure your body stay warmer during cooler conditions or to keep you feeling cozy on a typically rainy day is to wear a hat.
On the day I visited the HOH OxBow Campground it was especially chilly following a night of excessive rains. Though I had several Banner& Oak hats with me, the one I reached for was the Banner& Oak Range Beanie in the Color Olive.
The beanie retails for$24, a bit higher than I typically would spend on a beanie, but it was apparent as to why the additional cost once I put it on. Unlike many beanies I have tried over my adventures this one is a bit thicker as it uses a double layered knit. It is resistant to most elements through its construction and quickly became a favorite for cold weather. Despite being a thicker set material I found it to fit snug without being to tight on my head and it allowed me to style it in several ways depending on my need.
For the cooler day of hiking through the rainforest, where it later began to rain I wore the hat in a more slouchy offset to the back styling. When I was a little further down the road toward Crater Lake and stumbled upon freezing temperatures and light snow, I was able to place the beanie more firmly on my head and lower on the ears for more coverage and warmth.
All in all between the fit, color and options it provided me for warmth I would rate this as one of my go to items when it comes to cool weather travel. The investment in good headwear is important and often times overlooked when it comes to packing for an adventure, but this one proves that it is a necessary point which should be considered on every travel check list.
- When shopping on Banner & Oak check out the men’s section even if you are a woman. The hats on the site do vary from section to section slightly and in my opinion some of the more fun hats are featured on the men’s listing.
- Remember when packing for winter to bring closed back hats and beanies as opposed to snapbacks with open vents this will keep you warmer when you travel during cool weather.
- Consider wearing a beanie when you sleep in colder weather, this will keep your body temperature much higher even when in a tent.
Just recently started hiking and camping with my hubby. We really loved driving and hiking through the Hoh rainforest and surrounding areas. Doing it again at the end of the month with the kids!