Hiking and backcountry camping are great ways to explore tthe Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park have trails, campgrounds, and dispersed campsites to suit all types of outdoor enthusiasts.
Year round Big Quilcene Trail #833 follows the Big Quilcene River along old growth forests and lush meadows into the Buckhorn Wilderness. This is a beautiful area for a day hike. Backpackers hoping for an extended trip can follow the trail to Upper Dungeness and Tubal Cain Mine Trails.
The Olympic Mountains are a spectacular sight seen from all over the Olympic Peninsula. For an up close look hikers can start at Upper Dungeness Trailhead and follow the Royal Basin 7.2 miles to Royal Lake. This subalpine hike is moderate to steep with views of mountain vistas, montane forests, and subalpine meadows covered with wildflowers. Due to snowy conditions, this trail is best hiked from July to mid-October. The elevation reaches over 5,000 ft at Royal Lake. Camping is allowed in Royal Basin, though limited from May 1- September 30.
Another unforgettable experience is camping on Second Beach. Part of Olympic National Park, this is an easy .7 mile hike along well maintained trails. If visiting during March, April, or October keep an eye on the water for migrating whales.
Hikers and campers are asked to protect the natural beauty of these areas by practicing Leave No Trace principles on all trails and at all campsites. For more information about Leave No Trace click here. Before heading out check with rangers at Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest for permit and updated trail information. Bear canisters are available for loan from the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles. Hiking and backcountry camping on the Olympic Peninsula is an experience of a lifetime.