Olympic National Park Backpacking Locations

The Olympic National Park is incredibly diverse – including rugged coastline, lush rainforests, subalpine meadows and lakes, as well as high peaks. These backpacking trips showcase some of the best scenery that each ecosystem has to offer.

For more info about backpacking gear and trip planning, visit these posts:

High Divide & Seven Lakes Basin

Olympic Mountains High Divide backpacking trip

The highly scenic High Divide loop in the Olympic Mountains is extremely popular for a good reason – it showcases everything from a lush rainforest to subalpine lakes, and panoramic views of the highest peaks in the Olympics. Advance permits are required for all backcountry campsites.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: High Divide backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to campsite in Seven Lakes Basin: 9.2 miles, 3,070 ft. gain (for a shorter hike in, there are many campsites on this loop)
  • day hike options: Seven Lakes Basin, Hoh Lake, Bogachiel Peak
  • best months: August to September

North Fork Skokomish River Trail

backpack - North Fork Skokomish River

Located in the Olympic National Park, the North Fork Skokomish River Trail is a great low elevation trip for the spring when water levels are running high in the cascading river and the lush forest is filled with many shades of green.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: North Fork Skokomish River backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to Spike Camp: 4 miles, 800 ft. gain
  • day hike options: continue on the North Fork Skokomish Trail; Flapjack Lakes
  • best months: May – June

Ozette Triangle

Ozette Triangle - South Sand Point backpacking trip

Washington’s Olympic Coast is truly wild, with access limited to hikers and backpackers for long stretches of coast line. This trip to South Sand Point includes a day hike to see ancient native petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: South Sand Point backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to South Sand Point Camp: 4.5 miles, 175 ft. gain
  • day hike options: Wedding Rocks petroglyphs
  • best months: spring (for better water access for filtering)

Hoh River Rainforest

Hoh River Trail backpacking trip

The Hoh Rainforest is one of the wettest places in the United States. The rainforest here is lush with mosses and lichens and plenty of water – and the trail is fairly flat and next to the river with several designated camp areas along the way.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: Hoh River Trail backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to Five Mile Island Camp: 5.1 miles, 400 ft. gain
  • day hike options: continue on the Hoh River Trail to the Olympus Guard Station
  • best months: May to June

Olympic Coast – Rialto Beach to Chilean Memorial

Washington’s Olympic Coast is a wild coast – with extremely limited access to vast sections of it. About 70 miles of this incredibly scenic coastline is part of the Olympic National Park and accessible to hardy backpackers willing to time their trek at low tide to round headlands, or to use ropes to climb steep slopes to reach overland trails.

Quinault River & the Enchanted Valley

Enchanted Valley backpacking trip

Beginning at the Graves Creek trailhead, the Quinault River Trail follows the river through dense Olympic rainforest. Setup camp at one of the many backcountry sites and day hike to the Enchanted Valley.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: Enchanted Valley backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to Fire Creek Camp: 3.8 miles, 1,125 ft. gain
  • day hike option: continue on the Quinault River Trail to Enchanted Valley
  • best months: May to June

Royal Lake & Royal Basin

Olympic Mountains - Royal Basin backpacking trip

Royal Lake provides access to some of the best subalpine and alpine scenery in the Olympic Mountains. From Royal Lake, it’s a short hike to explore the stunning alpine scenery of Upper Royal Basin.

  • I Heart PNW trip report: Royal Basin backpacking trip
  • distance & elevation gain to Royal Lake Camp: 6.5 miles, 2,800 ft. gain (for a shorter hike in, spend the first night at Royal Creek Camp)
  • day hike options: Upper Royal Basin
  • best months: mid-July to September

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach backpacking trip

Camping at Shi Shi Beach on the northern Washington Coast is an unmatched experience – with incredible sea stacks, sunsets, sea caves and plenty of beach to explore. The hike in is also one of the muddiest as it works its way through dense coastal forest.