Celebrate July 4th at Olympic National Park
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
With wilderness beaches, deep forests and mountain vistas, Olympic National Park is ready for July 4th visitors. Campgrounds and lodges are open for the summer and ranger-led programs are offered many times daily at locations throughout the park. Trip-planning information and more is available online at the park’s website.
In spite of the date on the calendar, deep snow still covers mountain roads and trails at Olympic National Park, hampering access – and creating unseasonable hazards – for visitors hoping to gain some elevation this holiday weekend. Low-elevation destinations are generally accessible, although lasting damage from last December’s storms has kept several roads and trails closed.
This year’s snow is unusually deep and long-lasting. In late May, the snowpack in the Hurricane Ridge - Deer Park area was 166% of average and several roads that typically open by July 4 are still closed because of snow.
“We especially want to caution hikers – with storm damage and deep snow, trail conditions throughout the park are very challenging this summer,” said Acting Olympic National Park Superintendent Sue McGill. “All hikers should check with the Wilderness Information Center for current trail conditions before their trip.”
Ranger-led programs are offered at many locations around the park and are good ways to learn more about Olympic. For additional information, including a schedule of ranger-led programs offered throughout the park this summer, visitors should ask for a copy of the park’s newspaper, the Bugler.
More information about enjoying the Fourth of July holiday in Olympic National Park is provided below.
Park Trail System
Anyone planning to hike in the park should check for current trail condition reports at any visitor center or ranger station or by calling the Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100. Current trail reports are also available online.
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC) is open Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Park crews have worked all winter and spring to repair storm damage and re-open the park for our visitors,” said McGill. “Opening Staircase for the July 4th holiday is the result of excellent teamwork and many hours of hard, focused work.”
Maintenance and volunteer crews from around the park are nearly finished with repairs to the road, campground, area trails and utility systems, all of which sustained damaged from the December storm. Staircase will re-open to the public on Thursday morning, July 3. Additional work will be completed through the summer.
In the aftermath of last December’s storm, the Staircase Road within the park was covered by a 185-foot long and 15-foot deep debris slide. In reopening the road, park crews removed over 1,500 cubic yards of rock debris from the slide and used it to repair and improve existing parking facilities.
Floodwaters from the Skokomish River completely washed away seven campsites from the Staircase Campground, but the campground will open on July 3 when the road opens.
Forest Road 24, which provides access to Staircase is scheduled to reopen on Monday, June 30.
The Obstruction Point Road remains closed because of snow and fallen trees; crews hope to open this road by late July or early August.
Major reconstruction is underway on the Hurricane Ridge Road and will continue through November. Visitors should expect delays of up to 20 minutes and up to four miles of unpaved road, along with one-lane sections and construction equipment at work.
Bicycles are prohibited from using the road during the construction period.
Visitors should call the park’s road and weather hotline at (360) 565-3131 for current Hurricane Ridge Road conditions. T
he Heart O’the Hills campground is open.
The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily, with a staffed information desk from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and a snack bar and gift shop open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Humes Ranch loop trail is cleared of downed trees and has been re-routed around the winter’s washouts. The Elwha River trail is cleared of down trees as far as Hayes River. Continuous snow begins just above Camp Wilder. The North Fork Quinault River trail was extensively damaged by winter storms and is closed from Low Divide to just south of Wild Rose Creek.
The Spruce Railroad Trail and Marymere Falls Trail are cleared of downed trees.
Sol Duc Valley
The trail to Sol Duc Falls is open and snow free, but the area’s popular high country trails including the Seven Lakes Basin, High Divide and Appleton Pass are still covered with deep snow. There are four to six feet of snow at Deer Lake and over a foot of snow at Mink Lake.
Hoh Rain Forest & Forks Information Center
The Park and Forest Information Center in Forks is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Hoh River Trail has been cleared of downed trees as far as Martin Creek. Numerous avalanches and extensive trail damage are reported between Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows; route finding and snow travel skills are necessary.
The Kalaloch Information Station is open daily from 9:00 – 5:00 p.m. The Kalaloch Lodge is open.
Quinault Rain Forest
The North Fork Road and North Fork Campground are open. The North Fork Quinault River trail was extensively damaged by winter storms and is closed to all entry beyond Wild Rose Creek.
The Graves Creek Road is open to foot, stock and bicycle use only due to damage from the December 2007 storm. Floodwaters severely damaged the Graves Creek road in three locations along its six-mile length and this road will remain closed to vehicle use throughout the 2008 visitor season. The Graves Creek campground is open; no potable water is available.