Cold camping getaway!
March 18, 2008 4:45 PM   Subscribe

We just need some peace and quiet. Looking for a great spot to do some early-season camping this weekend near Seattle, WA. Suggestions?

We're stressed out and need some quiet time in front of a fire. Yes, we realize it'll be cold, that's okay.

Initially I was thinking somewhere around the hood canal, but I was only able to find one spot that I know will be open (Brown Creek campground between Shelton and Hoodsport - with a whooping 6 sites). Umm, seriously, there has to be more than that around. And, I'm sure there is, but dang, I've pretty much searched my ass off and haven't found much.

Wish list.

1. Preferably within two hours from Seattle by car.
2. Lower elevation (no snow please!)
3. Nice tree coverage for privacy and to help us get out of the wind.
4. Quiet, no mega-campsites with RVs/kids, no parks with big day-use areas.

Undeveloped/primitive campsites are fine. If firewood collecting is permitted that's a plus.

Please recommend something that you KNOW is open (tons of stuff is still closed from flood damage) and that you KNOW will be open this early in the season (Mar. 22-24).

If you know of a really great year-round spot that doesn't quite meet all my criteria, lets hear it anyway.

Thanks AskMe, I really appreciate the help.
posted by Craig to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I would head towards the Hoh and Olympic National Park. You're going to find lower elevation stuff but it's still going to be really empty this time of year and firewood collecting is okay. They have this to say on their "what's open" page

- Heart O'the Hills Campground
-- Sol Duc area
-- Hoh Campground (Hoh Road open 2/14)
-- Areas of the Quinault Rain Forest (including sections of the North Shore and South Shore roads, and all of Graves Creek Road and North Fork Road) An emergency closure regulation was enacted on January 24, 2008. (note, I don't remember all my geography out there so do a reality check on whether you can still get places)

and they also say "Always call 360-565-3131 for up to date road and facility information!" Here's a pdf of a list of all the campsites. The Hoh is where I've stayed but it looks like it's closed BUT you should call and see if you can get a backcountry permit (don't know if there are times/dates associated with these, may be impossible) because then you can park at the Hoh parking lot of that's open and then just hike in. It's so incredibly lovely there, it's worth trying to find a way to make it happen. Otherwise call the folks and see if North Fork or Ozette are options, they'd both be mild-ish [i.e. not up a mountain] if they're accessible.
posted by jessamyn at 4:59 PM on March 18, 2008

Deception Pass is open but it's pretty big.

I love Silver Springs up Hwy 410 but it is almost certainly closed.

There are sites up Hwy 2 past Monroe but well below the snow line. Don't know if any are open.

Hurricane Ridge has campsites near the entrance that should fit your requirements.

Farther out than you wanted but consider San Juan Islands, such as Moran State Park on Orcas.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:23 PM on March 18, 2008

I've often just got on I-90 and drove east till things look good then find some place. There are tons of parks. Just stop by the local ranger station and ask them where to go. If you're hiking in, buy a map from the ranger for a few bucks.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:26 PM on March 18, 2008

Have you checked out You can determine campsite availability thru their online reservation form.
posted by rdhatt at 5:28 PM on March 18, 2008

Also, Fort Warden State Park in Port Townsend is cool.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:36 PM on March 18, 2008

Olmypic Peninsula would be my vote. There is a poorly-marked campsite on the Sol Duc river that had spots one time when every other campsite in the area was full.
posted by kindall at 5:51 PM on March 18, 2008

I have to vote for Olympic Peninsula. Every time I go there, I see beaucoup wildlife (otters, seals, tidepool animals, etc.) and at this time of year, it wouldn't be nearly as crowded. I am pretty sure it is open now, but the above link should tell you for sure.
posted by nikksioux at 7:11 PM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: Spencer Spit Park, Lopez Island.
posted by Capri at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2008

Response by poster: Just in case anyone checks this - we went to Spencer spit and had a super time. Thanks for all the great suggestions!
posted by Craig at 9:18 AM on March 25, 2008

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