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Summer Camping Spotlight: Olympic National Park's Heart O' the Hills

Got a favorite spot to camp? Tell us about it, and add your voice to "Happy Camper."

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Patch’s Happy Camper column shares all of your camping stories and campground reviews. Have a favorite campground that you visit every summer? Have a tale about the worst camping experience you ever had? Write it up and send it and a photo to greg.johnston@patch.com. We’ll feature it in the next Happy Camper column.

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For campers looking for a scenic hike followed by a soothing soak, Heart O’the Hills campground is an ideal spot to pitch a tent.

Located in the Olympic National Park, Heart O’the Hills is smack in the middle of an old growth forest and claims the title of “nearest campground to Hurricane Ridge.”

My first camping experience in Washington state brought me to the Olympics and Heart O’the Hills, which was nearly deserted —save for some RV campers — in November during my late-season camping trip with a coworker and a few other Seattle area friends.

Our one-nighter kicked off with an easy hike up Hurricane Ridge. Even in late November, the sun was out and we all ended up with more color than we started out with.

Park at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. From there the hike is 1.6 miles each way with a 700-foot elevation gain that leads to a fabulous panoramic view of the Olympic National Park. This is a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch as long as the wind isn’t too much. Hurricane Ridge got its name for a reason: it’s not uncommon for gusts of 75 mph or more. On that note, be sure to pack a jacket or windbreaker and a pair of gloves even in the summer.

After your hike, check out the Olympic Hot Springs, which is a collection of 21 small pools along Boulder Creek. My only note of caution is that these are sulfur springs, so be prepared for the stink.

Know before you go:

Olympic National Park charges an entrance fee of $10 per car for a seven-day pass. If you plan to return multiple times during the year, it may be worth purchasing an annual pass for $20. 

Heart O’the Hills Campground is located 12 miles from the Hurricane Ridge visitors center. The campground is open year-round and charges a $12 per night fee for campsite use. Running water is available at the campsite.

For more information, visit the Olympic National Park Information webpage

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