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OlympicExplorer
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PostTue Dec 12, 2017 5:33 pm 
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I was wondering if anyone knew of some good locations off of Forest Service roads for automobile camping? I have a group of friends who are used to camping off of Forest Service Roads in the Cascades and want to try the Olympics. Preferably we would like to camp alongside a river (example: Dungeness or Big Quilcene). Our camping group is about 10 people and roughly 4-5 automobiles. Years ago I remember driving up to many "logger landings" with large open turn-arounds. These places often had fire-pits that people have made over the years. Most of these areas are now gated off and have "Tank Traps" (deep trenches that prevent motorized vehicles from entering). People over the years have ruined these locations by leaving trash, shooting up tree trunks, and tearing up the ground with 4x4 trucks. Is there any places left? I honestly wouldn't mind bush-whacking an old logging road to access a secluded spot.
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reststep
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PostTue Dec 12, 2017 8:07 pm 
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There is a camping area at the Upper Dungeness Trailhead that might work. It is beside the river.

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OlympicExplorer
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PostTue Dec 12, 2017 9:58 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestion. This upcoming weekend, me and my wife are planning to cruise the Forest Service roads and see what we can find. I'm hoping either the Dungeness or Quilcene Rivers have something to offer. I am aware that there is an official Dungeness Forks Campground with pit toilet. We are looking for something that offers seclusion and no neighbors experience, so the campground is out for us.
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meck
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PostTue Dec 12, 2017 10:26 pm 
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OE:  Hello fellow kitsaper! A couple of thoughts.

1. In the summer there appears to be pretty high competition for the "good" dispersed campsites in the Olys on any nice weekend, so you may find people reluctant to share their favorite spots (I know I am!).  Given that, if you do find a good camp spot, please be mindful of how, whom and where you share it (you've obviously seen the results of poor camping practices and areas getting too popular).

That being said, I have not come across too many spots that would be suitable for more than 3'ish cars.

2.  What kind of vehicles do you have, and are you willing to walk a distance (100 yards to 1/2 mile) from where you park to actually setup a camp?  I've come across some nice camps there are just a short ways off of old spur roads.  I've also come across some neat places that, due to waterbars, were just a bit too much for my truck (ok mid clearance, but too long on the back end frown.gif )

3. I'd recommend getting the ONF Forest Road Maps for all of the ONF if you don't already have them.  They are really, really useful, though you will probably need to mark them up as you visit areas to note which roads are no longer passable etc.


I suppose it goes without saying, but if you go exploring this weekend be prepared for snow, mud, and soft dirt!  I got my 2WD stuck near Mt Jupiter a couple weeks back by just  barely leaving the hardpack road surface, on an old soft spur road, had to get towed back on by a nice couple at the TH!

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Gregory
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 4:22 am 
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During the summer the woods up the Dungy a Graywolf are a freakin zoo.Just enough beer and drugs to make the experience borderline dangerous.Christine Fairbanks was shot up there and I have wandered into an active manhunt by federal marshals.I lost a Subaru wagon at a trailhead up there.You could not get me to camp up there anymore during the summer.Winter, you might but I will be damn if I would put the dream river side dispersed camping spot on the internet for all to abuse.Dispersed camping in the Olympics is nearly a thing of the past because of abuse.Good luck!
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trestle
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 6:36 am 
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Gregory wrote:
I lost a Subaru wagon at a trailhead up there

Could you please explain this? Was it stolen?

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silence
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 7:23 am 
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DNR campgrounds on the Peninsula. Requires a Discover Pass. Some that have current alerts could change by next summer ... best to check again closer to the time. South Fork Hoh might be what you're looking for ...

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/OlympicPeninsula

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MyFootHurts
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 9:07 am 
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trestle wrote:
Gregory wrote:
I lost a Subaru wagon at a trailhead up there

Could you please explain this? Was it stolen?

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markweth
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 9:42 am 
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meck wrote:
Given that, if you do find a good camp spot, please be mindful of how, whom and where you share it (you've obviously seen the results of poor camping practices and areas getting too popular).

Thanks for saying this. I think it would be helpful if people applied this ethic to every campsite -- regardless of if it is roadside or backcountry. And, of course, a little bit of discretion in general wouldn't be a bad thing either (see the "Social Media and Leave No Trace" thread for a longer discussion on this topic).
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OlympicExplorer
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PostWed Dec 13, 2017 5:06 pm 
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I want to thank everyone who replied with feedback on the subject. At the same time, I wanted to explain that my intent was not to probe folks for "secret locations" or get "exact directions" to a secluded spot. I mainly wanted to see if anyone had seen or used dispersed camping in that area before. I agree that openly advertising spots has the potential to make them a target for "dirt-bag" campers who have no respect for the land. I am a member of WTA (Washington Trails Association) and have a passion for preserving our land and camping responsibly. Every year, me and my wife camp off the forest service roads located just off Hwy 2 (Stevens Pass). It seems there are many dispersed areas available in that area. We usually take off work on a Thursday and drive up to claim a spot before a 3-day holiday weekend occurs. We have never had any issues with finding a spot early or having people harass us while camping. This year, we would like to find a similar experience in the Olympics. From what I gather, this may be a challenge for the Eastern Olympics. I remember growing up and seeing hunter's camping in various spots off the road during the Fall time. I recently bought a good road/trail map @ REI covering the Eastern Olympics. This weekend I'll hit the back roads and see what I can find.
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Gregory
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PostThu Dec 14, 2017 4:25 am 
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trestle wrote:
Gregory wrote:
I lost a Subaru wagon at a trailhead up there

Could you please explain this? Was it stolen?

No
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OlympicExplorer
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PostSat Dec 16, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Well, got back this evening from exploring the Northeastern Olympics. I have to say now, there really is no riverside or hidden roadside camping spots for dispersed style camping. We drove up the Dungeness River Valley and looked around, the only thing we found was one spot near the Dungeness Forks Campground bridge and another one steeply hidden at the Grey Wolf River crossing. Both spots are exposed to the main road and would be easy targets for car prowlings. The overall ground we covered today driving was from Big Quilcene River via Penny Creek all the way north to Palo Alto Rd. We did find one perfect spot on the Big Quilcene River, it was private and plenty of room for vehicles. I doubt this spot is vacant once Spring arrives and fair weather people are camping again. 1 spot is not something I would want to plan around and rely on, especially when I have friends coming from a long ways away. I think really the only options are much farther south.......... Dosewallips, Duckabush, and Hamma Hamma.
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Gregory
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PostSun Dec 17, 2017 7:16 am 
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.There are none on the Duc.There is plenty on the Hama Hama just do not step in the man crap when you get out of your car.story.....Set up camp for me and the fam in the first dispersed spot just passed Lena creek.Went up the ridge to the lakes for a couple hours.Came back to camp and found a whole new camp set up on top of mine.Huge setup tables dining flys etc.One truck there full of wood scraps and shrimp pots.I get out of my truck and yell hello nobody answers.I walk around and find this young twenty-something punk hiding in a tent ask him what the f...He turns his phone on record and tells me I have to share and if I do not like it I can leave.being as there is no law enforcement out there anymore and kicking his arse will only land me in jail I pack up my stuff and drop down to the ranger station in Quilcene and report the incident and go home.Give me a call!
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OlympicExplorer
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PostSun Dec 17, 2017 9:28 am 
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Gregory,

Thanks for sharing your experience. These are the type of encounters that make me very weary when it comes to roadside camping. I live over on the Kitsap Peninsula and have had co-workers tell me some interesting stories while traveling around the Olympics. Just a couple of years ago, a co-worker told me he was off-roading in the snow near Quilcene and came upon a large group of people with 4x4 trucks that were purposely parked sideways on a logging road. Some of them had handguns on their waists. They basically told my friend to turn around in an unwelcoming voice. Fearing a violent outcome, he didn't argue and just left.

These are the types of encounters I fear going out into these places: Locals who feel entitlement to the area and specific locations and being out-numbered by aggressive people miles from civilization.

I have also heard stories from my co-workers about fights breaking out at Lena Lakes & Brown's Creek. Alcohol, firearms, and egos often end up creating a dangerous environment that effects innocent people just trying to enjoy the outdoors.
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Gregory
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PostMon Dec 18, 2017 5:23 am 
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You got mail.

The problem is no law enforcement.Without cops the law abiding can do nothing but go home and stay home.That experience on the Hama Hama bothered me bad.Nothing I could do.The punk has no clue how scared he should have been.It was my family that kept him safe.35 years ago I would see federal law enforcement and state wardens every trip.They became friends. I have not seen a cop in 7-8 year and that was because I triggered a sensor on an downed old growth cedar tree, They thought I was stealing cedar.The more the public lands are abused the more they will be closed to the taxpayer.Absolutely heartbreaking.

I used to drive in here and camp

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