Under the Stars near Seattle

Olympic Peninsula: Deer Park
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Take the ferry across the sound, drive almost to Port Angeles, and turn south on Deer Park Road.
Travel Time : 2 to 2 1/2 hours (from Bainbridge Island ferry landing).
Information : Olympic National Park (360) 452-4501.
Reservations : Not accepted.
Fee : $8.
Open : Late June through October.

Olympic National Park doesn't give campers a lot of options for camping at elevation. Deer Park is really the only campground in the park's high country, and to get here you'll have to have nerves of steel. You see, it's a long and winding road to Deer Park. The fact that the road is also gravel, one lane wide, and has steep drop offs doesn't help matters either. If you suffer from acrophobia have bad brakes, you might want to give this one a miss.

However, the pay off for those willing to drive the road to this little campground is one of the grandest panoramas from any campground in Washington. Perched amid meadows and subalpine forests atop Grand Ridge, Deer Park commands awe-inspiring vistas of nearby Olympic peaks. From the campground, you can hike along Grand Ridge, through meadows and forests as far as Obstruction Point. Although it's a 15-mile round-trip hike to Obstruction Point, there are enough views along the way that you can turn back long before the end of the trail and still feel as though you've hiked one of the finest trails in the state. Two other trails also begin at Deer Park, so a long weekend here provides plenty of hiking opportunities.

Oh, and by the way, this place usually lives up to its name. You can expect to have deer grazing beside your tent (so keep the snacks packed up). You're also likely to encounter marmots in the meadows up this way.


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