Do I Need a Wilderness Permit?

Getting a wilderness backpacking permit to camp in the Olympic National Park backcountry can be confusing and complicated. During planning, a hiker can be easily puzzled about the rules and regulations of the Park. This is not an easy task to face, for someone visiting from out of the area. What is one to do?

Easy Steps to Pre-Trip Success

Step: 1 - Grab a wilderness backcountry map. Being familiar with the area you want to visit, will make getting a permit that much easier.

Step: 2 - Check the backcountry conditions. You might not want to hike the trail, if it is in poor shape. Check road access. You might not even be able to get to the trailhead.


Hiking Gear (Suggestions) for Olympic

This is my hiking gear list of items used on a trip into the Olympic Mountain backcountry. It's important that you bring the Ten Essentials in the mountains, even if it's just for a day hike. Going on a shorter adventure? Check out my day hiking gear suggestions.

The Peninsula can have very unpredictable weather; even in the summer. I always base my packing list off of a worse case scenario concept. Many times I've woke up to below freezing conditions in September; which is the annual peak in good weather. It is not uncommon for a year around threat of bad systems to move in off the Pacific Ocean. This may lead to a few inches of rain in a 24 hour period. A hiker must be prepared of this reality. Always bring rain protection when hiking! Going out in cold weather? Check out this bad weather gear list!

The equipment items in my pack variates, depending on amount of nights I will be spending in the backcountry. I sometimes carry up to 15 days of food in the summer; without resupplying.  Again, conditions outside and the trip's purpose is also a huge variable. It is inefficient to have one set of items for everything, so I'm listing things in generally used on average. Always practice how to put your backpack together at home!

Usually the purpose of my Olympic Peninsula adventures include backcountry photography, fishing, off trail and alpine traverses, so I pack accordingly for those variables.

hiking gear
Overnight Hiking Equipment used in the Olympic Mountains

6 Amazing Olympic Mountain Photos

Photography of beautiful places in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.

Queets Rain Forest before wildfire - (get photo)

2016 National Park Pass Image

The Annual Olympic National Park Pass allows a visitor to visit the park for one year from the time of purchase. Generally you show it to a Park ranger with a valid I.D., and that gets you into any access road with a toll booth. The card expires one year from the date of purchase.

In 2016 through 2017 look for one of my images on this annual entrance pass. I won a little contest on social media a few months back, and I was honored to hear that my image was selected. It is a personal achievement of mine, because I'm so obsessed with the Olympic Mountains.

The selected image was taken this last summer, on a 6 day backpacking trip into Queets Basin. This trip included 4 days off trail in the steep Olympic alpine and requires basic mountaineering skills. The photograph features the Humes glacier of Mount Olympus and the dramatic landscape of the upper Queets drainage.

I was not too happy to be my heavy camera equipment into the mountains, that hot and dry week in summer. However, once in camp, it's nice to have a real camera to go explore the surrounding area. This photo was taken at sunrise from outside my tent; hesitating to even get out of bed in the first place.

Mount Olympus from upper Queets Basin - grab a postcard