Brazen Harris

Brazen Harris

WEEKEND: Free entry to Olympic National Park starting Saturday

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — While higher elevations are still buried under many feet of snow, new leaves and early wildflowers are emerging along lowland trails and roads in Olympic National Park.

Many facilities will be open for National Park Week, when entrance into the park is free, beginning Saturday.

Visitors can enter the park for free from Saturday through Sunday, April 29.

“Spring is a great time to experience Olympic National Park, and we invite people to come out and enjoy the warmer temperatures and sunshine,” said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Todd Suess.

While winter has been mild in the lowlands, snowfall in the mountains has been greater than normal.

Nearly 12 feet of snow covers the ground at Hurricane Ridge, and as of April 1, the snowpack in the Olympic Mountains was approximately 160 percent of average.

That means high country roads and trails are expected to open later than normal, Suess said.

Entrance fees, when they are in effect, are $15 per vehicle and $5 per individual on foot, bicycles or motorcycles for up to seven consecutive days at any park entrance.

An annual pass good for one year costs $30.

Status of facilities

Here is a summary of the status of campgrounds and other facilities:

■ Hurricane Ridge and Heart O’ the Hills — Hurricane Ridge Road is currently open as staffing, road and weather conditions permit.

Beginning May 1, the road typically is open 24 hours a day, but late spring snowstorms may close the road temporarily.

The last 1.5 miles of the road, which is past the visitor center and which leads to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead, is covered with snows drifts well over 12 feet deep; it is expected to open by mid-June.

Obstruction Point Road is expected to open in mid-July.

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is staffed weekends through June 17 and will be staffed daily beginning June 18.

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road outside Port Angeles is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year-round.

■ Elwha Valley — The Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed just beyond the Altair Campground to allow safe removal of Glines Canyon Dam.

Until dam removal is finished, which is anticipated by late 2013, there is no access to Olympic Hot Springs from the Elwha Valley.

Whiskey Bend Road is open.

The Elwha Campground is open, and Altair Campground will open May 22.

■ Lake Crescent — Fairholme Campground will open today.

Lake Crescent Lodge will open May 3.

An opening date for the Log Cabin Resort has not been announced.

Fairholme General Store will open May 25.

■ Sol Duc Valley — Sol Duc Road, Sol Duc Campground and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are all open for the season.

■ Dosewallips — The Dosewallips Road remains closed because of a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the primitive campground is walk-in (5.5 miles) only.

■ Deer Park — Deer Park Road and the campground are scheduled to open in mid-July, snow permitting.

■ Hoh Rain Forest and Forks Information Center — Hoh Road and the campground are open.

The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open Fridays through Tuesdays through April 30 and will be open daily beginning Friday, May 4.

The Park and Forest Information Center in Forks is open Fridays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be open daily beginning June 18.

■ Pacific Coast — Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette, which are accessible by roads, are all open.

The Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette campgrounds are open.

South Beach Campground, located just south of Kalaloch, will open May 22.

The Kalaloch Information Station will open daily May 12.

Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round.

■ Queets Valley — Lower Queets Road is open 7 miles to Matheny Creek; Upper Queets Road also is open.

The campground is open for primitive camping.

■ Quinault Rain Forest — Quinault Loop Road, which includes Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open.

North Fork Road and North Fork campground (primitive camping) are open.

Graves Creek Road and the campground are open. Drinking water and flush toilets at Graves Creek campground will be activated by May 15.

■ Staircase — The Staircase campground is open for primitive camping (pit toilets and no running water).

Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated by May 25.

For more information about trails, visit the Wilderness Information Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road or phone 360-565-3100.

The center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information also is available at the park’s website,

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