Three Forks Trail - Three Forks Camp, Deer Park Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Three Forks Trail - Three Forks Camp - 8.4 miles
Deer Park Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||8.4 miles (9.0 miles RT to Gray Wolf Camp)|
|Start-End Elevation:||5,300' - 2,100' (5,350' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-3,200' net elevation loss (+3,400' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Three Forks Trail - Three Forks Camp - 8.4 Miles Round-Trip
The Three Forks Trail is easily accessible from the Deer Park Campground and Trailhead in Olympic National Park.
The trail provides access into the lower riparian river valleys of Cameron Creek, the Gray Wolf River and Grand Creek - comprising the 'three forks'.
Leaving from the Deer Park Trailhead (0.0 miles : 5,300'), the trail heads east on the Deer Ridge Trail before quickly connecting with the Three Forks Trail (.25 miles : 5,350'). Views along this quarter-mile stretch are sweeping. Blue Mountain towers to the north with the greater Olympic Range rising to the south.
At the split, turn right (south) onto the Three Forks Trail and the path narrows as it begins a gentle descent through a wide burn area. Views emerge of Mt Deception, Mt Walkinshaw and the Gray Wolf Range as the trail leaves the exposed fire scar and enters a young Douglas fir forest (.5 miles: 5,250').
Now switchbacking south on an aggressive descent, the trail remains virtually unchanged as it works its way through the forest (2.0 miles: 4,050'). Salal and oregon grape carpet the forest understory while Douglas fir dominates the canopy.
At 2.7 miles, the trail sees its first signs on water, joining up briefly with a small mineral stream before breaking away and continuing its descent into the Gray Wolf Valley.
After the continuous switchbacking descent, the trail eventually reaches the bottom of the valley and rolls into Three Forks Camp (4,2 miles : 2,100'). Aside from the various established backcountry sites, the available Three Forks Shelter is a large sturdy 3-walled shelter complete with bear wires and sleping racks. A privy is located behind the shelter.
For those wishing to explore further, follow the signs across two consecutive bridges which lead another .3 miles to Gray Wolf Camp (4.5 miles : 2,050').
The additional stretch passes by the confluence of Grand Creek into Cameron Creek and ends at the confluence of Cameron Creek and the Gray Wolf River.
- N47 56.940 W123 15.493 — 0.0 miles: Deer Park - Three Forks Trailhead - 5,300'
- N47 56.894 W123 15.193 — 0.25 miles: Turn right onto Three Rivers Trail - 5,350'
- N47 56.705 W123 15.291 — 0.5 miles: Exposed burn area - views of Olympic Range - 5,200'
- N47 56.400 W123 15.206 — 1.0 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 4,700'
- N47 56.040 W123 15.006 — 1.5 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 4,500'
- N47 55.803 W123 15.088 — 2.0 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 4,050'
- N47 55.613 W123 14.942 — 2.5 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 3,650'
- N47 55.365 W123 14.840 — 3.0 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 3,200'
- N47 55.175 W123 14.720 — 3.5 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 2,800'
- N47 54.996 W123 14.862 — 4.0 miles: Switchbacking descent through fir forest - 2,450'
- N47 54.935 W123 14.872 — 4.2 miles: Three Forks Camp - 2,100'
- N47 54.937 W123 14.573 — 4.5 miles: Gray Wolf Camp - 2,050'
- The Three Forks Trail immediately descends 3,200' from the Deer Park Trailhead - be prepared for the challenging ascent on the return.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Car Camping and walk in site camping are available at the Deer Park Campground - a scenic backcountry car campground with toilets.
At 5,400 feet in elevation, Deer Park boasts mountain views and starry skies. With a steep and winding gravel access road, Deer Park is not RV accessible.
- Season: June - mid October, dependent on road conditions nd snow melt.
- Reservations: First-come, first-served.
- Sites and Fees: 14 total sites, $15 per night.
- RVs: Tents only.
- Facilities: Pit toilets and no potable water.
- Handicap Accessible: Yes.
Excellent Backcountry Camping is also available from the Deer Park area - common destinations include Three Forks Camp / Shelter as well as Gray Wolf Camp.
A permit is requried for backcountry camping. Please contact the Wilderness Information Center at Olympic National Park for latest backcountry conditions and availability.
Fishing is permitted with a valid WA State fishing license. Regulations changes and river closures are common so it is encouraged to contact the park prior to any fishing within park borders.
Rules and Regulations
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
From Highway 101 in Port Angeles, WA, drive south for 16 miles on Deer Park Road until it dead-ends into the Deer Park Campground. At the main campground entrance, bear right and follow signs to the Three Rivers Trail. A decent size parking area exists for non campers.
Note: The last 8 miles of Deer Park Road are winding and can be dangerous. Be aware of blind turns and oncoming traffic duing this 'one-lane' stretch. Drive slowly and cautiously.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Quinault Wilderness Information Office