Autumn at Dosewallips State Park, Brinnon, WA Hood Canal

Thinking about visiting Dosewallips State Park this autumn? Discover a Hood Canal teeming with water access, wildlife, and beautiful scenes!

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Sunset over the Hood Canal

According to Washington State Parks, the Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, WA along the Hood Canal is the perfect place to spend your fall weekend! Like much of the Olympic National Park that is borders, the Dosewallips Park encapsulates a magical variety of terrains. Guests easily pass under towering maple trees with yellowing leaves to rivers teeming with salmon as their gaze is drawn to fog-draped forests of evergreens and snow-capped mountains. Did I mention the local elk herd and eagles returning for the winter?

Moss-covered signage, open camping fields boarded by camp sites tucked among the maples make the Dosewallips camp area an enchanting place for folks to stay- no matter the season.

Services

Visitors are able to buy a Discover Pass (necessary for all state park parking areas in the region at the entry station 24/7). This time of year, ranger hours are limited to 11AM-noon daily, 1-6PM Fridays and 1-4PM Saturdays.

All campsites are on the reservation system. The campground has 37 tent spaces, 58 utility sites, twelve cabins, one dump station, four restrooms (one ADA), and two showers (one ADA). Maximum site length is 40 feet (limited availability). During winter months (November 15 through March 1), the campground is winterized and only sites 21-29 have water. Winter water supply is still available. Off-season fees range from $12 (hiker/biker), $25-30 (no hook-up), $35-45 (partial to full hook-up), and $69 (cabins). Make a camp reservation here or call 888-226-7688.

You can view an interactive site/location map here.

A Little Free Library (shown below) is regularly stocked by locals, campers, and park hosts. Discover Passes are available 24/7 at the ranger station via pay envelope. A road under Highway 101 links the forest side of Dosewallips State Park to the beach side.

Things to Do in the Autumn

  1. Dive & Dine with Pallin’ Around Charters on the Hood Canal
  2. Take an Edible Forest Tour with Hood Canal Adventures
  3. Visit the International Mermaid Museum in Aberdeen
  4. E-Bike the Dosewallips River Road
  5. Paddle the Duckabush Estuary
  6. Visit the Restaurant & Farm Store at Hama Hama Oysters
  7. Search for Big Foot!
  8. Hike Around the Interrorem Cabin at the Duckabush
  9. Enjoy Views of Mount Rainier and Spectacular Sunsets

Autumn Salmon on the Dosewallips River

Autumn on the Hood Canal is dominated by the excitement salmon spawning causes in wildlife and humans alike! From late August through September, adult salmon return to rivers rushing down the Olympic Mountains to create new life and return nutrients with their decaying bodies. Over the dark winter months, tiny fry (baby salmon) merge from the gravel and make their way towards the Pacific Ocean.

A salmon by any other name… Spawns at different times to maximize access to resources! Have you heard of this “hand trick” to remember the most common varieties of salmon? Also, visit the salmon board at Rocky Brook Falls to get updated info on the local salmon running our rivers. While steelhead and trout tend to spawn in the spring and throughout the watershed, chinook spawn earlier in the fall in river mouths closer to the Hood Canal. Coho salmon spawn later in the fall and higher up watersheds. Fall chum and pink salmon spawn in the same season in the same space- directly competing for resources.

For visitors, keep in mind that September is prime viewing season for catching salmon swimming upriver. By October, the scent of decaying fish often lingers around these same rivers. However, these many carcasses attract seals (and thus, orcas) and birds of prey. Autumn is an excellent time for wildlife spotting on the Hood Canal!