Potlatch State Park

Trip Advisor

Key Information

Contact Info



21020 US-101, Shelton, WA 98584, United States

Opening Hours

Open 24 hours



Introduction of Potlatch State Park

Potlatch State Park is a great place to visit because it has a lot of shoreline fun, water activities, awesome clamming, and 96 campsites, 36 of which have water and electricity. Potlatch State Park is located 40 miles northwest of Olympia, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula and features 5,700 feet of saltwater shoreline within its 84 acres. The park was established in 1960 and was gradually expanded until 2007 when the state of Washington purchased the last parcel of shoreline. Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer, was the first European to sail through the Hood Canal in 1792. As recently as the mid-twentieth century, the Potlatch area was home to two lumber mills.
Potlatch State Park, which was once home to the Skokomish Indian Tribe, was named after a tribal gift-giving ceremony known as potlatch in Chinook. The ceremony was held during the winter months, and gifts were given to all tribal members and friends. The Skokomish Tribe now owns a large number of acres of land just north of the park.
Potlatch State Park offers a variety of activities such as scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and clamming. The park has ten boat moorings that allow for easy access to the Hood Canal. Hiking, ranger-led talks and biking are also available along US Highway 101. Potlatch State Park has pleasant weather from May to September, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to the high 70s and less rain during the hotter summer months. Winter temperatures range from the mid-40s to the 50s, with more than 12 inches of rain falling in most months.
There is one campground with 38 campsites, including 35 with electric hookups, for RV enthusiasts who want to spend the night. Potlatch State Park’s peak season lasts from the middle of May to the middle of September.

Lake Potlatch State Park
CC: Social Channel of park

Potlatch State Park Camping

Potlatch State Park’s campground is ideal for campers of all skill levels. It consists of two loops connected by a single road and has 38 campsites, 36 of which have electric hookups. The south loop is open all year and has 27 campsites, including 18 with electricity and water. The south loop contains five pull-through campsites. The north campground is farther from US-101, and several campsites are closed from September to May. Each campsite includes amenities such as a fire ring, a picnic table, and a paved parking pad that may need to be leveled. Although campsites vary and larger rigs may not find enough space at each site, RVs and trailers are limited to 60 feet in length. For RVs and trailers, there is a dump station near the entrance and the south loop. The campground has flush toilets and showers, as well as a softball field on the north loop. Generators may be used between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Pets are welcome, but must be restrained at all times by a six-foot leash.

Potlatch State Park Activities


Hiking is not the most popular activity in Potlatch State Park, but it can provide solitude away from the hustle and bustle of camp life. The park has two nature trails with interpretive signage that explain the park’s unique environment and the surrounding area of the Olympic Peninsula. You can also take advantage of Hood Canal’s 5,700 feet of shoreline by combing the sandy areas for shells and driftwood and watching Marines go about their business in the canal.


Kayaking at Potlatch State Park is ideal because of the easy access to the Hood Canal. The park is located along the larger Cascadian Marine Trail, which includes the Hood Canal waterways. A day-use parking area is ideal for launching your kayak into the water. You can see the lush green landscape from a different perspective as you paddle the shoreline, and you can also expect to see some incredible wildlife. If you want to go kayaking, bring your own or rent one privately because there are none available at the park.


Do you enjoy fishing? If so, bring your rod and reel because you’ll be able to do some beach fishing at Potlatch State Park. The most common type of fishing in the park is saltwater fishing, and many anglers will use live bait (such as worms or muscle meat) to try to catch flounder or salmon. If you don’t have your own fishing equipment, you should buy it on your way to Potlatch State Park or rent it privately because there will be none available for rent at the park.


Visitors to Potlatch State Park during the off-season will be pleased to learn that this is the best time of year to go birdwatching. Because of the area’s varied terrain, the bird species are diverse, and there are many different areas to explore, such as marshes, forests, and mudflats. Near the water, common species include scaups, herons, and scoters, while in the trees, keep an eye out for steller jays and fox sparrows.


Another great way to enjoy the great outdoors when visiting Potlatch State Park is to take advantage of the park’s picnic facilities. There are several picnic tables scattered throughout the park that are ideal for smaller gatherings and can be used without making a reservation. If you have a large group, you can also reserve a picnic shelter online before you arrive. During the offseason, the shelter is open all year and can be used on a first-come, first-served basis.


There is no better way to cool off during the hot summer months than to take a dip along the beach. There are numerous swimming areas in the park; however, be aware that there is a steep drop-off once you wade out into the water. As a result, swimming is only recommended for those who are confident in their abilities and don’t mind swimming in deep water. There are no lifeguards on duty along the beach, which is something to keep in mind.

Lake view Potlatch State Park
CC: Social Channel of park

Potlatch State Park Location

Driving to and from Potlatch State Park is simple because it is accessible via US-101. Traveling south on US-101 follows the shoreline and contours of Hood Canal, with a few curves but no hairpin turns that are difficult to navigate in a larger vehicle. If you need to get supplies before your adventure, you can go to Shelton (about 13 miles away) or Olympia (about 33 miles away). You will encounter traffic from the day-use area parking lot once you arrive at the entrance station, which may include vehicles towing boats or carrying watercraft on the roof. After entering the park, driving is fairly simple, with only one road connecting the two campground loops. There are no sharp turns to negotiate within the campgrounds. If you are only visiting for the day, the best place to park is in the day-use area, which has a large parking lot that will easily accommodate your RV.


Parking is strictly prohibited on the shoulder between milepost 335.07 (entrance to Potlatch State Park) and milepost 335.72. (approximately where Hood Canal is no longer visible from Highway 101). Furthermore, the land between the highway turnout and the public beach is privately owned, and there is no longer ANY access to the public beach from the highway turnout.

Public Transport

Public transport is not available

Potlatch State Park Photos

Potlatch State Park Map