Explore backpacking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking Map

Beautiful trail-did the last part of it around Lake Angeles the other day!

feet hurt

A beautiful ridge hike with lots of mountain meadow views as well as a really nice panorama of the mountains of the Olympic National Park.

4 days ago

Beautiful views but we had to walk a mile or so to access the beginning of the trail since it was closed for repairs

Great hike! very challenging as its switchbacks almost the whole way up. We reapplied bug spray 6 times, they are vicious. we had our dogs on leash the whole way up and on the way back down we let them off due to the rocky scramble. We ran into a park ranger on the way down and she told us that it was not required to have the dogs on leash, which was comforting and I wish I would have known sooner. I tracked the hike on my phone, it was a total of 12 miles round trip from car to the lake and back. Be prepared!

1. Tracked this hike and it's a total of 17 miles from car to lake and back to car. You hike 2.5 miles from your car to the actual trailhead.
2. Left at @10:30am, Lake @1:30pm, hung out for an hour, then got back to our car @6:30pm
3. Absolutely the most hardest hike I've ever done, but stunning and rewarding.
4. Bring a suit! You've got to jump in the lake, it's definitely worth it.
5. (tip) Some parts of snow, but dig toe down as you cross, at least that's what I did
6. (tip) The descent is hard on your feet!
7. Bug spray is a must. They're super aggressive out there.

beautiful trail with wonderful views. the switch backs were gradual which was nice but still steep and long even when coming back from the lake. Bring a minimum of 2L of water!! Made this mistake and ended up eating snow on the way back. the section in snow was completley manageable in runners.

great workout and absolutely fantastic views

Hiked July 14 and was gorgeous! Lots of streams, snowfields, and rock scrambles along the trail that made it a challenging hike, but the views are so worth it!

11 days ago

Very pretty beach, super muddy pretty much the whole way but to be expected when hiking in the rain.

11 days ago

One of the best lake views and difficult trail but worth it!

kinda hard but so worth it!

Backpacked this loop on 7/7 - 7/8. Going clock-wise with a long 1st day (15 miles) and camped at Dear Lake, out 2nd day. The trail still has snow at the peak of High Divide but footprints were simple to follow. The basin was still full of snow and all basin lakes were still frozen, which was kinda disappointing. If you plan to come for basin lakes' photos, maybe 2-3 more weeks will be much better.

13 days ago

Amazing trail, my best so far in the PNW. Be careful of sketchy snow bridges. Bring a GPS with you or near the top you will follow false bootpack and miss the trail. This resulted in required Class IV maneuvers to get to the top.
Incredible waterfalls!

14 days ago

Easy [for me] hike. 2 miles from the car to the trailhead, then another 4.35 to the lake. Tons of switchbacks to get to the top. Up top, you’ll lose the trail b/c of the snow coverage if you’re unfamiliar of where to go - I recommend downloading a map for offline use. Look for NPS pink/red tape for direction marking. Skip stopping at Virgin Lake, walk around the edge and find the trail down to Blanca. Expect semi-steep descent, no scrambling. Bring plenty of water - can refill at the lake if need be. The falls off to the side provide fresh water that will suffice. Great photo shots from the first set of rocks you’ll see from up top. Trail to the bottom is over to the left.

Side note - you’ll need a park pass for your car. No worries if you don’t have one - if you happen to get ticketed (like we did) it’s only a $5 fine (the cost of the pass)

15 days ago

Well first off, you don’t start off from the trail head. You have to park outside of the entry gate that takes you up to the trail head - road is washed out, yet is accessible for hiking up to trail head/parking lot. It adds about another 2 miles to the already 6.3 mile hike(round trip). We saw some vehicles halfway up- were locked inside; since gate was closed. Don’t know how long they were there for. The hike was tough like others mentioned. We went up 7/2/18, still lots of snow, trekking poles helped. Only made it to Virgin Lake, which was a short distance from Blanca Lake....was getting late; both where still frozen. Trail has ribbon makers to help guide, once you get to the snow parts- at least I believe that’s what they were there for. Helps to have a good GPS app on phone. Foot prints in snow helped too, from others. Come mid/late August, I believe snow should melt - it was a colder winter....don’t know how long it will stick around. Over all, the hike was hard, lots of switchbacks and roots on trail heading up. If you like a challenge, go for it!

Set out on 4th of July. Started around 8:15 in the morning and crossed paths with just a few people. Both lakes were beautiful. Some patches of snow still, especially if you’re going all the way to the gap. We did it, but there was a sketchy patch with just hiking boots. Clear views of Rainer, Adams, and St. Helens if you do the whole trail to the gap. Worth the time and effort!

We loved this hike. I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids to the peak. The path is narrow, but the hike up to the lake is perfect for older kids 8+. Swing by both lakes. Not too many people.

21 days ago

One of my favorite backpacking destinations in the Northwest. We went up mid August 2017. The 17 or so switchbacks about 1/2-2/3 of the way up were quite grueling. Especially after accidentally hiking Barlow pass before Gothic basin, due to trailhead confusion. We woke up to incoming rain and high winds after a sunny previous day — be prepared for quick weather changes. The sight at and around Gothic basin was absolutely stunning. There is a certain dark beauty about the whole place, especially as the clouds roll in quickly. Highly, highly recommend this spot in late summer!

Beautiful we lost the trail lots of snow

We did the trail to the peak and lake late June.The trail to the crystal peak is 3.8 miles and to the lake is 3 miles. The route separates after 1.6 mile. The crystal peak trail has great view of the Mt.Rainer. You need little bit of luck to have clear sky and all breathtaking views. Trail starts in the forest and you will have clear views about after 2 miles. Both trails to the lake and peak are steep.If you wanna do only one of trails I recommend doing the crystal peak as you will have view Rainer and both upper and lower crystal lake.

27 days ago

Must do for all ages and abilities . . The beach is your “trail” . . the trail starts instantly on the beach. Go as little or as far as ya want . . great tide pools . . great ocean sound. Rocky beach . . Want a sandy beach? . . go to Shi Shi or Kalaloch Beach. Hole in the wall is a great unique feature.

Beautiful trail, however due to snow & my inability to find the trail I was unable to do the full thing. I started the ridge near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center & it was absolutely beautiful, great completely different views on both sides. I went as far as I could then turned back & drove to the Switchback trailhead, as expected it was a challenge. I climbed through a lot of snow & eventually wasn’t able to continue, I conveniently stopped on some boulders & had a great view of the lake from above. The first part of the trail on the ridge was my favorite part; wildflower, snow covered mountain & Strait of Juan de Fuca views all at the same time.

I did this trail on 6/14 to 6/16. Awesome scenery, full of green and water sources (the hike follows Quinalt River), so you don't have to take any water with you just the bottle with your filtration system. Bear canisters were required but available for free at the Ranger Station. We did 10 miles in the first day and
camped at Pyrite Campsite, by the river. Very pleasant site. It had a rock-fire-pit and some "tree-benches" to sit on. following day we hiked 4 miles to get to the valley. At the valley there are 2 very raw outpost restrooms around the chalet. didn't rain at all despite weather forecast saying it would. I really enjoyed this hike and recommend it

1 month ago

Beautiful beach. Very easy hike with very little elevation gain but also pretty muddy.

This was an amazing hike. Pretty steep incline on some parts. The view at the top of the ridge was spectacular!!

1 month ago

The view is amazing!

Super duper hard hike!!! Haha... Make sure you spray some bug spray or bring fly zapper. I almost got eaten alive from the flies. Great view at the end!

1 month ago

It was cloudy but, still had the opportunity to enjoy its

Load More