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Backpacking Map

Great trail description in Olympic Mountains Trail Guide.

4 days ago

Awesome place to visit. The moss is literally covering almost all you see and the dense colors of green are incredible! Highly recommend visiting

Great time with my sons on my first backpacking trip. Highly recommend this loop - don’t skimp on the side trips like Lunch Lake. Worth it.

I love this trail. I hike it at least once a month. Can be hiked year round, but lots of snow right now (March.)

13 days ago

Man, it was cold!! Stayed at Five Mile Island for a couple nights. Really loved this campsite- open space, outhouse available, didn't see bear ropes for food tho but could have missed it, right next to the river, lots of flat camping options. Ran into a herd of about 30 Elk. Attempted to continue on the trail but the snow became more dense - highly encourage micro spikes for this. Decided suffering through the cold (even though my sleeping bag is 20 degrees and I was wearing 4 layers) wasn't very fun. Will definitely attempt to reach the glacier at another time.

I have been up this trail several times. I would consider this more of a gateway trail to Mt. Adams. It offers nice views up the Cascade Creek drainage and the Salt Creek Drainage. Graveyard Camp used to be a junction for the trail to Looking Glass Lake, it seems that the US Forest Service decided that the cut across trail does not need to be there. the sign is gone and the route is not shown on newer maps. (or the maps I have). I have the benefit of owning Columbia National Forest map from 1940. It's a shame so much history is forgotten. This area used to have shelters and structures all over the area.

18 days ago

I only went as far as Whiskey Creek cabin, well after a short detour that passed the cabin. It was a great day for the hike. I pretty much had the trial to myself. The only problem that I had was trying to cross some of the waterfalls because of the recent weather. I am a nervous nelly and that is why I had a problem. However, if I could do it, then anyone could. :-) I wil totally do this hike again.

21 days ago

Royal Basin is the finest alpine area in the Dungeness watershed.Streams cross the trail regularly.In the southeast corner of the basin it's not to difficult to gain the top of Royal ridge.The view over the basin is magnificent.I like to drop in to Milk Creek and go over to the other side of Milk Creek basin,over to an magnificent viewpoint for Warrior,Mt.Con stance and Inner Constance.Some steep snow often.

I backpacked this loop over the summer. It was my very first time backpacking and we did it clockwise (most people do it counterclockwise) so there was a lot of uphill. It was hard but ridiculously beautiful the entire time. The scenery changes throughout the whole loop too. You hike through forests, in the mountains, and by lakes. At some points I swear I felt like I was walking through Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings. When we went we saw a bunch of mountain goats and even two black bears! I went in August and when we hiked through a part of the mountains there were huckleberries everywhere. Basically the whole thing is amazing!

Little hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going. Don’t let the steepness intimidate you. this is by far the best view you can get of surrounding areas without that much difficulty. From above heart lake you can see Mt. Shasta, Black Butte, Mt. Ashland (far distance) and then if you look hard enough you can even spot Mt. Lassen and the Crags. You have to climb above heart lake up on the ridge to see this but honestly everything here is absolutely GORGEOUS.

Great hike with my dog! Didn’t see many other people, and the view of Castle Lake from Heart Lake is amazing. Be careful if you come in the winter, as the snow and ice makes this more of a “hard” hike than “moderate”. The trail was packed down so snowshoes aren’t necessary (as mentioned in another review). There’s a small stream to cross at the beginning, with a precarious piece of plywood over it, so be prepared for that.

Did this last year and was not disappointed. Best long trail I’ve done in quite a long time.

1 month ago

LOVED this trail! My husband and I completed it in a grueling two-day trek. The eastern portion is clearly signed at every landmark with mile markers, but the western part is hardly signed at all (but the trail is still easy to find). The views are breathtaking and it made for a wonderful trip.

Nice trail, beautiful views at the top. Yesterday there was probably 1 ft-2ft of snow most of the way, but it’s pretty stamped down from all the hikers, some areas more challenging than others. Didn’t need snow shoes (though you could get away with them off to the sides of the trail), just wear some waterproof hiking boots and water repellent pants and you’ll be good to go!

Ran up the trail most often way with my dog. Hard run to moderate hike. Can get crowded on weekend. Very nice views.

Winter hike up here, not too much snow right now - didn’t require snowshoes. It was, however, really icy. Trekking poles work great to keep you on two feet! The hike is very nice, not too hard but you can work up a bit of a sweat too with a faster pace! Most of the trail follows the river closely, the waterfall is lovely, and the evidence of avalanches really makes an impression; tons of downed trees and debris from who-knows-when.

2 months ago

Amazing trail, the lakes are beautiful. We hiked up the end of June and beginning of July. Lots of snow up on Sawtooth and some snow on the trial. One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on.

No snow, a little icy. Heart Lake is frozen over.

2 months ago

Did this as a day hike with a buddy. Other than me being a dumb dumb with new inserts it was a great trip. It was kind of chilly and windy so bugs were at a minimum. Stopped at the lower camp and was roomy as far as places to park gear but was hard to find water and good camp things. Upper camp much better for finding things like that and camping spots were pretty big and seemed to be enough. I would pay to stay up there. Didn’t make it to the lake at the top but that was my own fault. Early September

2 months ago

Due to time constraints, we only hiked the first four miles to the Grover of Large Cedar. Loved this hike, and intend to return to hike the full trail!

Beautiful views.

Lovely winter hike. As mentioned by others, lots of side trails so easy to get off trail, especially once the snow covers some tracks. I was glad I had microspikes for the steeper slushy/icy parts. The frozen lake plus Mount Shasta views however can't be beat!

the loop is very nice.however,the views from the trail along the south side of cat peak (out by the cat walk) are the finest from a trail in the Olympic Mountains of western Washington.a small spring comes out just below the trail at one the avalanche tracks in that part of the trail.its the only source of water between heart lake ,cat basin,etc and the end of built trail.

The loop is nice,but no sain intelligent person would do this hike and not go out to the end of built trail at cat peak .carry water.

3 months ago


3 months ago

We hiked to the waterfall in winter on a beautiful clear day. This hike is amazing! The mountains Loom up right next to you, unexpectedly and gloriously close. I highly recommend this Trail in the winter because the ice that forms on top of the running water is so very pretty.

If you're thinking about doing it, stop thinking. Leave behind anything that dings, rings or pings and just have at it. I had a chance to do this loop last month and it was completely worth every bite, bruise and blister I came back home with.

The traditional way to do this one is counter-clockwise, but we were unable to secure a backcountry permit early enough, so to stagger the campsites across the loop, the rangers gave us the option to do it in reverse. After reading up on this, a lot of backpackers mentioned that this is sort of a ‘hidden secret,’ so we figured why not. The one thing to note is that by doing it this way, there’s a lot more uphill in terms of length, so make sure to account for that time. We were essentially going uphill every day of the trip (the first 14 miles or so) except the final day, which was about 7 miles down, so if you do this the ‘right’ way, you get majority of the uphill out of the way on day 1. However, by doing it the ‘wrong’ way, the grade is not obscene and definitely handleable. Everytime you start to ‘dig deep,’ there’s something - whether it be a lake, a river, a vista - to help rejuvenate you for another push.

With that being said, there is no ‘wrong’ way.

Anyhow, after our final ‘real meal’ at the Springs Restaurant at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, we parked our cars at the end of the road, strapped on our packs, and into the thicket we go-eth.

The trail started off in the old-growth forest as we followed along Sol Duc River to our first campsite of the night about 5 miles in. The mosquitos were not shy, at all, so for the first time in my life, I had to throw on a mosquito net (trust me, this turned out to be an extremely necessary accessory for this entire trip and worth every penny of the 3 dollars it cost me…), fired up the MSR stove, inhaled a Mountain House Strogonoff, and passed out to the sounds of the river just yards from my head.

The next day was a wondrous burner. We spent the first half climbing out of the old-growth in the sub-alpine range, where we were treated to insanely gorgeous meadows dotted with streams and wildflowers, alpine lakes, and sun-drenched ridge lines laden with everything from elk to bears. We took this opportunity to wash off in the river, devour some calories, and fill up our water bladders (a good place to do so as the next water source is in the 7 Lakes Basin a good 6 or 7 miles away).

Once we made it through the meadow and up along the ridge, our timing could not have been more perfect. On one side, we had Mount Olympus and the snow-capped mountains surrounding it, slathered in ridiculous pink and blue and purple hues from the setting sunlight, and then, on the other side, being separated from a seemingly endless range of golden-sun-lit tree-covered mountains by nothing but a valley filled with shimmering alpine lake after lake. (I have a 360˚ photo on my blog, where I also have a much more detailed account of the entire trip, that you might want to check out: http://www.wasimofnazareth.com/blog/2017/9/10/my-olympic-national-park-z...)

Our campsite for that night was Silver Snag, which was situated right on the ridge-line overlooking Mount Olympus. This was too much! We woke up the next day to clouds covering much of the landscape, but got super lucky when she decided to indulge us for a few minutes by revealing her snow-capped face for a short peek through the cloud cover.

And she was glorious.

And then she was gone.

And that’s when the fog rolled in and it started to lightly drizzle. We figured we’d wait it out for a bit with a nap, but that was rudely interrupted by a family of mountain goats that, eh, look so cute and cuddly from afar, but, well, were quite the aggressive buggers. We were warned by the rangers and locals of their aggression, and were told everything from yell at them to throw rocks at them if they get too crazy. We kept scaring them away, but with each successful attempt to get them away from the campsite, they got bolder and angrier. Eventually one of us had to keep watch and scare them away, while the other two of us packed up camp (quick tip, use your tent rain fly and shake it in the air violently…that seems to do the trick, until they come back again, which they will. Oh they will…).

We continued on and as we began to dip into the 7 Lakes Basin, the fog began to slowly clear, revealing the surreal landscape before us…rolling hills with scattered lakes, both shallow and temporary ones formed by visible snowmelt, and deeper bodies of water that are more permanent features of the terrain. We spent the next few hours navigating the trails that snaked besides the lakes as we descended deeper into the valley towards Lunch Lake, our home for the night. Here, we were treated to a gorgeous scene as the rest of the fog cleared through the valley just in time to reveal a local deer population grazing just steps away from us as the sun set for the night.

The following morning was the toughest part

I have hiked the entire trail twice and the Mariel, Blossom Bar is my favorite section. These sections can be reached by vehicle and worth the drive for a day hike or spending the night. Awesome hike anytime of the year!

Great backpacking trip. Spent first night just above Sol Duc spots in the stock camp. Second night at Deer lake. absolutely wonderful!

4 months ago

We hiked the entire trail to Glacier Meadows, and then up to Blue Glacier (twice). This is by far the most stunning and otherworldly place I've ever been. It was hard at points, but nonetheless rewarding.

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