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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.

9 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 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!

My college buddy and I did this hike in early May 2017. We drove from the Hoh Rainforest to the Quinault Wilderness Information center to get the permit and a bear canister (about an 1.5hr drive). We waited for about 20 minutes until a ranger showed up. After that we drove to Graves Creek Trailhead to park the car and begin the hike (50 min drive along some dirt roads through the rainforest). We most likely started the hike around 11:00AM and planned to hike to the valley in one day. The trail is amazing and passes glacial blue water and thick rainforests. We really were enjoying the hike however because we needed to get to the campground before dark (really darkness in the rainforest comes faster than the sunset due to the trees and mountains blocking the sun) we really only stopped a few times for no more than 10-20min. Due to this, our hike did feel somewhat tiring especially between O'Neill and Pyrites. From Pyrites to the Gate is probably when we were the most exhausted because we kept up a really fast pace for most of the day. During this part of the hike we did see three black bears, 2 out of the 3 were decently far from the trail wandering by the river. However probably about a 0.3 mile from the Gate where the bridge is we saw a large male black bear. This bear was no further than 15 yards from us and standing directly next to the trail. To say we were nervous was an understatement since this large male black bear never took his eyes off us, was super tense, and did walk towards us at some points. Once we passed the gate we felt a little calmer and we could see the valley ahead. This valley was one the most amazing locations either of us had been to before. In early May the waterfalls were rushing down from the mountains and the peaks were snow-capped. We were there on a Sunday and there were no campers anywhere so we had the whole valley to ourselves. We set up our campsite on a ridge next to the river near the chalet. We then saw some more bears wandering around the valley, one bear stayed with us all night but never looked up from eating the grass which was a relief. At some points the melting snow caused small avalanches to roar down the waterfalls which was something I had never witnessed before. A tip for anyone going to the valley in early May; make sure to bring some camp wood even though it will weigh down your pack because we are in a rainforest so much of the wood is very damp and hard to light. We set up our tent, lit a fire, and just marveled at this valley until the sun finally set in the distance. The next morning we rose a little before sunrise to get an early hike out of the valley. This was a great idea because when the sunrise hits Mount Anderson and the other snow covered peaks you are hit with a truly spectacular sight. After this we began the hike back (a little depressed to leave and definitely not looking forward to the 15 miles back with our packs on). On this hike we saw one more black bear and to top it off we saw a massive herd of Roosevelt elk grazing between Pyrites creek and O'neill camp. The hike back definitely didn't feel as tough as the hike there because we had a slower pace, I do have to say that by the end you will feel tired especially when you hike up the steep hill after Pony Bridge. Overall this was definitely our favorite hike in Olympic. You get rainforests, glacial rivers, waterfalls, mountains, elk and bear. If we were ever to do go back I'd say we would try to break the hike up into a three day hike instead of doing 30 miles in two days with all our gear on us! Definitely would recommend this hike to any backpacker.

Did this back in July 2016. Walked east and north on Summit Lake Trail #4014 past Square Lake and Booth Lake, and tent camped at Jack Lake. Most of this whole section of the trail was burned in the B an B complex Fire in 2003, but the resulting abundant wildflowers are striking through here. Also notable were large populations of mountain bluebirds using the dead snags for housing and resting. After Jack Lake we continued northwesterly bypassing the tarn spur and continuing on to Wasco Lake. North of Wasco Lake the trail makes a quick scramble to meet the PCT. Continued on the PCT south and back to the parking area. Thanks to whomever uploaded this!

Very pleasant hike - we did this in July and the weather was just about perfect. We camped in Grave's Creek, hit the trail at around 8 or 9 in the morning and made it to the chalet by 4pm with no rush and a plenty of stops along the way. The hike starts with a little bit of a climb (not very steep or long, mind you) but beyond that, the going is quite easy. If you want to camp at the chalet (like we did), the trail is actually shorter than the advertised 15miles and you lose the steep climb at the very end, making this a fairly moderate hike with a wonderful valley at the end and some nice forest and river sections along the way. On the way back, heading out of the chalet campsite early, you have a great chance of seeing wildlife before other hikers scare it off. Never saw a bear though...
All in all, this is a lovely hike, very worth doing if you get the chance!

a must do. I love this hike. It's a great weekend hike. 2 19 mile days aren't that bad if you go ultralight. so many waterfalls. paint brush and other wildflowers are plentiful. trail is in great shape.

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!

We just did a day hike just a bit past O’Neill Creek and turned back. There are a good amount of camp sites in the area, and a large one right by O’Neill Creek. We were there in July 2017 and there was a black bear and her cubs right on the trail!

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.

horseback riding
2 months ago

One of my go to summer rides for fit horses. Several loops,are possible as well. If you & your horse are in shape this is a rewarding ride, however blow down can be an issue.

Beautiful! Explore as much as possible. We saw goats on the top of buckhorn and they ran by our campsite during the night

This was such a beautiful hike!!! All the lakes were amazing and you definitely need to stop to swim in them. I would recommend to do it over the course of 2 or 3 days. We took 3 days in August and had time to enjoy all the views and lakes, trail conditions at this time were perfect! This is absolutely a must do.

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

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

3 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.

4 months ago

We didn't have 4 wheel drive and were a little nervous getting to the trailhead, but we made it in and out without any real hiccup (though we moved sloooowly).

The trail was fairly flat and beautiful! It was an easy hike to the first mine opening. Our goal was the plane wreck, which was a steep hike, and far more challenging than the first bit, though it only took about 15 minutes from the mine. By here, there was snow covering much of the ground, and plenty of places where you wouldn't want to slip off the trail.

To get to the plane wreck, go around and past the rock that the mine shaft is in to the left. people talk about a sign that is hard to find, but even if you do it isn't clear where it leads.

4 months ago

Only did part of the trail, and then followed the river for fishing.

Great hike. Couple sections with very poor maintenance - today, November 2017, it would have been very difficult for me to do without a GPS track to follow.

Incredible trail! This trail is about 75% climbing and 25% steep descending. Did as day hike, started as 645am finished 8.5 hrs later, wasn't in a rush and spent some time ar Bocachiel Peak and Heart Lake. Fall was a perfect time to be there, didn't see a single person until the junction for the falls, .8 miles before finishing the day. Some hard pack ice present, can make descending tricky for the 2.1 miles along High Divide to Heart Lake... doable but slow. Only wildlife was a beautiful male mountain goat at trail junction below Bocachiel Peak and a black bear on our drive home near campground A. Views on this hike were extraordinary of Mt. Olympus and Mt. Carrie. Would highly recommend!

4 months ago

It has everything! A big waterfall, lots of views of mountain ranges, adventure/ rope ascents&decents, AMAZING COLORS in the late fall! Totally underrated backpacking trip!

Very nice trail. Amazing scenery. It took us about 9 hours. I suggest you carry GPS with you on this trail as there are quite a few "Y" shape trail splits and its not clear which trial is the main. Spotted 6 black bears within half mile distance from Heart lake.

5 months ago

Only completed a portion of this trail coming off the High Divide to spend the day down at the lake. The fairly steep climb down and back up was well worth the diversion from the initial plans.

More like 42 miles around the entire trail.

About 20 mile hike, it took us about 10 hours with some stopping briefly for lunch and pictures. The hardest part about the hike was the distance. The incline gain wasn't too bad since it was stretched over the long distance. Very beautiful, snow, blueberries, lakes, mossy trees, bears, we loved it!!!

Just returned from an amazing trip to High Divide/Seven Lakes Basin. Did the loop (counterclockwise) with the Saturday start @ 1130 am. Got to Lunch Lake at 530 pm after hiking for about 8 miles, set our tent, made dinner, watched the bears circle the lake and went to bed. Left on Sunday at 1130 am and continued the loop towards Seven Lakes/High Divide. The second leg was about 12 miles and took just over 6 hours to complete (made a stop for lunch at Heart Lake and numerous stops for pictures). Our pace was relatively fast. We encountered heavy rain and snow on Saturday and amazing blue sunny skies Sunday. Saw deer, 15 bears and abundance of lakes and peaks of the Olympics. Absolutely breathtaking hike.

Incredible loop trail.Hiked clockwise. Got a late start yesterday from Santiam Pass and camped at Jack Lake. Headed down into Canyon Meadows once descended the three switchbacks. Trail is pretty easy to find down but we lost it in the Meadows. Just kept heading east until reached creek and crissed to trail and then to Jack Lake. Lots of snow and exposure on PCT above 5500. Wind and ice this morning and wide open views thru Booth and Square lakes. Overall a great hike....loved it

5 months ago

We walked the Hall of Mosses trail then hiked down the Hoh River trail to the falls. I felt like I was in one of the worlds from the old computer game Myst! Just beautiful!

We did a 3 day hike with the first night at Deer Lake and the second night at Sol Duc Park. Tough hike but worth the stunning and amazing scenery along the way. We also saw 8 bears, one up close, but he ignored us and kept on eating all the blueberries :)

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