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backpacking
16 days ago

Did this one solo last summer. it was AMAZING! Worth all the the work for certain. It was almost like backpacking through 3-4 different micro climates. One trip I'll never forget.

One of the coolest hikes I have ever done. If you do this loop as an overnight counter-clcokwise staying in the basin, there's a really cool unofficial but easy to follow trail leading from the east side of Lunch Lake past some other lakes back up to the ridge and if you jump off that trail you get epic views over Long Lake.

Great trail. We only went up to the first lookout point on the ridge looking down to the river. We’re looking forward to doing it again and going through the entire loop. VERY heavy traffic with lots of people and dogs, so don’t expect to be on your own. Overall very fun.

Great trail description in Olympic Mountains Trail Guide.

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 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!

This one looks good on paper but is actually tedious, dry in long stretches with mixed, mediocre views and leaves you unsatisfied. Use your valuable time to a different loop.

cool, above tree line hike

Love this trail, it's beautiful not super hard. Some nice fishing in some of the lakes also!

Love going here just make sure you go during the right time of year especially if you are camping the mosquitos are every where during certain times

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.

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.

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

Beautiful at every turn. Would definitely go again. Met great people along the trail who told the best places to set up camp.

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

Was fantastic, went with the young men’s group. We can’t wait to do it again

backpacking
4 months ago

Fantastic hike with spectacular views and sparkling mountain lakes. Don't forget the bug spray.

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!

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.

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

We did this hike last year and it was amazing. Tons to see and the campgrounds were pretty nice. Not crowded at all.

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 :)

Even though we didn't do the whole loop, we loved it. We reached the junction to lunch lake (over deer lake) and returned the same way. Amazing views, bear sightings and beautiful landscape! Next time we will pack our tent to do the whole loop as multi day trip!!!

Beautiful wilderness. Was the perfect place to see the 2017 Eclipse! It was a bit overcrowded for the eclipse, but we got some good camping spots. We had one patch of snow that made finding the trail difficult when we did the hike back in August, but it wasn't terrible. The water was flowing great and the lakes were beautiful! Highly recommend this loop! We gave ourselves 4 days out there but could have easily done 3.

We started off our day at the ranger station where we got our bear can and permit. We were lucky enough to be assigned two great camp spots for our three day/two night adventure. Day one at Sol Duc Park, and day two at Lunch Lake. It was a long steady hike to Sol Duc Park (around 8mi). We took leisurely breaks here and there, picked some berries, enjoyed the streams. I wanted to do this hike primarily for the wildlife and the views of Mount Olympus. Hikers kept passing us talking about a bear ahead on the trail, but we never ran into it. Later, after being at our camp and all set up, someone informed us that one was just at Heart Lake swimming. So of course we made our way up there for a "quick" peek. Quite a steep jaunt even for my partner and I who are in our early 20s and reasonably fit. We caught it just as the bear peacefully climbed up the side of the ridge. My first sighting in the wild!

The first morning we woke up to very stuffy noses and the smell of smoke from all of the wildfires currently burning in eastern Washington and Oregon. Unfortunately it remained smoky for the rest of our journey. The hike from Sol Duc Park to Lunch Lake is pretty nice. It starts out pretty steep between Sol Duc Park and High Divide. When we reached the High Divide, it was so smoky we only saw a part of Mount Olympus. Kind of disappointing, so with this we took the lake trails (possibly the y lake trail but it didn't match up exactly on my recording) to Lunch Lake. At Lunch we set up our camp and went down to cool off and enjoy the water. I heard some loud splashing, and looked across the way to see a bear also enjoying the lake. It stayed around for a good 15 minutes before heading towards the way we entered lunch lake. Around dusk, a mother deer and her baby walked right by our camp, another group came by a little later. Our hike out was relatively easy, but long. The first portion getting out of lunch and getting back up to the High Divide, is a steep one. Definitely want to come back around later September/October or next spring. Trail loop is also probably closer to 20 miles.

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