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

July Map

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.

Make no mistake, unlike many other hard-rated hikes on this website, this one is actually hard. An information board in one of the ranger centers rated it as extremely strenuous, and while I'm not sure about the "extreme" part, "strenuous" is definitely an apt description.
You start straight off with the hardest part - very steep switchbacks through a forest that feel almost endless and offer absolutely no views to take your mind off your misery. While you gain a lot of altitude in this section, on the map it looks like you are making no progress at all, which can feel somewhat discouraging. It was warm and really humid when we did the hike, which made the first part even worse.
Once you make it beyond the switchbacks, you finally get some views, which gradually open up until you have full 360 at the top. The final push again comes in the form of a few steep switchbacks but this time they are fairly short.
Mid-July, there was still a lot of snow at the top, so sturdy boots and hiking poles are a must.
During the whole hike, we only met 3 or 4 other people, so if you want some quiet time, this hike is definitely a good place. We saw some ground-squirrels and bear footprints but no other wildlife.
In sum, this is a great hike with stunning views at the top, definitely worth the effort.

7 days ago

A fairly easy hike with gorgeous views of mountains and lakes. Mid-July, there was still plenty of snow in the upper parts, so hiking poles and good boots come highly recommended. We hiked it in the counter-clockwise direction and we thought the last steep descent was quite hard on the knees but nothing unbearable. If you prefer a less steep descent, go clockwise though.
All in all, a really nice hike with quite a few people on the trail.

Love the lake, the view it’s amazing

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 must be one of my favorite, if not "the" favorite hike - it has really just about everything: an adventurous drive to the trail-head (more on that later), a forest to start your hike in, a lush mountain meadow, plenty of snow-fields (mid July) all the way to a rock-scrambling part to the lookout at the end. And the views, oh my, the views. Going up, they are beautiful already but once you make it to the ridge that will get you to the lookout, you're in for a real treat. I just wish we had known that it was possible to stay overnight in the lookout - sunset and sunrise must be absolutely stunning from there.
The hike itself is not easy and the last part would be tough for people with vertigo but otherwise we didn't think it was too difficult. It's easily manageable in an afternoon even if you take plenty of time to soak in the views at the top. We saw a bear and a pica rabbit too.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the drive. I saw cars parked at the trail-head that had pretty low clearance, so it must be possible to get there in just about anything but I was really happy that we took a rental 4WD SUV. The forest road is quite steep in places and littered with potholes large enough to break your axle in, so having a higher clearance vehicle comes in handy.
Overall, if there is just one hike you are going to do in this part of the park, make it this one!

Great trail - steep but worth the climb. Microspikes are a must now, poles would have been nice too. Definitely a little windy up in the boulder field, but totally doable.

19 days ago

There was snow but only a couple inches on the trail so good hiking shoes is all you need. The falls are frozen and beautiful!

Old trail up. Great workout. Packed snow in a trail too narrow for snowshoes. Summit is snow covered rocks and boulders so can’t use snowshoes there either. A bit icy towards the top, I had yaktrax but I wish I’d had microspikes. Ok the new rail down, seems long with lots of switchbacks. My favorite hike in the PNW so far.

Hardest but most rewarding and beautiful hike I've ever done

25 days ago

Gradually increasing trail that features trails and rocks. Worth the effort to see the falls.

25 days ago

Hex Mountain trail 1343

Our group of 5 began hiking around 10:45am on February 17th. to see a short video I put together on the hike with conditions click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bppp_yM3yaM There was about 4inches of snow on the ground and still snowing there was a winter storm warning and high wind advisory. Also the yellow gate was closed preventing you from driving all the way to the trailhead so you had about a 1 3/4mile hike to the trailhead. Once we reached the trailhead there was one other hiker ahead of us. In about another mile the winds picked up severely I put on my face mask and gloves. About two miles above the trailhead we met the hiker who had turned around we put on our snowshoes as the snow was very deep but still the wind was the biggest difficultly. About 300ft from the summit and the whole hogs back ridge was extremely windy and was a sheet of ice. We were having trouble moving and getting tossed around by the wind, we estimate the wind was around 60mph. We reached the top of Hex Mountain around 3pm. Once we got back into the trees the wind died down a bit but was still severe. The rest of the hike was a easy down hill hike and we arrived at the vehicles around 6:15pm. Again if you would like to see footage of what the trail looks like click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bppp_yM3yaM But overall the hike was fun. But I would recommend this to experienced hikers that have access to snow shoes or crampons and are very good with map and compass for there is no visible trail for 6 1/4 miles.

Be safe out there,

NW Adventures

First mile is all flat, but after the falls it’s the most hectic climb. Layer up it gets cold up there

Great hike! Wish it would have been more clear of a day but still a gorgeous hike.

1 month ago

Went up the old trail. Rain all the way, snow at the top. A semi whiteout at the summit. But the workout was great.

1 month ago

Great hike! Extremely windy and cold at the top so dress accordingly if you summit. Over 2000 feet of elevation in the last mile is a butt-kicker!

Completed this tail on the 31st of January. It was snowing but the absolutely amazing. The snow was stable so we were able to walk on it without sinking.

Recommended winter hiking trail.. just be armored with the proper hiking gears and snack..

1 month ago

I unfortunately forgot to push record for this trail. But it took us about 2 hours to reach the summit. I hiked this about 2 weeks ago in January in the snow. There were people who wore their snowshoes but we opt to wear just our spikes. They worked just fine. The trees were still charred from the wild fires we had in August of 2017. It was very mystic and eerie but beautiful the whole way up.

Icy, windy. I should have brought face protection for the exposed hills.
Traction important. I fell through snow in several places. Not many people on this day.

Great day hiking..

1 month ago

This snow shoe was a five start hike on a two star day. We had winds on the ridge as well as at the summit. We had no views either. I am not sure I would do this as a hike though. This is meant to be a snow shoe in my opinion. On WTA people seem to miss the trail. Maybe they need this app. I am guessing if your on here you dont miss the trail part up the ridge. The hike has a steady elevation gain and incredible views when its clear. Consider bring a shovel if you come on the weekends so you can park OFF the road so its safe.

Definitely a intense hike, tried to do a sunrise but took longer than planned to get to the top. Went up new trail and down old. And boy are my knees sore from going down old trail! Fair warning!
But the view at the top! Well worth it! No need for spikes at the moment.

2 months ago

Incredible. Most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on in the US so far.

Awesome hike! Old trail is a beast and new trail down was perfect on the knees. Put on microspikes right after the boulder field.

A must do on a hike bucket list. Old trail both ways.

2 months ago

Great hike. Falls are awesome.

Definitely hardest thing I have done in a long time but so worth it! I didn’t have show spikes or else it would have been much easier so prepare for weather better than I did! Took quite a few hours but I could have stayed at the top forever.

Great work out & views. Typically take 2.5 mile shortcut (old trail) up and 5.0 mile (new trail) down. All season trail. Recommend bringing spikes during winter.

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.

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