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Situated on the Olympic Peninsula, this park ranges from Pacific shoreline with tide pools to temperate rainforests to Mount Olympus. The glaciated Olympic Mountains overlook the Hoh Rain Forest and Quinault Rain Forest, the wettest area of the continental United States.

Hard is better than moderate as a descriptor. Once in top, OMG! Truly amazing. Getting up. Was difficult, coming down even more so. Easier to follow game trails since the upper trail is poorly marked.

hiking
16 hours ago

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

hiking
1 day ago

Amazing trails, technically challenging and absolutely awesome scenery. I took all the Boy Scouts on a fifty miler for their high adventure and it was amazing. Did the loop clockwise to avoid going up the miles of switchbacks by Lacrosse Pass and I would suggest that route to anyone doing the whole loop. Great hike.

hiking
4 days ago

The trail was short, but the drive was long. Spider lake is a spectacular view but unfortunately I picked up eery vibes from the glass-like stillness and once you see one part of it, the rest of the hike is a bore...

hiking
5 days ago

If you google — Google leads to a point up the road past the trailhead. Park and begin at the brown sign for the trailhead, earlier than google says.

Great easy beautiful hike to a large waterfall. The pics don’t do it justice. Go see for yourself!

No snow or ice on trail on 12/5, but it had clearly frosted the previous night. December is great time for photographing the magnificent moss since the trees are otherwise bare.

hiking
5 days ago

Hiked this morning in an attempt to see the sunrise from the top. Unfortunately, everything was obscured by fog, which I knew would be a possibility. Pretty tough hike up (I'm in good shape, but not great hiking shape, if that helps), but I had a bunch of photog gear strapped to my back which didn't help. Frequent hikers traveling lightly should have no issue.

Not much snow to speak of, but I brought my spikes anyway and would advise everyone else to do the same as a point of caution as it's pretty steep and narrow in some spots. Due to the time of the year, you will not pass a lot of people on the way up if you choose an off-peak hour of the day to make your ascent.

hiking
6 days ago

the beginning of the trail is pretty snow free. however, once you start going left on the loop trail the snow gets pretty deep in some places. we were wet passed our knees by the time we reached the top. the view was beautiful. its a steep hike but definitely worth it

By far the toughest and the most incredible hike I have been on.

Day1: We hiked up to the Hoh OxBow campground and setup tent by the river. Very flat hike and the campground had great views of the river.

Day2: Hiked up from Hoh OxBow up to Blue Glacier and down again. This was the most strenuous part.
The last stretch climbing up to Blue Glacier is very steep and the terrain is very rugged. Persevering with the tough terrain though has the most gratifying prize at the top - panoramic views of the Blue Glaciers.
The glaciers remain out of sight until the very last step of the climb, when in an instance the climb ends and the glacier surrounds you. The view will literally blow you away.

Climbing down all the way can get hard on the knees.

Day3: Hike down to the parking.

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