High Divide - Seven Lakes Basin Loop

HARD 98 reviews
#7 of 162 trails in

High Divide - Seven Lakes Basin Loop is a 30.6 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Forks, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
30.6 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,618 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Most people choose to do this hike counterclockwise, but it can be done either way. Olympic National Park provides a limited number of permits for overnight campers. Reservations for trips between May 1 and September 30 are strongly advised and can be made by mail or fax beginning February 15. Half of the sites are reserved for walk-up requests made to the Wilderness Information Center. Bear canisters are required for this hike and can be rented from the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a pretty difficult hike for me but with some amazing views.

In November, expect some icy spots on the trail so be careful not to slip. We were surprised that this year 2018 many peaks were not covered in snow. Most lakes are covered by a layer of ice, which looks pretty cool.

hiking
2 months ago

We did High Divide clockwise and threw in part of the Hoh River Trail down to the lake for a 27 mile day.

Clockwise is the way to do it- a gradual ascent on peaty trails next to the babbling river and falls. The middle portion is more challenging because of the altitude, but the views on both High Divide and Hoh River made up for it.

Then... there was Deer Lake Trail. The only unexpected surprise of the trip, the last 3 miles (clockwise) or first 3 miles (counterclockwise) is all sharp cobbles and boulders. Come prepared to scramble on a rock field, or better yet skip completing the loop and hike back the way you came.

We did the first 24 miles including 2 ascents in 9 hours and were still fresh entering Deer Lake Trail. DESCENDING the 3 miles from Deer Lake took us 3 hours and turned our feet into hamburger. The only black mark for this trip.

Overall, a wonderful trail perfect for introducing a fit beginner to hiking

hiking
3 months ago

Did this loop as a day hike on Tuesday, Sep. 25th. I skipped going down to lunch lake, so I believe the total mileage was somewhere around 17.5. I did the loop counterclockwise.

The upper sections of the trail were absolutely amazing, and I picked a perfectly clear day to do this hike. The climb up was steady but not terrible. I didn't have to stop much. Once you hit the section of the trail near heart lake, the views of Mt. Olympus are awesome. However, heading down once you're back in the forest, even though it's pretty, it feels like it drags on for forever. I was absolutely exhausted and I think it was pushing the limits of what I can personally accomplish in a single day of hiking. The entire hike took me about 8 hours to complete, with only short breaks for pictures and checking out the views, and I hike at a pretty decent pace. I still absolutely recommend this hike, but give yourself a lot of time to do it if you're going to make it a day hike.

The drive in was simple and easy, and the trailhead had a decent amount of parking on a weekday around 10am. All trails are clearly marked and the trailhead has bathrooms, but no place to fill water.

3 months ago

Gorgeous hike! We went counterclockwise and it seemed to take longer to get to heart lake than we anticipated and were ready for. Took about 6-7 hours up to heart lake and then 3-4 hours down the Sol Duc River trail the next morning. There were a few blueberries left (hiked Oct 9-10) if you looked for them. It was really cold at night but we had amazing weather and there were tons of stars. I would definitely do this again, but would start earlier (8-9AM) so I could enjoy more of the high divide and Bogachiel peak.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing trail that has it all—rainforest, waterfalls, lakes, ridge top vistas, and open meadows of blueberries and summer wildflowers. We did the entire hike in one day, took us 10.25 hrs including multiple stops for snacks and photos (8:15-6:30). We decided to go counterclockwise based on reviews here. Glad we did, as it was a nice gradual descent along the Sol Duc river trail to end the hike. It was really cold but we lucked out with bluebird skies and very little clouds (hiked 10/6). Only saw one bear in the seven lakes basin, some chipmunks, and a herd of elk along the river trail. Most of the blueberries were gone and wildflower season was over, but the autumn red leaves from the shrubs provided beautiful color. Saw 6 people the entire day (4 backpackers and 2 runners). Definitely worth it to take the short side trip up to Bogachiel peak for 360 degree views. Would highly recommend this hike for the variety of terrain and views of Mt Olympus and Mt Carrie. Honestly we were expecting the climb to be more difficult based off previews reviews, but it was not bad at all. Doable in a day if you start early and snack a lot!

3 months ago

Beautiful trail. It felt longer than anticipated, we did it over two days counterclockwise with a night at heart lake. The first day took us 6-7 hrs to reach camp but the second day descent only took 3-4. Doing this at the beginning of October meant it was quite cold. We were met with rain and hail but thankfully most of the time it was sunny with clouds and some fog. At night the temperatures dipped below freezing. Splendid night sky with stars and Milky Way very visible.

hiking
4 months ago

We didn't finish the loop but we did go about 6.5 miles up (to the highest point) the way of Deer Lake, and then back. Sol Duc Falls and the Deer Lake wilderness were nice but once you're in the Apline Meadows and higher, the views get really good.

fishing
4 months ago

We only made it to Deer Lake this time as the rain was just too much for us at the end of camping for a week. We are for sure headed back because it was such a beautiful hike. The walk to Deer Lake wasn't hard either with the packs. We tried fishing there, didn't catch anything but again the weather wasn't the best for this activity.
If you'd like to follow our camping adventures you can do it here;
https://jtjones5525.wixsite.com/ramblinggal

backpacking
4 months ago

We hiked the Seven Lakes Basin in late August. We were assigned to Sol Duc Park for the first night, and Lunch Lake for nights 2 and 3, meaning we hiked the loop in the clockwise direction.

We started out in fair spirits with a light rain and fog, not knowing that this would be our backpack trip of equipment failure. My hiking partner's boots, boots of 20 years, decided to retire, which resulted in large blisters within the first few miles of the hike. After limping into Sol Duc, we discovered that the tent that we had been using on many previous trips had sprung a leak. Our spirits were slightly dampened at this point, but fortunately hiking partner of mine had decided to throw a pair of hiking shoes in her backpack as we were leaving the parking lot. Luckily, the drizzle remained fine, and in the morning, relatively dry still, we decided to press on, with old hiking boots slung on the back of the pack, and hiking shoes on feet. No bugs.

We hiked for a few hours, through thick fog, and saw virtually…. NOTHING! Hiked the High Divide and saw only what was in a few yards of us. More fog, and a few rocks. No bugs even. Every once in a while the fog would lift slightly and tease us with a tiny glimpse of what we thought might be a lake. Descended into the Seven Lakes Basin and could only see the rim of Lunch Lake as we walked along. Slightly disheartened, we found a relatively sheltered spot at Lunch Lake to help with "old leaky" the tent. Damp and miserable by evening (but still warm enough, thankfully) we decided that if things didn't look up the next day we would forgo our third night and hike out in the morning.

Woke up on the third morning at 6:30 and……HALLELUJAH!…..there were the clearest skies that we had seen in days, there was the whole of Lunch Lake, and miles of basin, crystal clear, with the sun coming up over the edge of the bowl. No way were we going home now! On this day, we decided to hike through the basin (only light day packs on our back), seeing up close many of the beautiful basin lakes that had been invisible the day before. Then we hiked out of the bowl and back up to the High Divide where we were able to see the miles of emerald basin lakes on one side of the Divide and Mt Olympus, with it’s stunning glaciers, on the other side. On the same day we also saw 4 bear, in and around the basin, or 1 bear 4 times :). We decided at one sighting that we would sing to make sure it was aware of our presence. The bear only looked up slightly to have a glance at the “crazies” passing by, while continuing to munch on the blueberries that thickly cover the slopes of the basin.

The fog and rain, followed by the sun, had made this day so sweet, that it was one of the top ten days of my life.

Sadly, we had to hike out the next day. Our tent was dry by this point, and the blisters covered with moleskin. We will be heading to buy new equipment before our next adventure.

Kudos to the Rangers and Olympic Park Staff who love this place, and put so much heart into its maintenance and preservation. It’s in my heart now too.

4 months ago

Added a jaunt to Appleton Pass and Hoh Lake for a mutliday trip. There were a few bear roaming around the Hoh Lake basin but they just chowed down on the blueberries and did not seem to care about us. Most impressive stretch is the High Divide ridge line. Definitely a popular hike and trail runner route.

backpacking
4 months ago

Pretty neat hike. Best views are between deer lake and heart lake.

backpacking
4 months ago

Absolutely stunning. We went just as the smoke was clearing so we got pretty lucky but still the views of Mt Olympus were pretty much obscured by haze. That was the only bummer in what was otherwise an incredible trip. There were beautiful lakes at every turn (there are way more than 7 lakes here) and the valleys opened up to gorgeous views.

backpacking
5 months ago

Couldn’t get any camping spots. Thought they were supposed to leave 50% of the sites for first come first serve but I guess they actually don’t do that??? Decided I wanted to photograph Heart lake and that I wasn’t to be stopped. So I turned this into a day hike. Definitely wouldn’t recommend. I did the hike counter-clockwise and it turned into a 23 mile, 3,500 ft elevation change, 13 hour beast. Heart lake and surrounding mountaintops made it worth I though. Being on the ridge line most of the time is a real treat!!!

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked the loop clockwise today in 7.5 hours. The middle was scenic and crowded. The first and final thirds were unremarkable. Maybe it’s better as an overnight?

backpacking
5 months ago

Spent three days backpacking the loop and for the most part, loved it. Most people do this loop counter-clockwise but we decided to do it clockwise to spread out the elevation gain. For the most part, it was great... but I think next time, I'd rather just get the elevation over and done with in the first 8 miles. Doing the loop clockwise spread it out over about 13 miles.

The first day was an easy 3ish miles to the Sol Duc River campsite #2. Didn't have any issues finding the site (all campsites are clearly labelled), we were right next to the river, and we didn't have any issues with mosquitoes or anything.

Day two was about 11 miles, from our campsite to Lunch Lake. There were A LOT of flies and mosquitoes once we were above 3,500 ft. We applied a generous amount of Deet to our skin and clothes and noticed that we weren't actually getting bitten, but the bugs were relentless. The lakes were especially bad, even with ThermaCell mosquito repellent.

On a side note, saw two bears at Heart Lake and another one at Lunch Lake. Plenty of people in the area though, so we didn't have any issues. The one upside to such a well-trafficked trail, you shouldn't have any issues with the wildlife! And when I say well-trafficked, I mean you'll meet ultra runners doing the entire loop in a day, day hikers doing parts of the loop, and plenty of other backpackers (especially if you stop at Heart Lake for lunch).

Another side note, there's pretty much no water on the High Divide between Lunch Lake and Heart Lake, so fill up before then!

Day three clocked in around 9.5 miles from where we were camping at Lunch Lake back to the trailhead. Most of the elevation gain was climbing back out of the Seven Lakes Basin and then it was pretty much all downhill from there! The trail is really rocky though, so watch your footing.

All in all, this was a great backpacking experience. Just wish there hadn't been so many flies and mosquitoes! If I'd known what we were in for, I'd probably have opted to camp somewhere on the Divide instead of next to one of the lakes.

5 months ago

Me and my wife backpacked this in mid July, first to Deer Lake, then Lunch Lake, then Heart Lake, then out. This trail lived up to it's reputation. It was amazing! Almost all up hill until we left Heart Lake and hiked out about 8 miles. Except for the mosquitoes, it was perfect. The view of Mt. Olympus, between Lunch Lake and Heart Lake was awesome. This is truly a classic hike that should be on everyone's bucket list.

backpacking
6 months ago

Backpacked this loop on 7/7 - 7/8. Going clock-wise with a long 1st day (15 miles) and camped at Dear Lake, out 2nd day. The trail still has snow at the peak of High Divide but footprints were simple to follow. The basin was still full of snow and all basin lakes were still frozen, which was kinda disappointing. If you plan to come for basin lakes' photos, maybe 2-3 more weeks will be much better.

hiking
7 months ago

This is an extremeley beautiful, but treacherous hike during this part of the year (Early June)

BEWARE:
Please come prepared with adequate winter equipment and gear. Also, bring appropriate camping materials to stay the night (or several) if you intend to do the full loop. Current conditions are icy and snow ridden. Snow levels are several feet deep starting from Deer Lake and increase progressively as you start to approach the High Divide. Most of the trail is hidden beneath the snow. Elevation gain is steep and high, so be sure to possess a fair amount of fitness before attempting this trail. Bring plenty of food and water.

Have an amazing time!

backpacking
7 months ago

Stunning views of Mt Olympus
Not to be missed!!

hiking
9 months ago

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.

9 months ago

Great trail description in Olympic Mountains Trail Guide.

backpacking
10 months ago

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.

backpacking
10 months ago

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!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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.

backpacking
Sunday, December 10, 2017

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

backpacking
Monday, December 04, 2017

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

hiking
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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!

hiking
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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!!!

Load More