Olympic National Park
Hiking - The Elwha River-Hurricane Ridge
Lake Angeles Trail . . . 6.5 miles. Heavily used (and abused) high country trail. Good views if you can look past the bare ground.
Appleton Pass Trail . . . 10.2 miles. Cascading falls, subalpine meadows, avalanche chutes, and finally switchbacks above treeline.
Elwha River Trail . . . 28.4 miles. Old cabins, fishing, and views from the Low Divide.
Long Ridge/Dodger Point . . . 16.7 miles. Difficult, but commanding views are the reward
Rica Canyon/ Humes Ranch Trail . . . 4 miles. Elk-watching opportunity. Fun trail.
Heart O' the Hills and Hurricane Ridge
Heart of the Forest Trail begins at Loop E of the Heart of the Hills campground. Typical lowland forest with dense vegetation. 2 miles one way.
Hurricane Hill Trail begins at the end of the Hurricane Ridge Road. In the 1.5 miles to the top of the hill are mountain peak vistas, a view of Port Angeles, and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Wildflowers are numerous in early summer. (Wheelchair accessible first .5 mile only. This portion is paved but with steep drop offs and no guard rail). Wheelchair travel requiring assistance.
Meadow Loop Trails begin near Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. They offer strolls through a typical subalpine environment, thick with wildflowers in summer. Watch for blacktailed deer (DO NOT FEED!) and listen for the whistle of the Olympic marmot. The trail continues to Klahhane Ridge. Paved meadow trails accessible with assistance. Wheelchair travel requiring assistance.
West Lake Mills Trail starts at the Lake Mills boat launch parking area. (moderate difficulty). Two miles one-way.
Griff Creek Trail begins behind the Elwha ranger station and has sections of steep switchbacks. 2.8 miles one way. Overlook at mile 1.8 (strenuous).
Krause Bottom Trail begins at the end of the Whiskey Bend Road, a narrow road .1 mile south of the Elwha ranger station. The Elwha trail traverses a wooded ridge above the Elwha River. At 1.5 miles turn off to Krause Bottom, dropping .5 mile to the river. Trout fishing. The main Elwha trail continues south crossing the interior of the park. .5 south of Krause Bottom is Humes Ranch, an old homesteading cabin, where you can loop up to main Elwha Trail (moderate difficulty).
Madison Falls Trail wanders through meadow and forest grove, then follows Madison Creek through a cleft in the mountainside to splendid falls that cascade a hundred feet down basalt cliffs. The trail wanders through a century of pioneer history, commencing near Smith's timber claim and Sweet's Cedarvale Resort, ending at Matteson's mining claim by the falls. 0.1 mile one way. (Easy) Accessible for wheelchair travel.
Lake Angeles Trail
Heart O' the Hills to Klahhane Ridge
NPS all purpose trail with moderate use. A climb of 2,400' in 3.5 miles through montane forest (silver fir, western hemlock). Lake Angeles is in a subalpine basin and the rocky bare climb beyond comes out on the top of Klahhane Ridge. Due to slide conditions and loose talus, the footing from Lake Angeles to Klahhane Ridge can be unsure, especially for inexperienced hikers or children.
Lake Angeles offers a view of rocky Klahhane Ridge. From the top of the ridge views of the interior Olympics are excellent. Several species of endemic plants are found on the ridge.
Maps Custom Correct - Hurricane Ridge
Green Trails - Port Angeles, Mt Angeles
Access Heart O'the Hills is located off the Hurricane Ridge Road 4.8 miles from the Olympic Park Visitor Center and Wilderness Information Center. Follow the marked side road to the Lake Angeles and Heather Park trailheads through the residential area. No horse holding facility in the area.
Heart O'the Hills campground is off the main road 0.1 mile beyond the trailhead turnoff.
Trail Use Lake Angeles is the main camp area as there is only one other campsite within one mile of the trailhead. The lake area receives heavy use. A loop trip can be made by hiking past Lake Angeles to Klahhane Ridge and then down through Heather Park to the trailhead.
Heart O'the Hills Trailhead
(1850 ft. elevation)
Off Season Use Route finding in snowy conditions above Lake Angeles is very difficult. The section of trail from Lake Angeles to Klahhane Ridge is not snow free until late June or early July. The upper portions can be hazardous due to steep slopes and route-finding problems. The same is true for the section of trail from Klahhane Ridge to Heather Park.
Management Concerns Lake Angeles is one of the most heavily used and abused high country areas of the park. Large expanse of bare ground. Not recommended for overnight use. Stoves-only area. There is no toilet. Sanitation is a problem: hike well away from the lake and use the cat hole method of disposing of human waste. Pack out all trash and garbage. Backcountry camping permits are required and may be obtained at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles, phone (360) 565-3100.
Appleton Pass Trail
Appleton Pass trailhead to Sol Duc River Trail via Appleton Pass
National Park Service trail maintained for foot traffic. Open for stock when clear of avalanche debris and other trail hazards. Moderate use. The trail initially follows an old road, which was closed due to geologic instability of the road surface. The route then climbs steadily past cascading falls, subalpine meadows, avalanche chutes, and finally switchbacks above treeline. Descending from Appleton Pass, the trail follows a steady grade to the Sol Duc Valley.
Common trees the hiker will observe on the Elwha side of the pass include Douglas-fir, cedar, and Pacific silver fir. The Sol Duc side offers views of an almost pure stand of Douglas-fir.
Custom Correct - Seven Lakes Basin, Hoh
7.5 min USGS - Mt. Carrie
Green Trails - Mt Olympus Wash # 134
The Appleton Pass trailhead is located 5.3 miles beyond the Elwha ranger station, on the paved road. The closest vehicle campground offers primitive facilities for backpackers, and is located 2.4 miles beyond the trailhead.
Water is available from natural water sources. Water becomes diffucult to locate above the subalpine meadows on the Elwha side of Appleton Pass. Boil or treat water from all backcountry water sources. Fires are not permitted above 3500 ft. elevation.
No stock facilities. Turn-around area in the form of a gravelled pull-out will accomodate a truck and small trailer, and is located approximately 3/4 of a mile beyond the Happy Lake trailhead. Turn-around at the end of the road is extremely narrow, and would be impossible with a trailer rig. No stock camping is permitted above 3500 feet elevation.
Appleton Pass Trailhead
Boulder Creek Campground
Boulder Lake Trail Jct.
jct. with Sol Duc River Trail
Points of Interest
The Olympic Hot Springs is a natural area of seven small pools, located .1 mile from the Boulder Creek campground, on the southeast side of the creek. Water quality tests have shown a high level of disease bacteria in the spring's water, and does not meet U.S. Public Health Standards.
Impressive views of Mt. Olympus, the Sol Duc/High Divide area, and Boulder Creek are available just east of the pass, beyond Oyster Lake. Hang food and garbage to avoid encounters with bears. Camp only in area devoid of vegetation above treeline.
Cross-country routes to Cat Basin and Boulder Lake begin at the Appleton Pass area, as well as climbing routes to nearby peaks.
During the winter and early spring seasons, the Appleton Pass Trail is subject to high avalanche danger at the upper elevations. Check on conditions at the ranger station, and make on-site assessments as you travel. Cornices right at the pass may prohibit use of the trail route. A steep slope to the northeast may be used as an approach to the pass. Route-finding is difficult on the Sol Duc side. Snow tends to linger on the Sol Duc side longer than would be expected on a south facing slope.
Seven Lakes Basin, Deer Lake and Heart Lake areas receive especially heavy use. Considerable previous impacts, some of which have been attended to with revegetation and general restoration methods. These areas are particularly vulnerable when only a few campsites are available for use during heavy snow years. Please camp lightly. Stoves-only throughout the area. Human sanitation is a problem especially at Deer Lake which also receives concentrated day use.
Elwha River Trail
Whiskey Bend Trailhead to Low Divide
National Park Service trail maintained for foot and stock traffic. Moderate to heavy use. Trail grade overall is gradual, however an 800 foot elevation gain occurs on the Elwha trail between the Lillian River and Mary's Falls. South of Mary's Falls the trail stays closer to the river. The trail passes through douglas fir/western hemlock forest. The last 2.6 miles ascends steadily up to Low Divide in a subalpine setting.
The trail affords access to the Elwha River for the purposes of fishing. There are rustic cabins of historic interest. Elkhorn and Hayes River ranger stations are staffed intermittantly during the summer season. The Elwha Basin Trail takes off for cross-country approaches to the Bailey Range. Subalpine flowers and views at Low Divide.
See Trout and 'Shrooms in Washington's Olympics: Wild harvest in the Elwha River Valley.
Custom Correct - Elwha Valley
Green Trails - Mt. Olympus, WA #134
Mt. Angeles, WA #135
Whiskey Bend trailhead is located at the end of the upaved Whiskey Bend Road. This road begins 4 miles south of US 101 on the Olympic Hot Springs Road, just south of the Elwha Ranger Station. The unpaved road is narrow, and winding. Be alert for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction.
Primary destinations include Humes Ranch, Mary's Falls, Elkhorn, Hayes, Camp Wilder, Chicago Camp, and Low Divide.
Whiskey Bend Trailhead
Hayes Ranger Station
(hitchracks, unloading ramps, corral)
(Large drift fence enclosure, hitchracks)
(one drift fence)
There is adequate turn-around space and parking for horse trailers at the end of the Whiskey Bend Road. Camping with stock above 3500 feet elevation is prohibited. Horsemen should use caution in crossing puncheon bridges; decking and supports are weathered.
Whiskey Bend Trailhead
Jct. with Lillian River Trail
Mary's Falls Camp
Elkhorn Ranger Station
Jct. with Hayden pass Trail
Fewer difficulties may be encountered off-season on the Elwha Trail than in many other areas of the park. Obtain a backcountry permit at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles. Ask for information on trail, road, and avalanche conditions. Route-finding with snow on the Elwha Trail is not usually difficult. Numerous large trees fall across the trail durning the winter. Avalanche danger could be encountered at Low Divide.
Long Ridge/Dodger Point Trails
Michael's Cabin to Remann's Cabin (via Semple Plateau)
NPS foot trail between Michael's Cabin and Dodger Point (Long Ridge Trail) is passable to stock after windfall has been removed in Spring. Open meadows and expansive views are reached after a long, steady climb.
The steep way trail between Dodger Point and Remann's Cabin is not regularly maintained and should not be attempted by inexperienced horsemen or stock. Despite the placement of orange trail markers, route-finding could present a challenge in the upper meadows. Fording the Elwha River at Remann's Cabin presents a hazard at high water; river levels usually drop to three feet or less in first week of August.
Commanding 360 degree views of the interior Olympics are available to a hiker standig near the Dodger Point Lookout. Marmots, elk, and wildflowers are often found in the sub-alpine meadows. There is access to the Bailey Range via a short way trail that heads toward Ludden Peak, and then ends abruptly. The experienced mountaineer must choose a rugged cross-country route beyond that point.
Custom Correct - Elwha Valley
Green Trails - Mt. Olympus #134
Mt. Angeles #135
Water is only available on the very upper section of the Long Ridge Trail. On the Dodger Point Way Trail, water can usually be obtained in the upper meadows.
Camping with stock above 3500 feet is prohibited. There are no areas to camp on Long Ridge below that elevation. Horse parties should camp at Humes Ranch or Elkhorn.
0.0 trail jct. Elwha Trail/Long Ridge Trail (1150 ft. elevation)
1.1 suspension bridge across Elwha River (875 ft.)
10.0 Dodger Lakes (4900 ft.)
11.0 Dodger Point Lookout Trail jct. (5200 ft.)
11.4 Long Ridge/Dodger Point Way Trail jct. (5000 ft.)
16.7 Elwha River ford at Remann's Cabin (1450 ft.)
(13 miles from Whiskey Bend on Elwha Trail)
Off Season Use
Without knowing the route, it can be difficult to locate Dodger Point when the snow level is below 5,000 feet. Getting off the trail can mean crossing very rugged, rocky areas, or dropping too far down into the trees. Snow melt usually occurs in June. Crossing the Elwha River is usually hazardous.
Rica Canyon/ Humes Ranch Trail
Elwha River Trail to Rica Canyon Trail junction, to Krause Bottom, Humes Ranch,and Michael's Cabin
National Park Service foot trail of moderate to heavy use. This trail makes a loop from the Elwha Trail, down a steep grade to the Elwha River, and follows the river-bottom lands before it gradually ascends back to the main Elwha Trail. Douglas-fir, western hemlock, maples and alders are predominant.
Hikers interested in viewing wildlife may wish to carry binoculars when visiting Elk Overlook, a short hike to a vista of a meadow on the far side of the Elwha River. The rocky portal of Goblin's Gates funnels the churning waters of the Elwha River into Rica Canyon. Humes Ranch and Michael's Cabin are homesteads of some of the early pioneers of the Elwha Valley. Deer are numerous, as well as elk in the early spring and fall. Bear are sometimes observed.
Custom Correct, Elwha Valley
Green Trails, Mt.Olympus
Popular campsites are located in the Krause Bottom area, and at Humes Ranch. Campsites are located on the edges of the meadow below the ranch, and near the river.
Stock facilities located at Whiskey Bend Trailhead include: unloading ramp, hitchracks, and a holding corral. The trailhead area will accomodate parking for trailer rigs, with adequate turn-around space. The trail is maintained for foot traffic only, is steep and narrow, and should be attempted by experienced horsemen only. Horsemen should use caution in crossing puncheon bridges; bridge decking and supports are weathered.
Whiskey Bend Trailhead
Elk Overlook jct.
Rica Canyon Trail jct.
Rica Canyon/Goblin's Gates
Michael's Cabin/Elwha Trail jct.
(1.9 miles to Whiskey bend)
(1198 ft. elevation)