Hikers who scale this airy, 5,000-foot ridgeline will trek above lake-filled basins and score unrivaled views of 7,965-foot Mt. Olympus—the tallest peak in the Olympics. Get there about midway through a 17.5-mile lasso loop starting on the Sol Duc River Trail. Hike southeast .8 mile to Sol Duc Falls, where the river splits into three parallel channels and plummets into a pinched, moss-dusted gorge.
From here, the route climbs up the valley another 4.6 miles, then bends south, gaining nearly 1,400 feet in 2.1 miles to a meadowy campsite near Heart Lake. The next day, ascend the grassy basin for less than half a mile, past thinning patches of subalpine firs and avalanche lilies, to the crest of the ridge.
Now comes the big show: Trace the spine west for aerial views of teal-colored Sol Duc, Long, and Lunch Lakes to the north and Mt. Olympus towering above the Hoh River valley to the south. At mile 9.7, take a quarter-mile (round-trip, nontechnical) detour to 5,474-foot Bogachiel Peak for final views of Olympus. Drop 1,900 feet to Deer Lake, then finish off the loop with a 3.3-mile descent along Canyon Creek.
INFO For information on weather and current trail, camp, and road conditions, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm.
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. For more details, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm
CONTACT Olympic National Park, (360) 565-3130; nps.gov/olym/