Hike into the wild green heart of the Northwest on this 17.6-mile (one-way) tour-de-ecosystems in Olympic National Park. Sunlight stabs through dripping, moss-hung rainforests as the trail climbs 4,000 feet on 22 switchbacks from riverside through Sitka spruce to wildflower-filled alpine meadows (season's first: avalanche lilies in May).
Find a string of aquamarine ponds shimmering below the High Divide's glaciated peaks at CB Flats, forage for huckleberries (starting to ripen in mid-July) in sprawling patches (watch out for black bear)—and ogle hulking Mt. Olympus. Then cruise 4.3 miles to heath-lined Heart Lake. The next day, retrace your route back to the trailhead.
INFO: Wilderness permits ($7). Reserve campsites a month in advance (May to September); half are held for walk-ins. (305) 565-3100; nps.gov/olym.
-Mapped by Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan and Ted Alvarez
- Distance: 56.6
Location: 47.860311, -123.934214
Start from the Hoh Ranger Station (north of the Hoh Rain Forest Campground). Hike northeast on the Hoh River Trail.
Location: 47.861204, -123.933291
Bear left @ Y-junction, and continue hiking northeast toward the Hoh River.
Location: 47.865326, -123.915131
Pass a trail on the right that leads 0.9 mile to a campsite.
Location: 47.865393, -123.906426
Pass a trail on the right that leads 1.4 miles to a campsite.
Location: 47.868473, -123.884647
This easy waterfall crossing over a bridge is a great photo spot.
Location: 47.867883, -123.880666
Pass a trail that leads 2.9 miles to Mount Tom Creek Campsite.
Location: 47.867519, -123.842018
Pass a trail on the right that leads to Five Mile Island.
Location: 47.868545, -123.829758
Hike past Happy Four Shelter. Ahead, the trail continues southeast, then rounds to the northeast.
Location: 47.878246, -123.768239
Cross a rickety bridge.
Location: 47.878232, -123.767874
Pass a group site on the right.
Location: 47.877712, -123.767311
Nice campsite by the river.
Location: 47.878419, -123.754828
Bear left onto Canyon Creek Hoh Trail @ the signed Y-junction. Ahead, the trail leaves the river and climbs north toward Hoh Lake. Switchback climb begins in a few hundred yards.
Location: 47.884838, -123.751845
Prepare for 22 steep switchbacks.
Location: 47.88996, -123.783002
Pass the last campfire site. Keep climbing.
Location: 47.893845, -123.790383
CB Flats (4,100 ft.)
Location: 47.897744, -123.787658
Hoh Lake: This small lake sits at 4,539 feet.
Location: 47.897655, -123.788856
Best site at Hoh Lake: you'll find incredible views of Mount Olympus.
Location: 47.904217, -123.778517
On the small saddle beneath Bogachiel Peak, bear right onto Deer Lake Trail. The trail to the left leads to Seven Lakes Basin.
Location: 47.905094, -123.775169
Keep right @ 3-way junction for a traverse along the High Divide. Optional: To climb Bogachiel Peak, turn left @ junction.
Location: 47.907822, -123.738236
Bear left @ Y-junction. Leave the High Divide for a descent to Heart Lake.
Location: 47.910834, -123.733177
Heart Lake: This aptly-named lake resembles a heart and is tucked at the foot of a small cirque. Continue north to Heart Lake Shelter (not mapped), or turn around and retrace steps to the trailhead.
Location: 47.908259, -123.736997
Nestled in a valley.
Location: 47.863594, -123.92812
Huge, moss-covered Sitka spruce form a dense canopy.
Tributary of the Hoh
Location: 47.865119, -123.910224
Many tributaries lead away from the glacier-fed Hoh.
Location: 47.867135, -123.89838
A few miles in, vistas get bigger.
Location: 47.868689, -123.890483
The Hoh has wide gravel bars.
Location: 47.886133, -123.757038
The brush clears and you can see how big the trees are.
Location: 47.888867, -123.770943
Trail is soft dirt, but occasional slides put large logs in your path.
Location: 47.889068, -123.778753
Fireweed pops up as you climb.
Location: 47.890737, -123.787036
As you crest the ridge, look for wildlife (like snakes!) sunning on the path.
Good spot to filter water
Location: 47.894233, -123.790169
Plenty of water and wildflowers as you move towards these protected bowls.
Location: 47.897816, -123.787293
Hoh Lake's clear blue waters.
Location: 47.89747, -123.788495
Mount Olympus framed by trees.
Location: 47.897672, -123.788366
Sunset on Olympus.
Views near the High Divide
Location: 47.902477, -123.780856
Olympic peaks stretch beyond as you climb.
Location: 47.903095, -123.778582
The inner, drier portion of the park.
Flora and Fauna
Location: 47.905555, -123.772702
Plentiful alpine flowers.
Distant views of a bear
Location: 47.906418, -123.769484
Plentiful black bears. Careful: They regularly use the trails.
Mountain Goat Kid
Location: 47.906696, -123.764885
Tons of mountain goats in Seven Lakes Basin.
Location: 47.906476, -123.761973
The far spine of the High Divide.
Hoh River from the High Divide
Location: 47.906993, -123.758583
You can see distant braids of the Hoh.
Seven Lakes Basin
Location: 47.907713, -123.754077
Several tarns ringed by huckleberry.
Views above Seven Lakes Basin
Location: 47.907569, -123.75176
Location: 47.908144, -123.745494
Remnant snowfields near the top.
Location: 47.908029, -123.743134
Keep hiking towards Heart Lake.
Camp at Heart Lake
Location: 47.90951, -123.733435
Beautiful--and filled with mosquitoes.