Olympic National Park: Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier
Hike through temperate rain forest alongside the Hoh River to the tip of the Blue Glacier--the largest glacier in Olympic National Park--and 7,980-foot Mt. Olympus towering above the ice.
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Climb to the base of Mt. Olympus on a 33.2-miler that dead-ends at the toe of 2.6-mile-long Blue Glacier, the largest sheet of ice in Olympic National Park. Meander east on the Hoh River Trail through a primeval forest of gargantuan red cedars, Sitka spruce, and big-leaf maples. Set up basecamp at mile 9.9 in Lewis Meadow (campfires allowed), or choose a more solitary site along the countless gravel bars that flank the trail. The next morning, tackle the remaining 6.7-mile climb (and 3,700 feet of elevation gain) that leads right to the edge of the 900-foot-thick glacier on Olympus’s north face.
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/
- Distance: 26.7
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From the Hoh Ranger Station, hike east along the Hoh River Trail.
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Tip: The gravel bars that flank the Hoh River offer solitary spots to set up camp.
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The Mt. Tom Creek campsite is one of the first campsites on the trail.
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Cross Cougar Creek.
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Pass Happy Four campsite.
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Olympus Ranger Station: Toilets and bear wire are available here. Continue heading east.
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Lewis Meadow campsite (2 miles past Olympus Ranger Station) is a prime spot to spend the night. It’s also the last site where campfires are allowed (unless you have stock, then head up to Martin Creek). From here, it’s a 6.7-mile climb (with 3,700 feet of elevation gain) to Blue Glacier.
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Cross a footbridge, then climb south.
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Elk Lake and Elk Lake campsite
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Campsites at Glacier Meadows are the best spot for mountaineers to pitch their tents for the night before climbing Blue Glacier.
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The trail ends at the toe of 2.6-mile-long, 900-foot-thick Blue Glacier, the largest sheet of ice in Olympic National Park. Return via the same route.