We meet our guides and fellow travelers at our host hotel near the Seattle Airport early this morning for a brief orientation before our drive to Olympic National Park. We’ll hop into the van and enjoy a provided sack breakfast on the way to our first stop, the Elwha River. Our introductory hike takes us through impressive forests of Douglas fir and Western cedar, to the gorgeous fast flowing Elwha River. Originating from the Elwha Snowfinger, a perennial snow field near Dodwell Rixon Pass in the Olympic Range, the Elwha flows 45 miles in a northerly direction to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The recent removal of two dams has allowed the mighty Elwha to once again run free, inviting steelhead and salmon to return to their native spawning grounds. After our first hours on the trail, we transfer to our campground where we work together to set up our forested home-away-from-home for the next four nights. All meals included.
Hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,243’/-1,243’; Van transfer: 4 hours
Today is spent discovering the treasures of the gorgeous Hoh Valley. We wander deep into the moss-covered wilderness along the glacial Hoh River, all the while keeping an eye out for a variety of wildlife that call the forest home. As one of the wettest places in the United States, fern, moss, lichen, waterfalls, and giant old-growth forest dominate the landscape and provide a majestic wonderland of biodiversity. Emerging from the dense evergreen cover, Mount Tom, Mount Olympus, and the High Divide tower in the distance. Our guides deepen the experience by providing insight into the natural history of the forest. All meals included.
Hiking: 10.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: + 300’ / -800’; Van transfer: 4 hours
At eight miles long and three miles wide, Lake Ozette is the largest unaltered natural lake in Washington State, and where we begin today’s exploration. Our loop hike takes us from evergreen trees and licorice ferns to the wild coast of Cape Alava. The picturesque landscape we find hiking along the coast of Olympic National Park provides a gorgeous backdrop to a day filled with discoveries. We hike along boardwalks in the marsh, among sea stacks on the beach, listening for the howl of wind through towering natural arches and search for a variety of sea creatures in tide pools teeming with life. Don’t forget your camera, as we may even catch a glimpse of a playful sea otter or a soaring bald eagle returning from a hunt. All meals included.
Hiking: 9.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: + 200’ / -200’; Van transfer: 4 hours
Cascading 48 feet down a narrow, rocky canyon along the Sol Duc River, spectacular Sol Duc Falls are a park favorite and will be our first stop today. Past the roaring falls, the trail steepens as we begin our climb through the towering old growth cedar, hemlock, and silver fir trees. Crossing several scenic wooden bridges, we finally emerge from the tree canopy at peaceful Deer Lake. After relaxing at the lake, we retrace our steps and head back to camp for another hearty meal and our last night under the stars. All meals included.
Hiking: 6.3 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,935/ -1,935; Van transfer: Minimal
After a final breakfast together, we pack up our things and say goodbye to camp. Our final hike today takes us to beautiful Hurricane Ridge with a stop at the Olympic National Park Interpretive Center en route. High atop the aptly named ridge, today’s hike toward Mount Angeles delivers non-stop expansive views of the mighty Olympic Mountains, home to approximately 60 extraordinary glaciers. On a clear day we will see from Mount Christie in the south to the Bailey Range in the north. Wildflowers often blanket the steep, sunny, summer slopes while deer peacefully roam the hillsides. We expect to be back at the host hotel near Seattle’s airport late this afternoon. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: Up to 6 miles depending on route, Elevation gain/loss: Up to 1,100’; Van transfer: 4 hours