High Divide Loop Hiking Trail, Forks, Washington (2024)


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Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

High Divide Loop Hiking Trail, Forks, Washington (3)

Road to trailhead closes at first snowfall and usually reopens late March - check current road conditions at Olympic National Park website. Trail holds snow into early summer. Avalanche dangers exist, winter navigation skills required.


This route has it all: rainforest, alpine meadows, spectacular views, wildflowers, and pristine lakes. It is understandably popular but amazingly, it's still possible to find solitude here. Hiking along the full ridge yields a variety of unforgettable views that are unique in their own ways!

Need to Know

Depending on the season and winter snow totals, you are likely to encounter snowfields. Snow crossings may be necessary and some people prefer to carry an ice axe. June to October is the best season.


Most people complete this loop in the counter clockwise direction, but either way works. From the Sol Duc trailhead, the wide Sol Duc River Trail starts out nearly flat and soon intersects with the Deer Lake Trail before reaching Sol Duc Falls. Take the Deer Lake Trail southwest across the Sol Duc River and past the eastern end of the Lover's Lane Trail. Start the uphill switchbacking up the Canyon Creek drainage. Cross the creek at a bridge and continue the steady consistent uphill hike.

The trail proceeds along the western side of Canyon Creek, contouring up the steep hillside. Finally, the grade eases as you approach footbridge over the outlet of Deer Creek. There is often a lot of water rushing out here, and it is a nice spot to rest. The remainder of the path around the verdant lake is more level and goes past campsites and viewpoints. This is an intriguing place to explore- see if you can find "Fawn Lake," and the nearby network of pretty streams with "potholes" higher up (being careful to stay on established paths of course). The Deer Lake Trail ends at a junction with the High Divide Trail.

Take the High Divide Trail south and climb out of the Deer Lake basin. Head up through subalpine vegetation, patches of fir and open meadows with increasingly beautiful views of the Olympics. Attain the ridge and head eastwards over more level but somewhat vertiginous terrain. After rounding a rocky bowl you arrive at the intersection with the Lunch Lake Trail and will be tempted to descend into the spectacular Seven Lakes Basin. This is a fine activity, for those with time and camping permits. For those continuing on to the end of High Divide Trail, resist the siren song and proceed along the ridge crest.

The Hoh Lake Trail intersects the High Divide Trail from the south below Bogachiel Peak. The detour up Bogachiel Peak Trail to the summit is worth it for the views of Mt. Olympus, to the south, the Bailey Range, to the east, and the Sol Duc drainage, to the north. Regain the High Divide Trail heading east downhill through open slopes to the junction with Y Lakes Way Trail. Follow the spine ever eastwards enjoying the views of the sparkling lakes below. Pass the Lake #8 Route trail and just as you begin a descent down the ridge the High Divide Trail ends at a junction with Cat Basin Primitive Trail and further on Sol Duc River Trail at Heart Lake.

Stay on Sol Duc River Trail around the east side of Heart Lake and envy the lucky folks who are camping in this idyllic spot. Pass a small waterfall at the outlet of romantic Heart Lake. Leave the wide open fields with expansive views of the surrounding mountains and enter dense forest. Descend steep switchbacks down the hillside next to Bridge Creek and enter the Sol Duc River valley. After the intersection with the Appleton Pass Trail, continue along the valley bottom over a few miles of mellow terrain. You'll hike through old growth Douglas fir forest and hear the cascading, 3-tiered Sol Duc Falls before you see it. Admire the falls and try to stay warm -the sun does not often penetrate the forest here and the spray can make it downright chilly. Pass the turnoff for the Deer Lake Trail and continue on the Sol Duc River Trail straight towards the trailhead and parking lot.


Shared By:

Megan W with improvements by Tilman Giese and 1 other

High Divide Loop Hiking Trail, Forks, Washington (2024)


How long is the High Divide trail? ›

Try this 19.1-mile loop trail near Joyce, Washington. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 11 h 12 min to complete. This is a very popular area for backpacking, camping, and hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

Where to camp on the High Divide trail? ›

Location and sites: Camping is allowed in designated sites only. Primary destinations include Sol Duc Park, Heart Lake, Lunch Lake and Deer Lake, each of which has multiple campsites. Between Sol Duc Falls and Sol Duc Park there are many convenient campsites and water.

Where is the Seven Lakes Basin? ›

The Seven Lakes Basin Loop in the Sol Duc Valley is one of the premier backcountry hikes in Olympic National Park. This 19-mile loop features a great variety of backcountry campsites and also features connections to the Hoh River Trail and to Appleton Pass (Elwha).

How hard is the Great Divide Trail? ›

A journey on the GDT promises to be rewarding but not without a few challenges: hiking conditions are potentially hazardous and often strenuous, including steep climbs and challenging trail conditions (brushy and muddy) navigation can be difficult, especially on sections where the trail is overgrown or non-existent.

How long does it take to hike the Great Divide Trail? ›

The Great Divide Trail at a glance:

2,590m (or 8,500ft) is the high point @ an un-named pass in Section E. 1,055m (or 3,500ft) is the low point @ Old Fort Point outside of Jasper. Peak hiking season is from July to September. 30 to 60 days is roughly how long this hike takes depending on experience and fitness.

How long does it take to hike to Upper Lena Lake? ›

Experience this 12.8-mile out-and-back trail near Lilliwaup, Washington. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 8 h 32 min to complete.

How long is the Hoh River Trail? ›

Overview. If you are looking for a longer hike in the Hoh Rain Forest than the 0.75 mile Hall of Mosses or 1.25 mile Spruce Nature Trail loops, then begin your trek on the 17.4 mile Hoh River Trail for a day-hike or multi-day backpacking trip.

Can you camp anywhere in the High Peaks Wilderness? ›

Whenever possible, camp in designated sites. If necessary, at-large camping is permitted as long as campsites are at least 150 feet from any road, trail, water body, or waterway. Place your tent on a durable surface, such as hardened soil, leaf litter, or pine duff.

How many lakes are in seven lakes? ›

Seven Lakes actually has seven lakes and a couple of ponds that total 230 acres and several miles of shoreline. Ringed by rolling hills is the largest, Big Seven Lake, and its many arms and islands occupy the heart of the state park and is the destination of most visitors.

How many lakes are in lakes Basin? ›

Located nine miles southwest of Graeagle, California, this recreation area has special geological features. There is breathtaking scenery and over 20 small lakes nearby, most of which are accessible by hiking trails.

How long is the High Park trail? ›

Get to know this 3.1-mile loop trail near Toronto, Ontario. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 4 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, fishing, and mountain biking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

How long is the High Peak Trail? ›

The High Peak Trail is a 17.5-mile trail from High Peak Junction, near Cromford to Dowlow near Buxton. It's a traffic-free trail suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders passing through some of Derbyshire's finest countryside.

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