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Top Ten Backpacking Adventures in Olympic National Park

Top Ten Backpacking Adventures in the Olympics

  • Wirta family on the top of Deer Ridge Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is so large and so biologically diverse that it’s been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. The Wilderness Act passed in 1988 by the U.S. Congress designated 95 percent of the park as wilderness. There are no roads that crisscross the park. The interior is rugged, isolated and beautiful and has hardly changed since the last Ice-Age. This makes Olympic National Park a backpacker’s mecca. Here are ten backpacking adventures that take you into the heart of the Park. Let the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Sequim be your basecamp for all your backpacking adventures!

A Novice Climbs Mt. Olympus - Follow the story of a first-time climber's ascent of Mount Olympus that begins, "I’ve always felt a bit jealous of mountain climbers I met on the trail, with their rakish attitude and dangerous looking equipment dangling from their backpacks. That would soon change because I was going to become a mountaineer!" Find out if he makes it to the top.

  • Mt Olympus 2012 - J Gussman photo

The Bailey Range Traverse - The Bailey Range begins where the maintained trail ends and few backpackers travel. This small climbing team traversed 70 miles though rain-forests, trackless peaks and rocky valleys surrounding glacier-shrouded Mount Olympus. The Bailey Range Traverse is perhaps the finest high-country route in the Olympics. 

  • brt06 - Lunch break

Anderson Glacier - Anderson Glacier is a magnificent but isolated area of Olympic National Park. You can get to Anderson glacier in one day by bicycling along the washed-out Dosewallips River road and then hike to glaciers from there. It is worth the trip!

  • Joel Thomas on Anderson Glacier 2012

Skyline Trail - High along the spine of the Quinault and Queets River watersheds in the middle of Olympic National Park lies Skyline Ridge, a little-used trail that is as spectacular as it is challenging. “Not for the careful or timid,” said a 1928 U. S. Forest Service trail inspection report. More than eight decades later, its reputation has not changed.

  • Skyline Ridge - Quinault River side 2014

North Fork Skokomish River - Explore the North Fork of the Skokomish River and learn many of its secrets. You'll be traveling in the footsteps of a little-known group of early explorers – the Banner Party.

  • nfs17 - North Fork Skokomish at Blaine

Cameron Creek - This backpacking adventure will take you into the interior of Olympic National Park. Starting at Slab Creek and ending at Deer Park is a 30 mile trek that crosses over two mountain passes. It's not easy and there were some unexpected obstacles. 

  • Nate on Elk Mountain - 2013

Grand Pass - Grand Pass in Olympic National Park is aptly named; the view of the headwall from the valley floor is a most grand and beautiful sight. Of course it helps when the weather is perfect, the wildflowers prolific, and whistling marmots greet you.   

  • Wildflowers below Grand Pass - 2011

Cabins of the Elwha - This story highlights the historical sites and cabins in the upper reaches of the Elwha River. Read to see what it's like to sleep in a Ranger Station on a cold winter night.  

  • Hayes River Ranger Station - 2013

Enchanted Valley - This is a stunning valley deep in the south section of the Olympics. Park Ranger Raymond Geerdes once wrote, “One could not help but be deeply moved by this beauty and splendor of God’s world. This is truly an enchanted place.”

  • Enchanted Valley Chalet - 2013
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