High Divide Loop

Olympic
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High Divide Loop

Distance: 18.4mi
Elevation: 3,927ft
Time: 9-12h

Difficulty Rating:

A classic full day hike along one of the most beautiful continuous ridgelines in the park. All the time spent above tree line on the High Divide Trail yields some of the greatest views of Mt Olympus the park has to offer!

Getting there

The trail begins from the Sol Due Trailhead. From Port Angeles go west on US-101 west for 45.1km. Past Lake Present turn left on Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd, signs for Sol Duc Campground. Follow for 22.2km until you find a parking lot.

About

When to do

July through September

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, there are campsites along the High Divide Loop.

Toilets

Yes, at trailhead.

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Lollipop


Elevation


Detailed Description

We recommend completing the loop clockwise as it then saves the greatest views for later on in the hike. This will help to keep you motivated late in the day! With that being said, head down the trail from the parking area, following signs for Sol Duc Falls.

After approximately 20-30 minutes you will come to a signposted Y junction, just before a small rest shelter. You’ll want to turn left towards Appleton Pass along the Sol Duc River Trail. This path slowly gains elevation as it follows beside the Sol Duc River. You will maneuver through an incredibly lush temperate rainforest as you hike.

After approximately 8.9km you will reach a junction with the Appleton Pass Trail, where you will stay right to continue along the Sol Duc River Trail. Past this junction the trail will keep on gaining elevation. The higher you go the less lush the forest will become. Eventually the trail will veer to the right (south), and you will begin to switchback.

After passing the Upper Sol Duc Bridge campground you will begin to see the mountains. Soon you will exit the forest completely and find yourself in a beautiful high alpine bowl.

Enjoy these views for a while. As you continue climbing, you will eventually pass Heart Lake and its associated campground. Past Heart Lake you will climb to a small col where you will reach another junction, this time with the High Divide Trail. Head west.

The next few miles of the trail are the best of the hike. Looking back along the ridge you will see Cat Peak, Mt Carrie and Mt Fairchild looming over you. Intermittently you will get views to the south of Mt Olympus and Mt Tom. The humongous Blue Glacier on Mt Olympus is visible from the ridge!

As you continue along the ridge you will undulate up and down, but you will never have any sustained climbing. You will pass under Bogachiel Peak as you start to trend downwards. Looking down to the right (north) you will look into the absolutely stunning Seven Lakes Basin. Don’t go down to the Seven Lakes Basin, or down to the Hoe River Trail. Follow signs for the High Divide Trail heading towards Deer Lake.

You will soon begin to switchback downhill and re-enter the forest. A short ways on you will pass around the popular Deer Lake. Then you will walk through the final few miles down back down to the Y junction you originally turned left at. Just before the junction, however, you will pass the incredible Sol Duc Falls, a three for one waterfall!

Once you reach the junction keep left to head back towards the parking lot. Force your tired legs back the final kilometre to your car.

Insider Hints

  • This is an extremely popular one or two-night backpack.

  • Water is very scarce on the High Divide itself. Fill up before or at Heart Lake to ensure you don't run dry on the ridge, but remember to bring some way to treat the water. Or, just bring a very big camelpack!

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