PJ Lake Trail
PJ Lake Trail is a heavily trafficked out-and-back trail in Olympic National Park that is rated as hard. This 2.4 km trek isn’t long, but it’s very steep on the way back from the lake, with a dusty trail that tends to slip out from under you. Some hikers feel the lake is underwhelming, but the waterfall along the trail is a pleasant sight.
Take lots of water and trekking poles on this hike.
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Route Description for PJ Lake Trail
PJ Lake Trail is a bit of a controversial hike. This trail is loved by some for its waterfall, its physical challenge, and its short length. It’s loathed by others for the somewhat underwhelming lake, the overgrowth and blowdown, and the very steep, slippery trail you have to climb on the return trip. Give it a shot and see what you think!
We strongly recommend bringing poles for this hike in addition to plenty of water. Also, if it’s socked in with fog, consider leaving it for another day.
The trail begins from the roadside, heading east down a forest slope. You’ll quickly lose elevation over some straight sections and some uneven switchbacks. If the blowdown is particularly bad, expect to need to climb under and over fallen trees.
The trail isn’t hard to follow, so you’ll be able to find your way to the lake without too much navigational difficulty. The lake itself can be buggy and it’s nothing spectacular, so we recommend spending a bit more time appreciating the waterfall instead.
There’s no good trail to loop the lake, so turn back and retrace your steps to the trailhead. This is where things get dicey—the trail is quite steep and loose in parts, so poles and some gusto are recommended to get back to the starting point.
Getting to the PJ Lake Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the PJ Lake Trail is on Obstruction Point Road.
PJ Lake Trail Elevation Graph
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PJ Lake Trail Reviews
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