Royal Basin hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

Royal Basin hike

Olympic National Park
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The views of the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkMt Deception from the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkTarn on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkLooking back on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkLooking up before the final climb to the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkView of the Royal Lake on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkLower meadows on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkMountain views on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National ParkLush creek on the Royal Basin hike in Olympic National Park

Royal Basin hike

Distance: 24.7km
Elevation: 1,361m
Time: 10-12.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.4 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

This is an absolutely stunning hike, following Royal Creek up to the heavenly Royal Basin. Since this hike begins in the Olympic National Forest, and not the park, the crowds on this trail are greatly diminished. It is a challenging hike, but it’s well worth the work.

Royal Basin hike Map

Getting there

The trail begins from the Upper Dungeness Trailhead. From Port Angeles head east on US-101 28.0km. Right on Palo Alto Rd, 12.9km. Veer right at a Y junction to NF-2880, go 2.6km. Pass the Dungeness Forks Campground. At the Y junction hang a left. Turn right on NF-2870. Drive 10.5km to reach the Trailhead.

I’ve done this 9 people have done this
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About

When to do

Late June through September

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, along the trail. Check Port Angeles visitor centre.

Toilets

No

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Royal Basin
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Royal Basin

From the parking area head up along the Upper Dungeness Trail. You will start to gain elevation immediately as you follow the Dungeness River for approximately 2.0km.

You will arrive at the point where the Royal Creek feeds into the Dungeness River. Hang a right, following signs to the Royal Basin. Do NOT cross the river on the log bridge.

You will switchback up for a period of time, before continuing to follow the Royal Creek heading west. You will come to another trail junction where you will head straight to follow the Royal Creek.

Now comes the brunt of the elevation gain. You will follow the Royal Creek as it steadily climbs up and up and up. There are intermittent views across the valley of the Bluffs Ridge.

Finally, after just over 9.7km you will arrive at the lower Royal Meadows, where you will have your first major views. Looking back the way you came, Greywolf Mountain and its impressive, almost Rocky Mountain aesthetic will dominate the horizon.

Continue hiking up for another short ways until you get to Royal Lake. This absolutely gorgeous lake is a worthwhile turnaround spot for those not wanting to do the entire trail, and makes for a surprisingly warm swimming spot! Looking across Royal Lake you will see the expansive ridgeline extending from Mount Deception.

Head around Royal Lake and start climbing again. You will pass through a gorgeous meadow where you will have another great view looking back to Greywolf Mountain. Finally, you will reach the end of the trail in the grassy plateau at the foot of Mount Deception. It is now that you will realize just how apt the name of this hike is, as the view you are witnessing seems truly fit for a king.

In addition to Mount Deception, Mount Clark will provide nice ambiance to the northwest, and you may even be able to see Mount Fricaba to the southeast. After enjoying the views, return the way you came.

Check out more amazing hikes in the Olympic National Park, like the Hoh River Trail.

Insider Hints

  • You can break up this long hike by camping at Royal Lake or the Lower Royal Meadows. You can also turn around earlier to make this a more achievable dayhike.

  • There are a lot of bugs up on the plateau. You have been warned!

Comments

Gregory F 10 months ago

Another tough hike in the Olympic NP. I have done it two years ago. Always do one hard first and then enjoy one or two less difficult ones to let my knees rest.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Annie Smith 1 year ago

This is an amazing way to Olympic National Park!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
RamblerJoe 1 year ago

I just loved this hike, really hard, but amazing.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
HereComesScott 1 year ago

Really lovely hike. On the Royal Basin trail, I felt like there is no one else around for quite a few parts. I enjoyed it a lot. It was challenging though. I would not plan another hike the next day.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
12h 00m Time Taken
Tim Charlton 1 year ago

Royal Basin hike was really challenging. It took me so long. I even thought that it's not doable in one day. Luckily my wife was my support. Really worth it. You immerse into nature and there aren't many hikers along the way.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
13h 00m Time Taken
5 Comments

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