Royal Basin

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
8-11.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
24.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,361 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.7
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Read Reviews
Directions to Trailhead
Royal Basin hike in Olympic National Park, Washington

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.

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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 2.0 km.

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 9.7 km 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, Ozette Triangle or the Obstruction Point hike.

Insider Hints for Royal Basin

  • 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!

Getting to the Royal Basin Trailhead

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

Route Information

  • 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

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Royal Basin Reviews

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