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A challenging trail to a majestic alpine lake in Olympic National Park.


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Map Key

6.5

Miles

10.4

KM

Out and Back

4,914' 1,498 m

High

1,653' 504 m

Low

3,280' 1,000 m

Up

3,279' 999 m

Down

19%

Avg Grade (11°)

61%

Max Grade (31°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Road to trailhead is not maintained in winter.

Overview

Gaining 3,358 feet in elevation over nearly four miles of trail, the Putvin Trail to the Lake of the Angels is one of the steepest, and most rewarding day trips in the State of Washington. The reward is a majestic alpine basin with a pristine lake surrounded by craggy peaks. Peakbaggers rejoice.

Description

During the first 1.3 miles, the path gains nearly 900 feet, crossing over three drainage areas that, when wet, can be tough. With incredible views of the Hamma Hamma River Valley and Mount Pershing, this first section in the forest is scenic and rewarding in its own way. Pace yourself, there are more strenuous sections to come.

At 1.3 miles, the trail meets an old forest service road, now grown over. Heading downhill along this path, the trail soon meets the main trail to Lake of the Angels.

Over the course of the next 1.5 miles, the trail gains 1,630 feet in elevation, mostly through wooded areas, up a ridge, eventually leading to a headwall. The headwall is the reason most never make it to this lake, but that is because of misleading trip reports making it seem like a death defying scramble. Instead, approach the section of trail just before and through the headwall with care and seriousness. Climbing up by testing then using sturdy roots and juggy rocks can be done, as long as you stay calm and patient. Sturdy shoes with a good tread are a good idea on this trail.

Past the headwall, the trail levels off a bit, leading through a small valley and over another ridge before arriving in the Valley of Heaven. The Valley of Heaven can be confusing and route-finding skills are necessary. Take some time and enjoy the view of the Pond of the False Prophet.

As the trail weaves through the muddiness of the valley, keep an eye out for trail markers and the path. Most trails do lead to the correct area, but the general rule of thumb is to continue Northwest, where the final climb will take place. Before the last elevation gain, the trail enters Olympic National Park, as marked by a sign. Past the sign, you must gain another 338 feet of elevation over 7/10ths of a mile, something many weary legs will not want to do. While your thighs, quads, lungs and brain may be screaming at you, the view as you round the final corner and see the Lake of the Angels will reenergize you and make it all worthwhile.

Lake of the Angels isn't big, taking around 10 minutes to circumnavigate, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in stunning beauty. Stunning views of Mount Skokomish and Mount Stone reflecting off the clear water, the area around Lake of the Angels is breathtaking.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers make this an amazing place to be in the late spring, while marmots are commonly seen in rocky areas near the lake.

History & Background

Carl Putvin perished on the trail in 1913 during a nasty snow storm, living forever being the namesake for the route to the Lake of the Angels.

Contacts

Shared By:

Doug Scott

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 25 votes

#386

Overall
  4.8 from 25 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
24%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#37

in Washington

#386

Overall
27 Views Last Month
14,434 Since Dec 7, 2015
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Photos

Lake of the Angels.
Feb 1, 2016 near Seabeck, WA
The always gorgeous view of Lake of the Angles and Mt Skokomish
Apr 6, 2016 near Seabeck, WA
View of the lake
Nov 11, 2015 near Seabeck, WA
Mountain goats are commonly seen. Keep your distance!
Apr 6, 2016 near Seabeck, WA
Pond of the False Prophet
Apr 6, 2016 near Seabeck, WA
Once you get above the treeline, look back for an incredible 180-degree view of the south Olympics. You can even spot Mt. Rainier on a clear day.
Nov 11, 2015 near Seabeck, WA
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 18, 2023
Frank Selker
Not as tricky as I expected and very nice destination. Recommend. — 6h 00m
Jul 16, 2023
Michael Calabrese
Fucking slog. So fun beautiful view. But steep 7.6mi — 9h 00m
Dec 3, 2021
Jamie S
10mi — 5h 55m
Jul 10, 2021
Nicholas Van Epp
Oct 1, 2020
Ethan Gingerich
8mi
Aug 17, 2020
Carlota Corbella
Apr 12, 2020
Alex Savage
Wasn't able to go all the way to the lake due to too much snow. Overall it was a great trail can be tough at times.
Jul 29, 2019
R.d. Cole
Trail was a little damp through the plateau but very manageable. Hike is strenuous so plan ahead. 6.5mi — 6h 00m

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