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High Divide Loop

Difficult
 4.9 (52) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This loop is a superlative experience that you'll be eager to repeat.


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Map Key

17.6

Miles

28.3

KM

Loop

5,331' 1,625 m

High

1,981' 604 m

Low

3,739' 1,140 m

Up

3,748' 1,142 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This route has it all: rainforest, alpine meadows, spectacular views, wildflowers, and pristine lakes. It is understandably popular but amazingly, it's still possible to find solitude here. Hiking along the full ridge yields a variety of unforgettable views that are unique in their own ways!

Need to Know

Depending on the season and winter snow totals, you are likely to encounter snowfields. Snow crossings may be necessary and some people prefer to carry an ice axe. June to October is the best season.

Description

Most people complete this loop in the counter clockwise direction, but either way works. From the Sol Duc trailhead, the wide Sol Duc River Trail starts out nearly flat and soon intersects with the Deer Lake Trail before reaching Sol Duc Falls. Take the Deer Lake Trail southwest across the Sol Duc River and past the eastern end of the Lover's Lane Trail. Start the uphill switchbacking up the Canyon Creek drainage. Cross the creek at a bridge and continue the steady consistent uphill hike.

The trail proceeds along the western side of Canyon Creek, contouring up the steep hillside. Finally, the grade eases as you approach footbridge over the outlet of Deer Creek. There is often a lot of water rushing out here, and it is a nice spot to rest. The remainder of the path around the verdant lake is more level and goes past campsites and viewpoints. This is an intriguing place to explore- see if you can find "Fawn Lake," and the nearby network of pretty streams with "potholes" higher up (being careful to stay on established paths of course). The Deer Lake Trail ends at a junction with the High Divide Trail.

Take the High Divide Trail south and climb out of the Deer Lake basin. Head up through subalpine vegetation, patches of fir and open meadows with increasingly beautiful views of the Olympics. Attain the ridge and head eastwards over more level but somewhat vertiginous terrain. After rounding a rocky bowl you arrive at the intersection with the Lunch Lake Trail and will be tempted to descend into the spectacular Seven Lakes Basin. This is a fine activity, for those with time and camping permits. For those continuing on to the end of High Divide Trail, resist the siren song and proceed along the ridge crest.

The Hoh Lake Trail intersects the High Divide Trail from the south below Bogachiel Peak. The detour up Bogachiel Peak Trail to the summit is worth it for the views of Mt. Olympus, to the south, the Bailey Range, to the east, and the Sol Duc drainage, to the north. Regain the High Divide Trail heading east downhill through open slopes to the junction with Y Lakes Way Trail. Follow the spine ever eastwards enjoying the views of the sparkling lakes below. Pass the Lake #8 Route trail and just as you begin a descent down the ridge the High Divide Trail ends at a junction with Cat Basin Primitive Trail and further on Sol Duc River Trail at Heart Lake.

Stay on Sol Duc River Trail around the east side of Heart Lake and envy the lucky folks who are camping in this idyllic spot. Pass a small waterfall at the outlet of romantic Heart Lake. Leave the wide open fields with expansive views of the surrounding mountains and enter dense forest. Descend steep switchbacks down the hillside next to Bridge Creek and enter the Sol Duc River valley. After the intersection with the Appleton Pass Trail, continue along the valley bottom over a few miles of mellow terrain. You'll hike through old growth Douglas fir forest and hear the cascading, 3-tiered Sol Duc Falls before you see it. Admire the falls and try to stay warm -the sun does not often penetrate the forest here and the spray can make it downright chilly. Pass the turnoff for the Deer Lake Trail and continue on the Sol Duc River Trail straight towards the trailhead and parking lot.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 52 votes

#86

Overall
  4.9 from 52 votes
5 Star
94%
4 Star
4%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
2%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in Washington

#86

Overall
638 Views Last Month
28,741 Since Mar 16, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
11%
0%
87%
2%

Photos

Another view of Seven Lakes Basin
Feb 25, 2015 near Port An…, WA
High Divide Overlook
Feb 25, 2015 near Port An…, WA
Sol Duc Falls
Feb 25, 2015 near Forks, WA
Round Lake
Feb 25, 2015 near Forks, WA
Sol Duc Falls
May 17, 2019 near Forks, WA
The view south of the trail up to the High Divide ridge line.
Jun 17, 2019 near Forks, WA

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Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2020
Dean Golan
Trail was pretty rocky near the first quarter, looked like there was an earthquake that left the trail pretty rough 20mi — 10h 00m
Jul 27, 2020
Colton Smith
Aug 31, 2019
Emily Haarmann
Saw lots of black bears! Very foggy and cloudy so no panorama views. Went to Lunch Lake and did the portion of the Seven Lakes Basin Trail. 20mi — 12h 00m
Aug 28, 2019
Ivan Vo
Aug 17, 2019
Preston DeMaria
Late start but finished before dark — 10h 06m
Aug 13, 2019
Ron Hamlin
4,021 ft elevation gain; camped at Deer Lake 20.9mi
Aug 6, 2019
Connor White
Incredible loop with spectacular sights! We hiked 15 mi to Deer Lake for our first night, and then 5 mi back to Sol Duc Campground. So breathtaking!!! 20mi
Aug 4, 2019
Michael Yu