Glady's Divide is one of those trails that once you complete it, you'll forever want to return. At home more in the Alps than the Olympics Mountain Range, the views given along this trail are rocky, mountainous and downright breathtaking. This is the best route in the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park, and needs to be undertaken often.
Starting along the North Fork Skokomish River Trail
, the trail works up an old, decommissioned road. Crossing creeks and weaving along the North Fork Skokomish River, the first few miles of this trail are a breeze. At roughly four miles in, signs direct you away from the well-traveled path and lead up to Flapjack Lakes along the Flapjack Lake Trail
. This section of the trail is steep at times, but passes over an awesome bridge and leads through some pretty forests. Eventually, it passes a trailside waterfall before arriving at Flapjack Lakes. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat, relax under Mount Stone and prepare for the next two miles toward Gladys Divide.
The two miles from Flapjack to Gladys are some of the best miles you can hope to hike. Working itself up from the lakes, the trail climbs steeply at first before gently rising in elevation. Once you get out of the woods, the trails passes along a wide valley, showing of the true wilderness splendor of this region. The closer you get to Gladys Divide, the larger the rocks get and the more impressive the views become.
Can be a VERY long day outing, and have late season snow. During the off-season, the trail can be difficult to locate the between the lakes and the divide.
If you're planning on an overnight at Flapjack Lakes, camping permits
are limited between May 1 and September 30. Reservations
are highly recommended.
For reference, the Flapjack Lakes camping map can be found here
Gladys Divide is roughly a 20-mile round trip journey for those starting from the Staircase parking lot in Olympic National Park. Typically not done in a single day, Gladys Divide is a few miles up from Flapjack Lakes above the North Fork Skokomish River Trail
While most take on this strenuous route in two or three leisurely days, experienced and visitors can handle the elevation gain and mileage as a long day trip. With 4,000 feet gained in 10 miles, the steady climbing of this trail, paired with the distance, can leave those out of shape with weak legs or worse.
While long and difficult, the experiences one has while journeying to Gladys Divide give a better insight to just what the human body is capable of accomplishing. Starting along the Skokomish River and ending near the start of the Hamma Hamma River, this trail gives you forests, waterfalls, lakes, valleys, snowcapped, rugged mountains and panoramic views that will make you drool. Except for August and September, the route to the Gladys Divide is rarely traveled, making this trail one of the best in the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park.