Olympic High Divide Loop

Deer Lake, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park
Deer Lake Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset at Deer Lake, Olympic National Park, Washington.

Mount Olympus is the king of the Olympus Peninsula in Washington; laden with thick glaciers, the 7,980 foot peak soars above the surrounding rainforest valleys. Some of the finest views to be had of this remote mountain are from the High Divide trail which follows a high ridge opposite the Hoh River valley — that is, when the notorious Olympic Peninsula rain stops long enough to see it. In early July right after our Olympic coast trek we spent 4 days backpacking a loop route from the Sol Duc valley via the High Divide in Olympus National Park, hoping to catch a view of Olympus.

Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, wildflowers, Olympic National Park, Tiger Lily
Tiger Lily : Prints Available

Mount Olympus, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park, High Divide, hiking

Hikers on the High Divide trail with the Hoh River valley below.

After a first night at Deer Lake we hiked up to the High Divide ridgeline and relaxed for a few hours on the summit of Bogachiel Peak while waiting for the clouds and fog to hopefully lift off the next section of the trail. We were excited when the clouds started breaking up, revealing glimpses of rugged snow-capped peaks across the Hoh River valley. Each time we saw a big peak through the clouds we’d think “Wow! That must be Mount Olympus!” only to see another even bigger peak moments later! After a while the clouds fully lifted, revealing Mount Olympus and its glaciers in all their glory.

Mount Olympus, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park
Mount Olympus Forest : Prints Available

Mount Olympus (7,980 ft / 2,432 m) as seen from the High Divide, Olympic National Park, Washington.

Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, wildflowers, Olympic National Park, avalanche lilies
Avalanche Lily Meadow : Prints Available

Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, deer, wildflowers, Olympic National Park
Deer and Lilies : Prints Available

Mount Olympus, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park
Mount Olympus Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset light on Mount Olympus as seen from the High Divide.

Mount Olympus, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park
Mount Olympus Twilight : Prints Available

We enjoyed dinner and sunset views up on the High Divide trail, then descended to our tent at Heart Lake. The next day was socked in with fog and rain all day, which made us all the more grateful for the great weather we had during our High Divide walk the previous day.

Heart Lake, Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park, fog
Foggy Heart Lake : Prints Available

Foggy weather at Heart Lake.

Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, mountain goat, tent, Olympic National Park

A mountain goat peers into our tent at Heart Lake.

So we spent the 4th of July tentbound at Heart Lake — no fireworks or parties, only rummy and mountain goats to keep us occupied!

Olympic Peninsula, Sol Duc, Washington, Olympic National Park, hiking

Hiking through the forest along the Sol Duc River.

Finally on our last day we packed up our wet tent in the rain and walked the last eight miles down the Sol Duc valley back to the trailhead, admiring the lush forest all the way.

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