THE ENCHANTED VALLEY

 

The 30 mile roundtrip hike to the Enchanted Valley is the most iconic backpacking destination inside the Olympic National Park. You could call it a rite of passage of sorts for backpackers of the Olympics. Solitude, waterfalls, bridges, bear, elk, salmon, eagles, deer, coyotes, river, rainforest, calm valleys, breathtaking peaks, you'll find it all along this trail. And you get all that with relatively mild elevation changes (only 1700') making it one of the best beginner backpacking trails in the state. It's referred to as the “Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls”, count them on the way in if you want. If you're not up for the full 30 mile round trip to the Enchanted Valley there are several destinations along the way that make for great day hikes or quick overnighters.

 

The old chalet from the 1930's was built on the shores of the Quinault River and in 2014 was moved a 100' farther away from the river as the eroding river bank was creeping itself underneath the structure. Used initially as a recreation destination in the 30's it has been purposed for a Japanese plane look out in the 40's and a fire look out in the 50's. Reopened in the late 50's for recreational use. Currently it is not open to the public, but is used as a ranger and backpacker emergency shelter. 

 

If the hike in wasn't enough of an adventure for you, then once you arrive at the Enchanted Valley you can head up into the mountains for another 3 or 4 miles and hike up to Anderson Glacier. Believe it or not there are 311 glaciers remaining in the Olympic Mountains. Anderson Glacier is one of them but is melting fast and may not even be here for the next generation to enjoy. 

 

This hike does not require campsite reservations and you'll find about 5 campsites already established in the valley. So grab a friend or someone new to backpacking, plan a trip to the Enchanted Valley inside the Olympic National Park, and go find some adventure. 

 

Happy exploring!

 

 

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