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Deer Lake and Bogachiel Peak
Deer Lake: The hike to both Deer Lake and Bogachiel Peak starts off easy enough on a 0.8-mile nearly level sojourn through spectacular old growth to pretty Sol Duc Falls. Then the party's over and it's time to work. Cross the Sol Duc, pass the Lovers Lane Trail, and commence to climb. On a steep, sometimes rocky path work your way up the dark ravine housing Canyon Creek. At 1.5 miles, cross high above the tumbling waterway on a wide and sturdy bridge. After another 0.5 mile the grade eases somewhat.
After another push, cross Canyon Creek once more, this time at the outlet to Deer Lake (elev. 3550 feet). Nestled in a forested and grassy bowl, the lake's waters reflect a soft green. Surrounded by yellow cedar, mountain hemlock, silver fir, and a thick understory of huckleberries, it's a pretty and serene spot. Deer often browse along the lakeshore and it's not uncommon to see them in the shallow lake as well.
A backcountry ranger station and multiple campsites can also be found at the lake. A rough path circles the lake and reveals a smaller hidden "fawn"lake. Call it a day here or carry on to higher ground.
Bogachiel Peak: For Bogachiel Peak, continue past the lake, bear left at a junction, and climb to more-open country. Winding through heather fields, subalpine forest, and by a dozen pothole tarns (a.k.a. mosquito incubators), the trail works it way up to the high ridge dividing the Sol Duc and Bogachiel watersheds. Alternating between groves of mountain hemlock and open meadows, the trail continues to climb. Far-reaching views across rainforest valleys all the way to the Pacific can now be had.
Look for what guidebook writer Robert Wood called the snake pit. It's a cluster of contorted mountain hemlocks resembling a serpentine lair. The trail soon rounds the ridge crest, working its way around a high isolated basin, headwaters of the Bogachiel River. Mount Olympus peeks its icy head over the next ridge, and Bogachiel Peak-still a ways away-beckons. In September, bugling elk from down below can often be heard. And it's not rare to run into berry-munching bears, so be aware.
Drop into a big rocky depression where a trail descends to Seven Lakes Basin, one of the prettiest spots this side of Shangri-la. Next, on steep open slopes, angle around Bogachiel Basin. Snow often persists well into summer here, making it potentially dangerous to proceed. After a series of tight switchbacks, reach the ridge crest (elev. 5100 feet). Bogachiel Peak is reached via a short side trail a short distance left on the High Divide Trail.
While you clamber to bag the 5474-foot former lookout site, no doubt the incredible views by this time will have bowled you over. They are beyond breathtaking. The alpine jewels of the Seven Lakes Basin shimmer below. The snow-capped Bailey Range marches off into the eastern horizon. The emerald swath of the Hoh rain forest spreads out nearly 1 vertical mile below. And rising above it all, staring you right in the face, is Mount Olympus. Its glaciers and snowfields are blinding on a sunny summer day.
It doesn't get any more spectacular than this. It was on Bogachiel Peak in September 1989 when I first fell in love with the Olympics. How could I not?
From Port Angeles follow US 101 west for 29 miles, passing Lake Crescent. About 2 miles beyond the Fairholm store, turn left onto the Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. (From Forks head east 28 miles on US 101, and turn right just past milepost 219.) Follow this road for 14 miles (passing the park entrance booth) to its end at a large trailhead parking lot. Privy available.
Recent Trip Reports
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There are 32 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Deer Lake #37, High Divide #38 #41, Hoh River #15, Long Ridge #65, Ludden Peak #68, Soleduck River #40 — Jul 19, 1999 — M. Raymond
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Hoh River-Mount Olympus Area-Bailey Range Traverse, 7/19-26/99 Three of us completed a traverse of ...
Hoh River-Mount Olympus Area-Bailey Range Traverse, 7/19-26/99 Three of us completed a traverse of three Mt. Olympus glaciers and the Bailey Range Traverse. We entered at the Hoh Valley Visitor Center and exited the trip by way of Seven Lakes Basin and the Canyon Creek Trail to the Soleduck Trailhead. Day 1 - Mon. 7/19 - Began our trip at 11am after our support team dropped off a car at the Soleduck trailhead and then us at the Hoh trailhead. We filed a trip plan with the ONP rangers at the Hoh with tentative campsite locations for the next seven nights. The trail along the Hoh is in excellent shape with minimal mudholes. The day was sunny and warm. We arrived at mile 12.4 around 6pm, Stove Hill Camp. We would be using a coated nylon-type tarp with bivy sacks for shelter to save the weight of carrying a tent. Day 2 - Tues. 7/20 - Left Stove Hill Camp about 6:30am for Glacier Meadows. Trail in good shape. Snow in open forest and meadows below GM. Flagged so could generally be followed without much trouble. No snow at cliffy areas just below GM. Rangers working on trail this side of last gully. Some branch-thrashing because of snow just before GM. 8-10 ft. of snow at shelter in GM. If had to, could just ‘slide’ down into the shelter from the roof line. Ascended to the moraine south of GM for first view of the Blue Glacier. Some crevasses showing but appeared, and found to be, narrow and filled in. Roped up and headed for Glacier Pass. Straight line route with no crevasse passage difficulties. Very warm sun. Cool and breezy at Glacier Pass. Descended to the Hoh Glacier just south of Glacier Pass. Didn’t have crampons so knew descending from here in the morning would be difficult, if not dangerous. Again, no crevasse problems on the Hoh. Traversed to Camp Pan on rock outcrop above the east flank of the Hoh Glacier. Rock was bare with a snow melt stream running for fresh water. Day over at 5:30pm. Day 3 - Wed. 7/21 - Left Camp Pan at about 8:30am. Sunny and clear. Ascended snowfield above camp roped with plans for descending the Humes Glacier. Reached Blizzard Pass in about 45 min. Great views to southeast and Queets Basin. No difficulties with the glacier. Toe of glacier completely blanketed with snow so a direct descent of the toe was accomplished over moderate snow without having to circumvent bare slabby cliffs normally present. Unroped here. Dropped down gully with avalanche debris (lots of tree debris) to 3500’. Ascended a steep, short snow finger changing to roots/rocks/mud to gain meadows/open forest above northeast side of gully. Easy traverse to Queets Basin. Crossed river on good snow bridge. Climbed to 4700’ level - Dodwell-Rixon Pass area. Established camp on bare ground just north of the pass overlooking the basin with a great view of the Humes Glacier and the Olympus massif. Camp set up around 4:30pm. Day 4 - Thurs. 7/22 - Left Queets Basin camp about 7am. Another sunny and clear day. Ascended to low area between Mt. Barnes and Bear Mt. Found water running through open area just below the saddle. Climbed to snow on south shoulder of Bear Mt. Traveled easily along spine of the range to Lone Tree Pass, just south of Mt. Pulitzer. Several bare ground sites available. Necessary to melt snow for water. Camp established about 3:30pm. Day 5 - Fri. 7/23 - Sunny and cool. Left camp about 7am. Climbed shoulder of Mt. Pulitzer and descended through Ferry and Upper Cream Lake basins. Gained low point of ridge southeast of Mt. Stephen for reconnaissance of possible route to basin east of Mt. Stephen. Decided to keep to west side of ridge (normal Bailey route) due to lack of knowledge of alternative and possible avalanche danger near shoulder of Mt. Stephen. Descended Cream Lake Basin to lake. Some difficulty finding route through the basin because of snowbanks along creek and the meandering nature of the creek itself. Set up camp around 4:30pm. Water dipped from lake outlet stream (Cream Lake Creek). Weather appears to be changing. Clouds of various formations at several levels forming. Does not appear to be an organized system. Day 6 - Sat. 7/24 - Woke to clouds and drizzle. Left camp @ 7:30am. Dropped to meadow area north of lake. Began ascent of avalanche gully toward Mt. Stephen to gain the 5300’ level for traverse of the ridge. Observed massive destruction of whole stands of trees. Several areas here had trees snapped off 15-20 feet above the ground. Snow must have avalanched all at once with a very heavy structure from the southwest faces of Mt. Stephen. One debris path reached all the way to Cream Lake (had to find our way through yesterday). The avalanche gully we climbed was filled in well and safe, although, steep. Had been ‘flushed out’ several times. Steps held well. Exited left and up through thinly forested area at head of gully. Reached 5300’ level in the clouds. Visibility is less than a 1/4 mile. Traversed all day through basins, over small shoulders, and some open slope areas. Expected to come across Eleven Bull Basin. Never could see well enough to know. Could have been disguised because of snow. Continued at 5300’ until we encountered large, deep gullies near Mt. Carrie. When we came upon a particularly deep and wide gully we couldn’t see across (except for a brooding shadow), we decided to climb above the difficulties. 1300’ vertical feet later we had climbed out out the cloud to a beautiful sunlit vista of Olympus and the higher Olympic peaks. Established camp at 8:30pm at the 6600’ level just south of the Mt. Carrie summit and at the head of the Carrie Glacier. Well-established bivy site complete with flat ground and rock windbreaks. Awesome views of surroundings as we ate a very late supper and watched the sun go down. Day 7 - Sun. 7/25 - Weather returns to sun and clear skies at our level but the Hoh Valley is blanketed with fog and clouds. Left camp @ 9am. Climbed the head of the Carrie Glacier to the summit area and bagged it. Descended the long, ragged ridge toward Boston Charlie’s Camp. Hard snow and chossy rock made the ridge time-consuming. Descended the climber’s track easily to BC Camp. Pond is melted out and one campsite available. Proceeded onto the Catwalk. Completely clear of snow. No particular difficulties except for the rough construction of this aréte. Lots of ducking, twisting, sliding, and cursing. Once we ascended the other side, we again descended looking for the way trail extension of the High Divide trail. We hoped with the southwest exposure that it would be melted out and clear but snow accumulation between trees in haphazard patterns made it clear this was going to take a lot longer than we hoped. We retreated and ascended the south spur of Cat Peak to the summit area. We dropped through meadows, brush, and thick trees to the snow-covered meadows on the divide south of Cat Basin. We had some trouble keeping to the divide at certain places because of spur ridges and contouring around knobs. We could most often find an open area to check our bearing since we could recognize the ridge that would lead us over an intersecting ridge into the upper reaches of Soleduck Park. Eventually, we found some water running in a tree well and replenished our low stock of water. We climbed the ridge south of Heart Lake on the High Divide, traversed to just above the lake and set up camp on snow at 7:30pm with no flat, bare ground to be seen anywhere. Day 8 - Mon. 7/26 - Weather is clear and sunny. Left camp at 7am headed ‘for the barn’ - the hot pools and grill food at Sol Duc Resort. Followed the High Divide route to above Seven Lakes Basin on snow shoulders on the north side of the divide. The cornice accumulations and snow banks on many of the north sides made for easy ‘highways’ for walking. Most were flat and large enough so we didn’t have to walk anywhere near the edge of the snow where a cornice collapse would catch us doing something dumb. We dropped into the easily recognizable Seven Lakes Basin. We descended to Lunch Lake, traversed the south side and headed for what we hoped was the normal trail approach to the basin. Everything is still snowed in and iced up except for Round Lake. Very little bare ground visible. As it happened, we hit the trail right on. We had hoped that someone had visited the basin recently so route-finding would be simplified but it was not to be. Our job was not done yet. As we all had been to this area many times before, collectively, we deciphered the short sections of trail that were exposed and found the long traverse above Bogachiel Basin. Through the trees was difficult because of the uneven melt out. The open slopes still had a couple feet of snow although in one section the trail was clear for perhaps a hundred yards. When it appeared that the trail disappeared around a spur and entered the forest for an extended period, we climbed to the top of the ridge to find a view of distant Deer Lake. We had heard Deer Lake was melted out, and we found that to be a confirming factor of this landmark. A direct descent to the lake was inadvisable because of thick woods and steep terrain. We dropped to the meadowland in the area of The Potholes on the High Divide trail and began to contour to the north which generally follows the structure of the trail. As we entered the forest, we found more exposed parts of the trail. From then it was pretty much following a gently descending contour and our noses to Deer Lake. We had finally returned to the fringes of civilization when the ranger popped out of the privy at Deer Lake with a “Where have you guys been'”. We had not seen another person (except for the helicopter travelers passing by Cream Lake) since noon last Tuesday when we saw climbers returning from the Snow Dome route on Mt. Olympus - six days. We proceeded down the Canyon Creek trail to Soleduck Falls and on to the trailhead where friends and family were there to greet us and celebrate our accomplishment. Notes - Route-finding: We found that four factors were extremely important in finding our way; 1) our previous experiences in these areas (we had all done parts of the trip before); 2) a use of map and compass for identifying landmarks mostly. We all knew how to do this so collective input was valuable. We generally all agreed where we were most of the time; 3) the use of an altimeter. We all had them and knew how to use them. We kept checking for any weird readings that may indicate reading changes due to weather, and we reset them as often as we could when an identifiable landmark was reached. Exact elevation was not super important but we were always within a hundred feet or so; 4) background information from guides and others’ accounts. We found guides are not always written with all the details you might need but landmark references are pretty accurate, route descriptions less so. Wildlife: We saw several bear. All kept a a very healthy distance from us, and if we got within a couple hundred yards they were taking off in the opposite direction. We also saw only evidence of cougar, elk and deer. Several adult and juvenile goats on the slopes of Mt. Carrie. They didn’t seem to care we were there but they kept an eye on us. Not as many marmots as we have seen before. Many dens are still covered with snow. Some have dug their way out and have made distinctive den entrances. We were glad to see that the wildlife was wary of us. We would much rather have them be free from human influence and interference. As such, we were always careful to not leave garbage or to leave food that may attract wildlife. As would be a fitting final understatement, it was quite an adventure. For further information contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deer Lake, Bogachiel Peak, Hoh Lake — Jun 17, 1998 — L.K.
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Left Sol Duc trail-head by Lover's Lane. Took this to the Deer Lake trail, then followed Deer Lake ...