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Enchanted Valley

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There are 49 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Enchanted Valley, East Fork Quinault River, Quinault River-Pony Bridge-Enchanted Valley — Jan 21, 2014 — D.Baxter
Overnight
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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Hard to believe I'd never been to Enchanted Valley. When I saw the photos of the Quinault eroding t...
Hard to believe I'd never been to Enchanted Valley. When I saw the photos of the Quinault eroding the banks right against the building I figured I may not get a chance to visit before the river takes it away. But a surprise day off and decent weather gave me that chance! I'd just have to contend with short winter days and cold valley temperatures.

Got up ridiculously early and made the long drive out to the Graves Creek trailhead. I was the only car here, aside from one tent in the campground. I hit the trail at 9:15 with temperatures right around freezing. I made quick time to Pony Bridge, which was slippery from a glaze of ice. Dropping further into the Quinault River valley brought more ice and fog but made for frozen mud and dry feet.

Around noon the fog began to burn off and the damp forest was steaming, giving the place an otherworldly feeling. Combined with the draping moss and giant trees it was an amazingly beautiful area. One particularly large tree had toppled and been recently cut, the diameter of the trunk larger than I am tall! Wow!

There was no bridge or log across Pyrites Creek and the rocks were too slick for me to chance rock hopping. Fording the creek wasn't too bad, only knee deep and ice cold. As I approached the valley I began to see ice on the trail, then patchy snow near the bridge into the valley. I'd packed very light (aside from lots of warm clothes) assuming bare ground. Would I be camping on snow? Thankfully no. Much of the valley was bare with only patches of snow lingering in the shaded areas. Nearly all the camps were melted.

The river was right against the bank beside the Chalet, just like in the recent photos. Hopefully it can hold out awhile longer, barring any major storms! The river was fairly peaceful today. I reached the Chalet around 3pm and still had good light for photos. Leaving my pack on the porch I wandered around a bit. Barely an hour later the sun was dropping behind the ridge. Darn low winter sun! I claimed a spot in the open areas not too far from the Chalet hoping to maximize available light vs camping beneath the trees where it would be warmer. Trade off would also be heavy condensation in the open.

As the sun set temperatures dropped quickly. No valley fog appeared though! I made a token attempt at a small fire but everything was so damp keeping it burning was more trouble than it was worth. I made due with the LED lantern I'd packed in. It was dark so early I just read my book, watched the stars come out, and did some night photography. The area was very peaceful. No people or animals to contribute any sound - just the river. Well, and the huge avalanche that came down around 10pm.

Frost covered the grass and outside of my tent as I turned in. I stayed warm enough in my new used Hexamid tent and 15 degree bag. Temperatures dipped into the high 20s overnight with no wind. Morning brought light but no direct sun on the valley floor. I made coffee, had a hot breakfast, and lounged around awhile watching the brief sunrise. I'd hoped to explore further up the valley but opted to head back instead, leaving that for a spring return trip.
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Enchanted Valley, Anderson Glacier, Dosewallips River — Jul 18, 2013 — Hiking Ya-Ya's
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Bridge out
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Hiked the classic west to east route across the Olympics in five days with my hiking partner. We'd ...
Hiked the classic west to east route across the Olympics in five days with my hiking partner. We'd planned for six days (5 nights) to allow plenty of time to explore but felt we'd accomplished our goal ahead of schedule so we slogged out the last 5.5 miles on the Dosewallips "road" to get home early.

Trail conditions were disappointing on the trail to Enchanted Valley, with more than a few logs across the trail and one rock blowout. (WTA to the rescue next month with a planned BCRT which hopefully will alleviate the problems!). Despite being a weekend, Enchanted Valley was not packed with hikers as we'd expected and there were many nice campsites available. The volunteer ranger on duty there was very helpful and friendly. Trail above that to Anderson Pass was completely snow-free but we encountered more downed trees, slowing our progress. The crossing of White Creek without a bridge was exciting but very doable now by wading (water was above our knees) by hanging onto the one remaining log from the washed out bridge. The fact that there is no room for error with a waterfall plunge below the crossing makes this especially exciting! Highlight of the trip was our day hike up to Anderson Glacier from the pass -- spectacular! On the other side of Anderson Pass the West Fork Dosewallips trail is in better condition with only two small logs encountered and one river ford (at Honeymoon Camp) in the 17 miles to the trailhead.

We were disappointed not to have seen more wildlife with only campground deer and one long-distance bear sighting. Bugs were rarely a problem except in the evening hours around sunset. Lots of great wildflowers are in bloom, primarily on the Dose side and up on Mt. Anderson at the glacier viewpoint.
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Enchanted Valley, Quinault River-Pony Bridge-Enchanted Valley — Jun 28, 2013 — KevinSur
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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My friend and I planned for a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip to the Enchanted Valley, leaving from t...
My friend and I planned for a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip to the Enchanted Valley, leaving from the Quinault trail head on Friday just before noon and hoping to make it back some time on Sunday. The trip was an introduction to backpacking for the both of us and I must say that it was the challenge, solitude and natural splendor that we had hoped for and we're already looking to plan our next adventure.

On Friday we left the trailhead before noon and hiked all day, deciding to stop at the Pyrites campground and make it our "base camp" for our trek through the enchanted valley the next day. The trail between the trailhead and O'neil campground was very well maintained with the toughest incline happening in the first mile and a half before a long decline to Pony Bridge. From Pony Bridge to O'neil, the running water on the trail was inevitable so just be ready to have wet feet and some extra dry socks on hand.

The trail was very muddy between O'neil and Pyrites on the way out as there were rains the day before. There were also a few blow downs to navigate but there was usually a make shift trail above or below them. We saw our first bear as we rounded a corner near O'neil Creek. It was no more than 30 feet away standing on a log. Even though we obviously startled the bear a little bit, it calmly turned it's back and slowly walked off. An amazing sight! Shortly before Pyrites Camp we spotted another HUGE bear about 300 yards away walking among some trees.

We reached Pyrites Camp in late afternoon and it was a great place with only a few other campers. There was bear wire (no privy) and easy access to water. Since this camp is only 3 or so miles to the Enchanted Valley, we saw it as an opportunity to leave our gear there and only hike into the valley with our lunches the next day. It proved to be a great decision as not only were we more able to enjoy our time in the valley, it also became obvious that all the campsites int he Enchanted Valley were taken.

The Enchanted Valley is awe inspiring and worth every drop of sweat it took to get there. We spent the entire day there taking in the sights and cat napping in the shade. That and the weather was incredible.

That night we decided to pack up our gear and make the hike back to O'neil camp to shorten our hike out on Sunday. The trail had dried up considerably since our hike in to the valley. O'neil Camp was nearly full when we got there and luckily for us, a very nice couple from Montana let us share their space. We were the last group to be able to fit.

If you are going out to the enchanted valley on the weekend, I highly recommend you plan on getting an early start and consider staying in O'Neil, or Pyrites if it's looking to be a little crowded. We lucked out and I'm sure everyone made do.
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Enchanted Valley — Jun 10, 2013 — AHarrington
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Washouts
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My husband and I backpacked into the Enchanted Valley on June 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th. It was awe...
My husband and I backpacked into the Enchanted Valley on June 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th. It was awesome, as usual, althoguh with fewer animal, BEAR, spottings this time the trail felt like it grew in mileage and grade! We made it to the trailhead late and hiked in the 5 or so miles to arrive at our favorite riverside campsite. There are 3 of these unofficial unmarked sited before oneil creek, and they're more private and equipped with more firewood than oneil. No bear wire or privy however, so you make your own... The next day we made it into the stunning enchanted valley. It sadly appears that the river took another chunk out of the chalet's backyard, but it might have looked that bad last year, and the last creek before the valley just added flood damage to the scene. The footlog on this last crossing was washed out when we got there, but fixed by the time we hiked out two days later. Go ranger! We saw only 2 lazy bears on this trip, but lots and lots of elk! And deer in the valley were very bold and walked right through camp. A chipmunk chewed a hole in one of our bear bags and attempted to eat the mt. House chicken alfredo, but he decided it was unedible, and later, upon trying it myself, I had to agree. I wish we could have stayed in the valley longer, as usual. Please don't plan om only one night in this perfect camp! I was so sad to see hikers coming in late and leaving so early in the morning_ this pace demands exploration! There's a isolated meadow just a bit up the trail from camp where we saw a whole herd of elk-babies too. No snow on the trail, plenty of water along the trail, and wildlife viewing is abundant. Enjoy!
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Enchanted Valley, Quinault River-Pony Bridge-Enchanted Valley — Jun 07, 2013 — Sito
Multi-night backpack
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Washouts | Water on trail
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My two buddies and I went on a backpacking trip to the Enchanted Valley from the 7th to the 9th of J...
My two buddies and I went on a backpacking trip to the Enchanted Valley from the 7th to the 9th of June. We were initially hoping to make it all the way to the valley on day one and camp there but we only left at 12:40 at the trailhead on Friday, which was a little late.

On day one we then decided to camp at Pyrites (mile 9.55) where we got around 5:30pm. In hindsight that was quite good, because we were there on our own and it would definitely have gotten late had we pushed on (plus we were really knackered at Pyrites of course :-))

Second day we left most of our stuff at Pyrites and day-hiked to the Enchanted Valley which was beautiful, sunny day and stunning scenery. We left around 9:30 in the morning and made it to the valley in 1:45h or so. We hung out in the valley for for 2h or so, had lunch, enjoyed the scenery and had conversations with fellow hikers. It seemed pretty busy this weekend there, quite a few tents and people walking around. We then returned to Pyrites where we arrived 3:30pm, packed our stuff and went further on to O'Neil camp so spend the night.

This left us only with 6.7 miles on the last day. We got back to the trailhead at around 1pm which was nice as we had still a long drive back to Seattle. We even had time to stop for beers and burgers at a brewery in Hoquiam biggrin.gif

Weather was beautiful all the time, the trail is in reasonably good condition but especially in the second half there are a lot of blowdowns. Usually a trail has been created around, so it's not too much of a problem but they can become a little annoying if you;re really tired :-) Many of those blowdowns look quite recent, so I suspect they must have had some pretty heavy storms there recently. Just before the valley the trail is partly washed out next tot he river and there are lots of fallen trees in the river. It is kind of difficult to get across a couple of side-arms of the river there, only way seemed to balance on a log, not something I am very good at :-) These streams are just wide and deep enough to not let you wade through or jump across, at least if you want to keep your feet dry.

in terms of wildlife the trip was a little disappointing. We saw a lot bear poo, mostly fresh and right on the trail, but no bears...and no other animals for that matter apart from some geese flying over the river. However, somebody I talked to at the valley had seen a bear in the meadows around Pyrites and apparently a herd of elk had been in the valley in the morning.

I took a lot of pictures on the trip. They are all here and in chronological order, so that should give you a good idea of the trip and what the trail looks like: http://www.flickr.com/[…]/
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Location
Olympics -- West

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