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Mildred Lakes

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Three beautiful backcountry lakes tucked in a hidden valley surrounded by craggy summits await at the end of this arduous hike. A boot-beaten path that leaves you beat, the Mildred Lakes Trail was forged by tenacious fishermen and masochistic hikers. An entanglement of roots, slippery rocks, and an up-and-down course that defies logic, this hike is about the destination, not the journey. But boy is the fishing good; that's what lures most visitors to these aquatic gems.

Everything you've heard or read about this hike is true: it's a bear. Never officially constructed, this trail resembles little more than a way path, especially the second half. We're talking

no-frills hiking here. Beginning at the end of the Hamma Hamma Road near a dramatic gorge and waterfall (did you peek over the bridge?), Mildred Lakes Trail no. 822 immediately enters the Mount Skokomish Wilderness.

Winding through recovering wilderness (the area was logged decades ago), the first mile or so is easy enough. But once you cross a large avalanche chute, the misery begins. Around fallen logs, over fallen logs, and straight-up rocky and rooty slopes the trail climbs a 3200-foot ridge. Mount Pershing looms in the southeast.

Through hemlock and huckleberry the trail hightails it off the ridge, dropping 250 feet into a cool forested glen graced by a rushing creek. Cross it on a questionable log (or wade), and within two minutes come to another creek crossing, this one much easier. Now the way gets tricky and even tougher. Ascending a steep ridge, upward mobility is temporarily halted upon coming to a ravine. Using roots as handholds, drop 25 feet into the dank draw before resuming the taxing climb. After clambering over rock, root, and ledge-and gaining 1000 feet in elevation-the insanity ends on a 4100-foot heather-draped ridge crest. Wander along the open ledge, enjoying excellent views of Mount Cruiser and the Sawtooth Range, but no lakes.

Your punishment isn't actually over. Drop 200 feet through marshy mosquito breeding grounds before finally coming to the first lake (elev. 3800 ft). Set in deep old timber with a backdrop of rugged summits, the scene is serene and it's all yours-you deserve it. Scramble over more root and rock to the far side of the lake for good fishing and resting posts. Share the abundant trout with the resident osprey.

If not totally spent, consider checking out the other two lakes. To reach Upper Mildred, one of the largest backcountry lakes in the Olympics, cross Lower Mildred's inlet stream and follow a rough path for 0.3 mile. The third Mildred can be reached by following a rudimentary path north from the upper lake's outlet creek.
Driving Directions:

From Hoodsport travel US 101 north for 14 miles. At milepost 318 turn left (west) onto the Hamma Hamma River Road (Forest Road 25). Continue for 14 miles (the first 7.5 miles of which is paved) to the trailhead. Privy available.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 54 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mildred Lakes — Mar 23, 2014 — Get High, Stay High
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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The Hamma Hamma Road is clear of snow to the trailhead. Minor potholes except for one that is so dee...
The Hamma Hamma Road is clear of snow to the trailhead. Minor potholes except for one that is so deep a kind person has placed in it an upright pole with flagging.

The trail to Huckleberry creek is mostly snow free. There are some longer stretches in deep shaded north facing slopes. We made an an early start and the snow was firm enough to support us. We could see where someone had to cope with softer snow and repeatedly potholed. We felt no need for snowshoes. One of our party did pull on his micro-chains to feel more confident in his footing.

There are a few logs that require one to get quite low in order to pass. The rest are easily stepped over or around.

We heard pileated woodpeckers hammering, grouse booming and some little brown birds carrying on song competitions. It is early spring.

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Mildred Lakes — Mar 08, 2014 — Get High, Stay High
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We were able to drive to within just less than a mile from the trailhead. If we had been able to dri...
We were able to drive to within just less than a mile from the trailhead. If we had been able to drive a quarter mile closer, we could have made it all the way.

The trail is melted out all the way to the broad avalanche path off of the backside of Pershing. Snowshoes were required from there until the descent off the first ridge down to Huckleberry Creek.

Most of the blow downs are step-overs or duck-unders. The rain and snow melt had kicked many of the gentle seeps into a new gear. They were now streams. The perennial mud hole has been washed free of mud and now sports a firm gravel bottom.
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Mildred Lakes — Feb 22, 2014 — Get High, Stay High
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We were able to drive about 2 miles past the Lena Lake trailhead. We left the truck about 8 am and s...
We were able to drive about 2 miles past the Lena Lake trailhead. We left the truck about 8 am and skied to the Mildred Lakes trailhead. There we switched to snow shoesfor the trip to Huckleberry Creek.

I was here 3 weeks earlier and we were able to drive to the Mildred Lakes trailhead and hike by boot to Huckleberry. What a difference a big snow dump makes. BTW, that snow has also toppled many trees across the trail. Should make for a good WTA log out this summer.

The climb over the first ridge was 'character building' enough. There was no need (or time) to cross the creek and attempt the second ridge. We returned to the truck at about 6:30 pm. Just before headlamp time.

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Mildred Lakes — Feb 06, 2014 — varied thrush
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Arrived at Mildred Lakes trailhead at 9:00. Road to the trailhead was in good shape. A few spots nea...
Arrived at Mildred Lakes trailhead at 9:00. Road to the trailhead was in good shape. A few spots near the end of the Hamma Hamma River Rd may be difficult to drive with a low-clearance vehicle. No snow until the last mile of the road to the trailhead, and then just a light dusting. The trail is still easy to follow until the creek crossing. After the creek crossing the trail becomes more difficult to follow but is well flagged. The trail follows a few ridges as it works its way towards the lakes. It becomes easier to lose the trail here. There are a few extra inches of snow along the ridges so during these stretches we were just following the flagging in trees. We lost the trail before making it to the large lake so stopped at the first for lunch before heading back. The walk took much longer than expected. Even though we turned back before the end of the trail we still made it back to the trailhead with only about 20 minutes of light remaining (5:20 PM).
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Mildred Lakes — Oct 07, 2013 — Mossy Mom
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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3,000 feet total elevation gain on this up and down route. No snow yet. As usual trail is easiest ...
3,000 feet total elevation gain on this up and down route. No snow yet. As usual trail is easiest to follow before the creek crossing. Lots of mushrooms and nice fall colors.

Outhouse has a sign that say it is closed. High clearance vehicles are best for getting to this way trail.


Complete report at
http://mosswalks.blogspot.com/[…]/mildred-lakes-marathon-in-dark.html
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mildred lakes - mossy mom.JPG
Mildred Lakes. Photo by Mossy Mom.
WTA worked here!
2010, 2012, 2013
Location
Mildred Lakes (#822)
Olympics -- East
Statistics
Roundtrip 9.0 miles
Elevation Gain 2300 ft
Highest Point 4100 ft
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Mt Steel No. 167
Custom Correct Mount Skokomish-Lake Cushman

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerMildred Lakes
47.5752833333 -123.2612
  • BCRT 2010
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  • Trail Work 2012
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