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Happy Lake Ridge

Olympic Peninsula


Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast
View map below


18.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 4400 ft.
Highest Point: 5280 ft.


2.75 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2016

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
Road Washout: Trailhead inaccessible

Enjoy a mix of solitude and company along a ridgetop with two backcountry lakes and sweeping alpine views.

Begin your hike at the Appleton Pass trailhead, descending to the Happy Lake trailhead via a 1.3-mile road walk. Once at the trailhead, the route wastes no time ascending to Happy Lake. At 0.25 mile reach a small creek. This is the last reliable water source prior to Happy Lake, so it’s a good place to top off.

Continue climbing for three miles, reaching the ridge crest at 4,500 feet. Views expand along the ridge; at 4.8 miles a viewpoint looks out at the Elwha Valley and surrounding peaks of Mounts Appleton and Angeles.

At 5.8 miles is the side trail to Happy Lake. The half-mile path drops 400 feet to the lake’s grassy shores, where a few established campsites can be found. This makes a good destination and turnaround point for dayhikers, as well as a good water source.

Back at the ridge, continue traveling west while taking in views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range. At about 8.3 miles, arrive at the Aurora Divide Trail junction. Continue left to Boulder Lake, following ups and downs along the ridge. The trail climbs to an overlook at 4,900 feet with views of Boulder Peak and Lake.

Drop 500 feet—steeply at times—to the side trail to Boulder Lake. Well-established campsites can be found in the basin.

Continue the loop from Boulder Lake by descending 2.9 miles along the Boulder Lake Trail to a junction with the Boulder Creek Trail. Continue left, arriving at Boulder Creek Campground and the side trail to Olympic Hot Springs. Finish with 2.3 miles on old roadbed to the trailhead.

WTA Pro Tip: Much of Happy Lake Ridge lacks water. Be sure to top off your bottles at the lakes.


Happy Lake Ridge

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.9776, -123.6930 Open map in new window


Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast

Happy Lake Ridge (#58)

Olympic National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Olympic National Park National Geographic Trail Illustrated Map

Getting There

From Port Angeles, follow US 101 west for 9 miles. Turn left onto Olympic Hot Springs Road and drive 10 miles, passing the park entrance station and Elwha Ranger Station, to the trailhead at the end of the road.

Note: Currently this trailhead is inaccessible by car, but can be reached by hiking from the Madison Falls trailhead adding approximately 4.5 miles one way to the hike.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
Road Washout: Trailhead inaccessible

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Happy Lake Ridge

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