Hoh River


Backpack - Hoh River to Glacier Meadows

A multi-day trek up the gorgeous Hoh River and Rainforest to the much celebrated Blue Glacier at the base of Mount Olympus. This is a strenuous trip with many unique features. Kindly read the 'Leader's Note' in detail. Leader Permission is Required (no inquiries before May 22nd please)

  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 40.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,100 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.5

Meet at the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center at approx. 10 AM.  Exact time may change  a litte.

Each car needs to pay the Olympic National Pass entrance or have a person in the car with an America the Beautiful Pass

The Blue Glacier is one of the most renowned locales in Olympic National Park, but getting there is indeed half of the fun.  This will be both an exhilarating and strenuous trip.


Day 1 Hoh Visitor Center to  Lewis Meadows Camp, 10.5 miles, about 1500' gain.  We will camp on the gravel bar along the river and most likely have an evening fire.

Day 2 --A big day--  We will arise at the crack of dawn, pack-up, then continue up the valley to Elk Lake 4.4 miles, about 2000'  gain. We will set up camp and proceed with day-packs further up the valley to  Glacier Meadows and the Mighty Blue Glacier.  We will spend the entire day exploring the area and return late in the evening back to Elk Lake, arriving back before sunset.  We will be bringing our stoves/dinner, etc along and enjoy dinner near or on the glacier.  There may be lingering early season snow on the trail.  We will also be hiking some on the glacier and around the terminal and lateral moraines (as long as it is safe and not too crazy).  Microspikes will be required.  I anticipated the 'day hike' part of the day will be about 9 miles RT with 4000' gain.  This will make Day 2 a total of 13+ miles and about 6000' of gain.

Day 3 We will sleep in and relax, then head down the Hoh to Olympic Ranger Station and again camp along the river and likely make a second lovely fire. 6 miles, mostly all descent.  There will be an optional exploratory walk along the river bed corridor in the evening.

Day 4 Leisurely hike out to the Hoh Visitor Center, 9 Miles, maybe 500' gain.

Trip total is about 40 miles and 8500' gain.  There is a $8 fee per night, plus part of the $6 Recreation.gov fee.  Each participant will owe $25.

Leader Permission is required.  Note: Please no inquiries for Permission until May 22nd. Earlier request will be ignored.

Days 1, 3, 4 are pretty standard-fare backpacking legs, while Day 2 will be quite challenging--requiring excellent conditioning and comfort and experience on snow and ice.  In requesting permission, please answer the following six questions.

1)  I have completed at least four backpack trips within the last year, two of the trips need to have been two nights or longer.  One of these trips needs to or has happen in 2023 before this trip commences.  Yes, or No? 

2) I have the physical conditioning to do the backpack/hike on Day 2 (4.4 miles, 2000' gain with full pack and 9 miles, 4000' with a day pack). Yes or No?  Please list trips where you have done similarly strenuous days (day hikes or overnight trips) or other information that lets me know you can do this day's plan with complaint or struggle.

3)  Please tell me what you have been up to or will be doing this Spring and early Summer to demonstrate proper conditioning for this trip.

4) I understand that this trip may encounter late season snow on the trail and that we will likely do some non-technical/low exposure off-trail hiking up near or on the glacier and its moraines as we explore the area.  I am comfortable with this travel and will be bringing the required Microspikes.  Yes or No?

5)  I understand that there is a long, steep laddered section of the trail between Elk Lake and the glacier.  I have looked at the picture of this ladder at https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2022-09-18.2270517863 and I'm confident that I can manage both ascending and desending it on our Day 2, day hike.  Yes or No?

6) I will reimburse the leader $25 for the campsite fees no later than June 15th to guarantee my spot on the roster.  If this fee is not receive my mail by then, I acknowledge that I will be removed from the roster.  I further understand that once the permit is issued for the trip, likely about a week before the start date, the fee is not refundable.  Yes or No?

Further:  If the weather on Day 2 is not so great and the weather on Day 3 looks much better, we may switch the 'strenuous day hike up to the Blue Glacier' to the morning of Day 3 and adjust the other trip days accordingly.

Other:  The day and night before this four day trip, the leader will be leading a one night trip to the adjacent and mysterious South Fork of the Hoh River.  Participants are welcome to join this pre-trip as well. An $9 per person for campsite fees.  See separate Mountaineers trip post.  You will need to sign-up for this add-on trip under that posting if you desire to attend both juxtaposed trips.


Hoh River

  • Custom Correct Seven Lakes Basin - Hoh

    Green Trails Seven Lakes Basin/Mt Olympus Climb No. 133S

    Green Trails Mt Tom No. 133

    Green Trails Mount Olympus No. 134

    Custom Correct Mount Olympus Climber's Map
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Two Trekking Poles
  • Microspikes
Trip Reports