Backpack - Lake LaCrosse—O'Neil Pass

Lake Lacrosse - O Neil Pass

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  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 46.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,000 ft

meeting time & place TBD

100 Classic Hikes in Washington says Lake La Crosse is “the most splendid alpine lake in the Olympic,” which we will reach via “the 24-carat Classic [route] on one of the most spectacular trails in the National Park, traversing ridges high about the Enchanted Valley of the Quinault, in magnificent views and flower fields.” The challenging access route also keeps away the crowds.

On day 1, we will hike 13 miles along the North Fork Quinault River to scenic Enchanted Valley (2,000’), gaining about 1,000’ feet, plus some ups and downs.   On day 2 we will hike 13 miles over O’Neill Pass (4,900’) past Marmot Lake (possible campsite) and Hart Lake to Lake La Crosse (4,800’) and set up camp for 2 nights.  On day 3, we will explore the lake basin, possibly including Buck Lake and a possible short-cut return over the saddle northeast of Hart Lake.   Day 4 we will hike back to Enchanted Valley, possibly using the short-cut.  Day 5 we will return to our cars at Graves Creek Campground, and drive home.  The total distance, excluding the layover day is 52 miles; the description in the title is incorrect.  

Maps:  Green Trails No. 167 Mount Steel and No. 166 Mount Christie, Custom Correct  Enchanted Valley - Skokomish. You can also locate and print USGS topo maps online for free – see  

Guide books:  Backpacking Washington 100; Hikes in the South Cascades and Olympics; Olympic Mountains Trail Guide (all Mountaineers Press).   

Leader permission is required, which you can obtain by sending an e-mail to the leader.

I expect low overnight temperatures will be in the 30s.  You should check the current weather report shortly before departure:

The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor.

Other gear notes:

 1.  Bear cans are not required.  Bring a stuff sack to hang your food (no plastic grocery bags) or an Ursack.   You should not use the stuff sack from your clothes, tent or sleeping bag for your food. 

2.  You should bring some method of water purification. 

3.  Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellant.

4.  To reduce pack weight, you should consider sharing gear, especially stoves, cooking pots, water filters, and tents.  About 1 week before the trip, I will send an E-mail to all.  If you are interested in sharing any items, Reply All to this E-mail, describing gear you would like to provide for sharing or if you are interested in sharing another’s gear.   Sharers should make arrangements directly with any interested people. 

Carpooling will be encouraged, and arranged about 1 week before departure. 



Lake LaCrosse—O'Neil Pass

  • Custom Correct Enchanted Valley - Skokomish

    Green Trails Mt Steel No. 167

    Green Trails Mt Christie No. 166
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

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