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Backpack - Royal Basin

One of the top 100 hikes in Washington, on the east side of Olympic National Park. This is great as a one-night backpack or long day hike. A backpack is preferred to leave time to explore Royal Basin and the upper basin. This hike offers views of wild rivers, old-growth huge trees, waterfalls, alpine lakes and tarns, all surrounded by both snow-covered as well as dry, craggy mountains. You'll see deer, marmots and mosquitoes.

  • Fri, Jul 15, 2016 — Sat, Jul 16, 2016
  • Backpack - Royal Basin
  • Royal Basin
  • Backpacking
  • Successful
  • Road rough but passable
  • You drive 18 miles on dirt forest service roads.  For the most part, roads were good but there were pot holes and some washboard in spots.  A higher-clearance vehicle like an SUV or Outback is preferred but a passenger vehicle could handle it by driving with care.

I led the Royal Basin hike July 15-16, 2016.

1. Mosquitoes—There were lots of ‘em! Bug spray came in handy but I kicked myself for leaving my hat net at home.
2. Stream crossings were easy—We had to cross several streams but most were easy with sturdy and flat log bridges. The last stream you reach before entering the upper basin isa little tricky because you need to balance over a few slippery logs but no one felt the need for water shoes.
3. Logistics—Getting to the trailhead is a little complicated with lots of turns. I decided to change the meeting spot from the trailhead to the Long House Market & Deli and recommend that if you’re meeting people. It’s the last spot with cell reception before you turn off 101.
4. Factor in extra time to get to the trail head—It takes an hour from Long House Market & Deli to get to the trail head . . . about 45 minutes after you get on dirt roads, which you’re on for about 18 miles.
5. Hiking Time—The route climbs steadily and gradually after the first easy mile. We hiked a pace of 1.8 miles per hour, stopping briefly every half hour, a half hour lunch and one or two five-minute breaks. Total time was 5 hours to get to our campsite at Royal Lake and about 45 minutes to the upper basin after we set up camp. We explored for an hour or so and hiked back to camp for dinner.

I wished I had brought binoculars to peer at the surrounding craggy mountains in the main basin. We saw lots of deer near Royal Lake, marmots in the upper basin, and few birds. There is a lovely multi-tier waterfall near the Ranger Station. We ran into a ranger who wanted to check my permit so make sure you bring yours.