Trip Report    

Backpack - Seven Lakes Basin & High Divide

Seattle Branch backpack with six participants for a four day clockwise traverse of the High Divide loop.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Route is in good shape all the way around.  There are some new bridges along the Sol Duc River - we encountered none of the log-crossings or river-crossings mentioned in the guidebooks.

In order to give ourselves more time to enjoy the area we split the route across four days instead of the usual three. This gave us time for side hikes, swimming, extended conversations with Rangers and other hikers, and lounging about taking in the views and watching the wildlife.  Our campsite were at 1) Sol Duc Crossing/Upper Sol Duc Bridge, 2) Heart Lake, and 3) Lunch Lake.  Whether was clear and sunny all four days, a though a bit hotter than ideal on days two and three (mitigated by swimming). We had bear sightings at Heart and Lunch lakes, and our Lunch Lake campsite was invaded by a deer with a late night case of the munchies who chose the area around one of our tents for an extended midnight snack. The highlight for many was a late afternoon side trip up the Cat Basin Primitive Trail (a.k.a. approach to the Bailey Range Traverse) which offered a great view of Mount Olympus (which is not visible outside the park).

With six people in six tents we had trouble fitting ourselves into available campsite space at Heart and Lunch lakes. (We just barely fit at the Upper Sol Duc Bridge site.) Our conclusion was that the max Olympic NP party size of six in backcountry sites probably assumes six people using three two-person tents. If we were doing this trip again we would require either that everyone pair up into two-person tents or use a bivy or very small solo tent.