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Trip Report    

Royal Basin

  • Thu, Aug 28, 2014
  • Royal Basin
  • Backpacking, Day Hiking & Scrambling

This was a 3 day backpack into Royal Basin. Bugs mostly gone, as are most of the wildflowers that this area is famous for (famous for bugs too), but some Parry's Campion, Rockslide Larkspur, Elmera, Yellow Monkeyflower and Grass-of-Parnassus as well as a few other stragglers were evident. This is an easy trail that picks up intensity and elevation about a mile from Royal Lake, where I later caught and released half a dozen beautiful Eastern Brook Trout. Great campsites both here and in the preceding meadow. Limited permit campsites where we stayed at the Upper Royal Basin are very exposed on a gravelly "parking lot", however the views are unbeatable. Nearby "Imperial Tarn" and neigboring tarns are milky turquoise. Highly recommend backpacking rather than making this a day hike since there is much to explore in this area. Alan Ehrlich and I hiked up to Petunia Ridge from the basin in the scree that dominates the landscape and viewed the Dungeness drainage. I hiked up the watercourse from the camp to a faint trail leading to the col between Mt. Deception and Mt Fricaba (1200ft gain) that affords a steep (but safe) scree route route to seldom seen remote Deception Basin. If you are a confident scrambler/hiker, this would be a fabulous day trip to explore this mysterious Shangri-La, remembering that you need to reascend the scree. Deception is definitely for the climbers, but Mt. Fricaba would be fun scramble.
A small band of goats invaded our camp in the early morning, causing no harm. Whistling Olympic Marmots heard throughout the day. Two nights/three days left us feeling very satisfied. A relaxed 6 hours in, five hours out with full pack, though a strong day hiker could do it in 3 1/2 - 4 hrs.