Basic Backpacking Student Trip

Field trip: Basic Backpacking

Basic Backpacking Student Trip - Enchanted Valley

Two night student-only trip to a beautiful valley in Olympic NP.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 30.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft
  • Pace: 1.75 - 2 mph

Graves Creek Trailhead at 9am.

Carpools will likely be set up.  (Because of the duration of the trip, leaving cars at a Park and Ride is not an option.)

Details below are preliminary based on the leaders' ability to get permits when they become available in April.  If we can't get permits for  Enchanted Valley then Plan B will be Ozette Triangle (ONP beach trip), and Plan C will be a single-night route in Rainier NP.


Three day backpack to Enchanted Valley in Olympic NP, staying both nights at Pyrites Creek Camp and venturing into Enchanted Valley itself as a day trip on the middle day. Daily mileages are long but elevation gains are modest.

Enchanted Valley is known for:

  • Just in general being a beautiful place.
  • Wildlife, especially bears and elk.
  • Early season waterfalls flowing down the surrounding peaks.
  • Old growth forest in the valley and along the trail that leads to it.
  • The old chalet building, which is often in the local news because it is endangered by the moving river.
  • A place one can visit early in the season while higher country is still under snow.

We will hopefully experience all of these things on this trip (though, in the case of bears, not too closely).

We'll be taking the usual route, starting from the Graves Creek Trailhead and hiking in along the Quinault River Trail. We'll stay at Pyrites Creek Camp both nights, which will split the 26-mile round trip into three days of approximately 10 miles/1500' gain, 6 miles/1000' gain, and 10 miles/1500' loss. The middle day will be a day trip into Enchanted Valley itself, with the shorter mileage leaving us time to linger and explore. How we spend our time in the Valley will depend on conditions and the whims of the group, and may include a jaunt to the "world's largest western hemlock" about a mile past the chalet.

This trip has a number of special considerations. Please read all of the following before deciding whether this trip is for you.

  • This area is famous for bears. They are not aggressive (unless threatened) but we will need to take full precautions with regards to food and other ursine delectables. As per Park policy, bear canisters are required.  (The park does not accept Ursacks.)  If the bear wire at Pyrites Creek is up then we may not need to bring our canisters, but that's something we may not know for sure until the morning of the trip, so we need to prepare as if we are going to bring them.
  • The trail includes 3 - 4 river crossings over log bridges. All have at least one handrail, but one of them is a bit high (
  • There is no outhouse at Pyrites Camp.  Please come prepared to do the usual Leave No Trace things, aka your Poop Kit.
  • The drive to the trailhead from Seattle is around 3.5 hours or so, depending on where you start. Participants may want to consider staying in the area the night before.
  • We will be spending three days in a rainforest so it's likely that we will get some precipitation while we're there.
  • Participants are requested to reimburse the leaders $16 for ONP backcountry permit fees ($8 per person per night).  This can be done on the weekend of the trip via cash or Venmo.

Enchanted Valley

  • Green Trails Mt Christie No. 166

    Green Trails Mt Steel No. 167

    Trails Illustrated Olympic National Park

    Custom Correct Quinault-Colonel Bob

    Custom Correct Enchanted Valley - Skokomish

    Custom Correct Brothers - Mt Anderson
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Your usual two-night backpacking kit plus a bear canister.

Trip Reports