Premier olympic Hiking Company

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Hoh River Traverse

Highlights

  • Guides Choice backpacking trip in Olympic
  • Old-growth rainforest and alpine glaciers
  • Rare overlook of the Blue Glacier
  • Cascading waterfalls & glacial rivers
  • Amazing natural & cultural history
  • Abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing

Description

Explore temperate rainforests, alpine lakes, and a dramatic glacier on this 4 or 5 day classic Olympics backpacking trip. We’ll start low, winding our way beneath the moss-covered old-growth giants of the Hoh Rainforest, and spend our first night camped along the beautiful Hoh River. The next day we’ll continue deeper into the Olympics, and camp for two nights at beautiful Elk Lake, where elk, black bear, and deer abound. On day three we’ll take daypacks and climb to the base of the Blue Glacier. A steep ladder down an old avalanche chute provides one last obstacle to negotiate before the final payoff Glacier Meadows and the Blue Glacier. We’ll spend plenty of time lounging, photographing, and absorbing the dramatic views of Mount Olympus, the deep crevasses of the Blue Glacier, and the low lying rainforest behind us. When we’ve had our fill we’ll return to camp for a hearty dinner at Elk Lake, and get up the next morning to start our return trek.
Feel free to give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your Olympic National Park backpacking trip today!
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Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the trailhead: 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 feet


This multi-day Olympic National Park hiking trip begins with pick up at your hotel in Olympia, and a scenic drive to the trailhead on the Olympic Peninsula. We’ll take a ferry across the Puget Sound, and make a quick stop for a view of the Straits of Juan de Fuca before continuing into Olympic National Park. We’ll eat lunch at the trailhead, and then start our hike with a leisurely 5 mile trek into our first campground at Five Mile Island. Along the way we’ll pass waterfalls, discuss old-growth rainforest ecology, and witness some of the oldest trees in the world.

After camp is set up we'll relax and enjoy a hearty backcountry dinner and take time to appreciate our extraordinary surroundings.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 1765 feet


Our second day’s hike will take us from low-lying rainforest to breathtaking views of the higher mountains at Elk Lake. We’ll pass the historic Olympus Guard Station, a National Park relic dating from the 1930s. River rapids, high bridges, and turbulent river confluences accompany us along the way, until we make our final ascent up to our camp for the night.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1752 feet
Elevation Loss: 1752 feet


On day three we’ll take daypacks and climb out of the forest and up to the stunning Blue Glacier. We’ll climb up above the glacier itself to look down on it, and see Mount Olympus towering behind it. 1.7 square miles of ice pour off of Mount Olympus, and we’ll discuss the incredible power of glaciers in carving the Olympic Mountain Range. We’ll eat lunch overlooking the glacier, and then return to camp for a relaxing evening and feast of a dinner back at Elk Lake.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 12 miles
Elevation Loss: 1780 feet


On day four we’ll retrace our steps most of the way out. With an initial descent and a lot of level ground, we’ll make good time and camp at Mount Tom’s Creek Campground, just three miles short of the trailhead. Although we’ll be covering ground we’ve already seen, we'll be seeing it all from the opposite vantage point (hiking downhill vs. uphill) and there is truly no shortage of new wonders to notice.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 3 miles
Elevation Loss: 150 feet
Shuttle to Olympia: 3 hours


On our last day we’ll sleep in and enjoy one last hearty breakfast. Eventually we'll break camp and hike the last little bit out to the trailhead, say goodbye to the rainforest, and enjoy a relaxing shuttle back to Olympia. We’ll stop again at a beautiful spot on the coast for one last lunch together, and then deliver you back to your lodging in Olympia for some much-deserved showers.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Olympic National Park hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Olympia and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Olympia, Washington. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation, which will be at 5:00 PM at the Hotel RL Olympia (we recommend staying here as well - mention you're hiking with us and get a discounted rate as low as $99, 360-943-4000). If you're staying at the Governor Hotel (our other recommended hotel, 20% discount), we're happy to pick you up for the orientation. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Olympic backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park covers a dramatic diversity of terrain from seashores to rainforests to alpine peaks and glaciers. The weather will be largely dependent on which trip you sign up for and which ecosystem you will be hiking in. Read below for average high and low temperatures in different parts of Olympic National Park:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
         
 
Month
Coast
Mountains
 
 
hi
low
Precip
hi
low
Precip
 
 
June
66°
47°
3.8 in
53°
36°
3.9 in
 
 
July
70°
50°
2.8 in
62°
42°
2.1 in
 
 
August
72°
50°
2.8 in
63°
43°
2.2 in
 
 
September
69°
47°
4.4 in
57°
39°
4.7 in
 
 
October
42°
59°
11 in
47°
32°
8.5 in