7.8 miles, 2075ftgain/4600ft loss.
A peaceful night, not counting the snoring, and another gorgeous morning. Hard to believe, considering the conditions when we left Friday morning. Packing up, we make our way towards the stair stepped section, and we’re stopped by a guy camping on one of the sites here by Round Lake. He tells us he’s been watching a bear on the hillside, but when we’re there we can’t see him. Thanking him anyway, we make our way uphill, and in 20 minutes, we’re standing on top of the ridge. Those stair steps make getting up so much easier…
The trail stays along the ridge for about 1.5 miles, and then begins its descent down to Deer Lake, the trees begin to encroach again upon the open meadows and by the time we reach the shores of Deer Lake, we’re once again surrounded by large firs, and cedars. Deer Lake is a large lake, marshy along its banks here by the trail, and completely surrounded by trees. It’s pretty, but not nearly as scenic as Lunch Lake. There are many campsites here and I’m sure there are fish in the lake, but there’s a lot of the lakeshore that would be difficult to fish, given its marshy banks. From Deer Lake down the trail becomes rockier and rough, many times looking as if it’s a dried up creek bed instead of a trail. A far cry from the manicured trail we’ve been following for the last couple days. It’s a pretty steady descent down through Canyon Creek, then to Sol Duc Falls. The warm sunny day has brought out people in droves, and the bridge crossing here at the falls is very busy.
A great hike, good weather, lots to see and do, and an area that we could see coming back to again, for further exploration and fishing…It’s no wonder, this hike is reservation only, and so popular. A great representation of the best the high country of the Olympics has to offer.