Continue towards WA-16W, and as you cross under I-5, lane merges into one lane, which then fairly quickly merges onto WA-16W, to your left! Follow WA-16W for about 27.3 miles.
At the town of Gorst, continue on WA-3 towards Bremerton for another 25 miles.
Turn left at WA-104, cross the bridge, and continue on WA-104 for 15 miles.
Take the ramp to US-101, keeping right at the fork and continue to follow US-101 for another 31.9 miles
Turn left at Deer Park Road, (after traveling into Port Angeles to stop at the Ranger Station!), follow this for 15.8 miles, the last 7.6 miles are gravel, and the road is pretty narrow in places.
Take the slight left at Olympic Natl. Forest road, go almost a 1/4 mile into the Deer Park parking area, and trailhead.
Once parked, and geared up, follow the trail to 3 Forks camp, appx. 4.3 miles down hill to the junction. Take the right spur over the creek up Cameron Creek valley, another 7 miles to the cut off that leads up and over Grand Pass. from here, its about 4.4 miles up and over Grand Pass, through Grand valley, past Moose Lake, to the junction at Grand Lake. From here, we chose the trail to the right, leading up through Badger Valley, another 4.6 miles to Obstruction Peak. From here, followed the trail along ridgeline past Elk Mt., Maiden Peak, and Green Mt., back to Deer Park, at about 7.4 miles.
Maps: We used the National Geographic “Trails Illustrated” map of Olympic National Park, readily available at most outdoors stores. Also highly recommend getting a Green Trails map of the area, as the detail will be greater, than this map. Another good resource is the Olympic National Park Backcountry map, showing wilderness campsites and trail locations, a great resource for planning your stay.
Permits: Reservations are required for Moose Lake, and Grand Lake camps, and they are limited, so be sure to plan in advance of your stay! Call the Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center for info at 360-565-3100. Permits will be required to be picked up in person, so be sure to stop first at the W.I.C. in Port Angeles first. (Click on the W.I.C. link for directions). I’m providing another link here for the backcountry permit, that will have to be filled out. The link for the permit is near the bottom of the page.
What I did for my summer vacation…Ok, at least a part of it!!! Greg and I took off on a 3 day hike in the Olympic Mountains this weekend, starting at Deer Park, and making a loop, appx. 27 to 30 miles in length.
The Deer Park Trail Head is Just East of Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park boundary, and can be reached by driving the length of the Deer Park Road. We started clockwise, and hiked down to the Three Forks camp, then headed up the Cameron Creek basin, up and over Grand Pass, through Grand Valley, Badger Valley, then along the ridgeline from Obstruction Peak back to Deer Park.
These are just a sampling of some of the pictures that we took. The first day took us through old growth forest for the most part, and the trail for a long section, meandered next to this pretty mountain stream, called Cameron Creek. This was taken right next to our campsite, a real backcountry wilderness site, just a wide spot on flat ground next to the creek.
We stored our food in bear bags hung from a high tree. The following morning, we continue along Cameron Creek, and, after climbing over 4,000ft out of Cameron Creek Valley, we crest out over Grand Pass. Thought I was gonna die, it wasn’t so much a trail, as a mountain goat scramble right up the side!!! Steepest “trail” I’ve been on to date…I vaguely remember muttering something to Greg about finding the guy whose bright idea it was to go straight up and over
, and calmly easing my hands around his throat…Yeah, just vaguely remember something like that…
Looking at the picture, you will see a pyramid shaped rock to far right, poking up into the sky…Where the ridgeline dips down, and touches the left shoulder of the aforementioned rock, is appx. where the pass is.
Once we finally made the top, we had commanding views in all directions, and we made the top our lunch break, enjoying the long ranging vistas spread out before us. After filling our water bottles from the snow fed tarn at the bottom of the pass, we made our way down through Grand Valley, towards Moose Lake, a very pretty alpine lake, nestled in the Valley.
There were campsites here, but, we couldn’t get one, had to go to the next lake further on, Grand Lake. Both of these lakes had lots of trout in them, and we saw several anglers giving it their best shot at Grand Lake. As we were hot, tired, sweaty, and dusty, we took a plunge in the very cool waters before the sun went down, surely impressing the people trying to pull dinner from the lake.
It was at our site here, that a young buck strolled right through our camp. as if he had known us for years! If we had the desire, we could have reached out and petted him as he nonchalantly walked by.
It was good to get clean, and rest our tired feet here. The following morning, we head up through Badger valley, the meadows filled with wildflowers. Then, at the end of the valley, we make the steep, switched back grade up to Obstruction Peak.
I’ve included a picture here, just so you can appreciate the trail making its way up loose shale. After reaching the top, though, the views did not disappoint. From here, you could see Mt. Olympus covered in Glaciers, with the rest of the Olympic Mountain Range, as well as Grand valley, and the lakes that we had just camped by.
Travelling further down the ridgeline, if you looked West, you could see the Pacific, and a few of the towns on the shoreline. Either way you looked, you could see for miles and miles.
All in all, it was a good trip, got to see a lot of neat backcountry. We gained over 7,000ft in elevation on the last two days, so it was pretty steep in a lot of places, and the horse flies were merciless!!! Some of them were bigger than bumblebees, and it was not uncommon for 6 or 8 of the horrible buggers to be buzzing about your head as you struggled down the trail, sometimes following you for what seemed like an hour, the same ones!!!
There were times that I felt I was going to snap, start screaming incoherently, and run thrashing through the woods, flailing my arms wildly about my head, screaming, “No mas!!! No mas!!!” The only thing that kept me from doing this, was the simple fact that I was just too tired…
If you’ve ever been bitten by a large horse fly, you’ll know what I mean…The deer flies and mosquitoes weren’t much better, at times it seemed that I had so many of them on my legs at once, that my skin felt it was crawling…Other than
that, the weather was just about perfect, not too hot, I don’t think it ever got above 80 the whole time…
Still, even today, if a house fly, or other insignificant insect decides to buzz me, I react rather violently, swatting at it with a little too much vigor…Kind of a “Post Traumatic Stress” from Horseflies!!!