Ranking: 1/5 In a word…Disappointing. Either that, or I had much higher expectations than warranted…The effort to get here was not offset by things to see, and I would have a hard time recommending this hike to anyone. It’s good points, are that it is a pretty alpine lake, and at the lower lake, you can have a campfire, if there are no fire restrictions. On busy weekends, during the summer, though, I can see how the lower lake might get crowded and noisy…There is also the possibility of off trail scrambling once you get to the upper lake, but as a hike to just see the lake basin? Nope…Not worth it…
Difficulty: 6/10 Getting to the trail head wasn’t an issue, but once getting here hoping to claim a spot at the upper lake, without the fore knowledge of the reservation procedure? Big issue. The trail to the upper lake is poorly maintained, steep, and rough in places, but the trail to Lower Lena is easy to follow and good.
Getting there: Take I-5 S towards Portland, and take the 104 exit for US-101N, and go 6.1 miles, then take a slight right to stay on US-101N for Shelton/Port Angeles, and go 42.8 miles. Turn left onto N. Hamma Hamma Rd/ NF-25, and follow it for 7.7 miles to the trailhead, just before the Lena Creek CG.
Maps: Green Trails Maps #168, The Brothers.
Permits: If you plan on staying at upper Lena Lake, be SURE to reserve ahead. Otherwise, self register at trailhead for Lower Lena Lake. See notes below on how to reserve. NEW!! as of 2013, looks like the Natl. Park has updated their reservation info, so it is now MUCH clearer on what is/isn’t a reservable site!!! Thank goodness…
From May to September, you will need to get a reservation, as this is a quota area in the Olympic National Park, up to 30 days in advance, starting April 1. For more info, go to this PDF file of the Wilderness Map and you will see that Upper Lena Lake is a wilderness camp, permits limited area. Going to the WIC, or Wilderness Information Center site, you can contact the ranger station for reservations, at this Wilderness Permit Site. Here, a list of sites show which need a reservation, and Upper Lena is an advance reservation required site now. It’s $5 to register the group, + $2 per person per night, 16 and older.THANK YOU NPS for making this so much clearer than it used to be!!!
Looks like another great weekend to escape the drudgery of work, as the weather report looks promising for sunshine! Dan and I leave on Friday for the Olympics, for an overnight trip to Upper Lena Lake, and our first night we look for a spot at a nearby campground, Lena Creek. Getting there earlier than the other weekend warriors proves beneficial, for we find a good spot in the small, first come, first served campground.
After camp is set up, we head for nearby Hoodsport for dinner, and campsite necessities, like beverages and firewood.
“…I’m amazed that people would still try at that hour…”
Back at camp, we settle into our easy chairs, (no campsite is complete, of course, without loungers!), and watch the now familiar rite of cars circling the loop looking for a spot in the now booked campground, their headlights sweeping the trees, casting long shadows that sweep back and forth through the flickering light. This parade continues past 10 o’clock, and I’m amazed that people would still try at that hour. After the last remnants of our campfire turns from flame to glowing embers, we turn in for the night. Again, another night’s sleep without snoring! Could it be that the surgery to my jaw has corrected the source of fleeting sleep for my bunkmates???