7 JAW-DROPPING BACKPACKING TRIPS IN OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

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Olympic National Park is constantly one of America’s most-visited National Parks, yet few take the time to explore more than a mile or so off trail. With 611 miles of trails in the park, and nearly one million acres of wilderness to explore, backpacking in Olympic National Park gets you up close and personal to one of the worlds last remaining wild areas. From rugged, glaciated peaks, to isolated set-stacks on rugged coastlines, the only American rainforests, high alpine lakes and amazing waterfalls, the trails in the backcountry of Olympic lead to some of the best destinations in the world.

This year, take a trip to forgotten northwest corner of America and fall in love with the true wilderness of Olympic National Park. Whether you decide to hike to old chalets, shrinking glaciers, ancient petroglyphs, alpine lakes surrounded by mountains goats, or just looking to wander a remote section of beach to watch the most beautiful sunsets in America, Olympic’s backpacking trails are waiting for you. make sure you get your backcountry permit before backpacking in Olympic and all National Parks. While reservations aren’t needed for many of these trips, you still need to register with the park for your life-changing backpacking adventure.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet and the Quinault River.

ENCHANTED VALLEY AND ANDERSON GLACIER

Distance: 37 miles out and back

Backcountry Campsite Reservations: Not Needed

Backcountry Camping Areas: 5

Recommended Days: 5-7

The trek out to the Enchanted Valley is quite possibly the most iconic backpacking destination in Olympic National Park. Considered a rite-of-passage to experience the Olympics, this route out of the Quinault Rainforest gets you to impressive wilderness of all styles. Hiking through the rainforest, the trail takes you over bridges, before arriving in the Enchanted Valley. Also referred to as the “Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls,” the area has incredible views of mountains, black bear, the Quinault River and an old chalet that was built in the 1930s. The Chalet was rescued from a certain end in 2014, when it was moved 100 feet away from the Quinault River, which it was nearly falling into. From Enchanted Valley, head up into the mountains and experience Anderson Glacier, one of the 311 glaciers in the Olympic Mountains. Anderson Glacier is quickly melting away, so you better get to it soon, before it vanishes forever. 

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