Everything about the Enchanted Valley is amazing. This was my first ever backpacking trip. I did it with my Dad when I was 8 years old and it has been a favorite ever since then.
The valley has a Chalet that was originally built by the Olympic Recreation Company in 1931 and has amazingly survived all this time. In recent years the Quinault River has shifted threatening the Chalet. In 2014 the Chalet was placed on steel rails and pulled 100 using mules and a helicopter.
The Valley is home to a herd of Elk as well as deer, bears and other wildlife. There are spectacular views of snowy mountains and you can hear the rumbling of avalanches.
From the Valley, you can continue on to Andersen Pass.
It's impossible to say too many good things about the Enchanted Valley trail. Amazingly beautiful river, massive old growth, elk, bears, an abundance of huckleberries and blueberries, waterfalls… I could go on and on. This was my second time hiking the trail but my first time camping in the Enchanted Valley itself.
The campground is pretty spread out. There doesn't seem to be any "official" spots, but a lot of nice places to set up camp with fire rings already constructed. We probably saw at least 20 spots like this, and there's also plenty of camping on the gravel bar if the sites fill up.
There are 2 privies (bring your own TP!). Bear cans are required.
Took a 3 day backpacking trip alomg the quinalt river. Stayed the first night at oniel campground located about 7.5 miles in. 2nd day our group day hiked the remaining 6miles we had planned in our trip to reach the enchanted valley cabin and then proceded back to camp. There we plenty of campsites along the river most of the the trip and a few campgroudns with multiple sites and even a privy. Oniel had 3 fire pits along with wire to tie up any food (it is bear country out there) and a bathroom. Overall the site was great and not many people were there. No snow was present at the campground, it was intermittent on the trail however.
This was my first backpacking adventure and I absolutely loved it. We took the trail past Enchanted Valley and up to Marmot Lake, up to Lake Lacrosse, hopped over Ranger Pass (extremely difficult), and back down into the valley. If you have some legs underneath you, I highly recommend making it to Marmot Lake and Lake Lacrosse. The views are absolutely spectacular up there.
The hike from Enchanted Valley Chalet to Marmot lake is about 12 miles. We decided that we would hike to the end of the Valley the night before to cut some of the miles down. From our campsite at the mouth of the mountain to Marmot lake was 9 miles. It was a tough hike but very manageable.
Camping on top of Marmot lake was the best part of the trip. Climb up on top of the rock to the right of the trail for some very amazing campsites. Ours looked out over a huge valley with mountains all around us and the lake to our back.
Instead of going out the way we came in, we decided to take a loop up to Lake Lacrosse and over Ranger pass. This cut our trip out by 5 miles but proved to be much more difficult. Lake Lacrosse basin has some of the best views on the hike. We saw a heard of Elk up there and three bears. There are some fun side trails up there that we decided to pass on.
Ranger Pass (found on the REI hiking map app), was a very difficult climb for two beginners. We ended up losing the trail and using GPS to guide us over the mountain. On the backside of the mountain there was a rock slide on a VERY steep slope. It took us 4 hours to get down .2 miles. Coupled with some intense fog, it was a pretty stressful hike back down. The end of this hike took us through a creek bed that intersected with the trail that took us up the mountain. It was tough hiking that day for sure.
Hiking to just Enchanted Valley is an easy hike though. There are three main campgrounds on the way into the valley, Pony Bridge (3miles), O'Neil Creek (8miles), and Pyrites Creek (~9.2miles). We stayed at O'neil creek on the way out and back in. However, if I were to go back I would take the extra mile hike into Pyrites Creek. Pony bridge is cool, but crowded, and is only 3 miles in.
The trees are MASSIVE on this hike. Everything is old growth rain forest that makes the hike truly enchanted.
Overall, the trip was amazing and I will definitely make it back to the Olympics in the future :)
Located 15 miles from Graves Creek Campground on a backcountry trail, this is a campsite that any true backpacker must experience. Located in a valley below mountains, cliff walls, and forests, you are treated to panoramic 360 views of mountains, waterfalls, and absolutely amazing scenery. Bear canisters are a must here as it is in prime bear country, even though we didn't see any. The campground is a little tricky as there aren't any designated camp spots, you just choose somewhere and you set up camp. All in all, this is one of the most amazing camp spots I have ever experienced.
You get rewarded after the 20 mile hike into this valley with breathtaking views that reminded me of my times in Alaska. Don't plan on going on a 3 day weekends you'll find out the rest of Seattle had the same trip in mind. You have your pick of the meadow to set up camp.