Forum Index > Trip Reports > ONP - Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier - 8/19/11 to 8/21/11
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jhudson
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jhudson
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 7:13 am 
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I didn't get a chance to put this up here last year (didn't know about the site) but I thought I would post up my write up, just in case someone is thinking of this trip for 2012.

--------------------------------

My father and I hiked this amazing trail together. It was the first backpacking either of us had done since I was little.

We left the Hoh Visitor center around 11:00 A.M. (My advice, try and leave earlier) and walked all the way to Martin Creek (14.7 miles) on the first day.


"Visitor Sign"
"Visitor Sign"
"All Ready To Go"
"All Ready To Go"
"Trailhead Sign"
"Trailhead Sign"

The first 12.4 miles of this trail are pretty flat as you work your way up the Hoh River valley. The scenery is amazing and this trail lives up to it's name as one of the best in the Olympic National Park.

"Mossy Tree"
"Mossy Tree"
"Hoh River"
"Hoh River"
"First Waterfall"
"First Waterfall"
"Happy Four Shelter"
"Happy Four Shelter"
"Huge Fallen Tree"
"Huge Fallen Tree"
"Blue Water Of The Hoh"
"Blue Water Of The Hoh"

At 12.4 miles you start a short climb and cross a bridge 100+ above the Hoh River.

"Hoh River Bridge"
"Hoh River Bridge"
"Hoh River Below"
"Hoh River Below"

From here on out on the trail you will be climbing all the way to the top. The elevation gain from the bridge to Martin Creek is fairly brutal as you go up switchbacks for around 2 miles. Having this climb at the end of your day probably makes it harder than it normally would be, but it felt like the climb would never end to us.

"Martin Creek"
"Martin Creek"

We noticed a lot of people continue on to the camp at Elk Lake, but we really enjoyed the camp at Martin Creek. For one, you can light a fire, and secondly there are less people, in fact we were the only ones staying the night there that night.

"Martin Creek Camp"
"Martin Creek Camp"
"This Camp Is The Last Where Fires Are Allowed"
"This Camp Is The Last Where Fires Are Allowed"

The next morning we woke up and continued the hike up to the Glacier Meadows campground (Around 17 Miles). The trail from Martin Creek to Glacier Meadows was a pretty decent climb, but seemed easier than the climb we did the day before. There are parts where the trail gets pretty narrow, but the views make it all worth it.

"Elk Lake"
"Elk Lake"
"Very Narrow Trail"
"Very Narrow Trail"

About a half mile from the Glacier Meadows camp, a huge landslide makes you climb down a rope and ladder (see pictures). This can seem daunting but if you take it slow, you will make it through this section, it is by far the most technical part of this trail. Most of the snow was melted on the landslide by the time we went through.

"Landslide"
"Landslide"
"Ladder and Rope"
"Ladder and Rope"

We setup camp at Glacier Meadows and then hiked the last 1 mile to the Glacier Meadows. The meadows are not huge but have some amazing mountain flowers and the view is simply stunning. After a short rest, we climbed up the rest of the way to the edge of the Blue Glacier (18.1 Miles). Not all the snow had melted for this last little climb, but we took it slow and made it to the top just fine without the use of any special equipment.

"Glacier Meadows Campsite Sign"
"Glacier Meadows Campsite Sign"
"Glacier Meadows"
"Glacier Meadows"
"Glacier Meadows"
"Glacier Meadows"
"Trail To Blue Glacier"
"Trail To Blue Glacier"

The sky was clear and we got to see Mt. Olympus and the Blue Glacier in all their glory. I can honestly say that this is a view that I will forever treasure. Pictures can not do it words and it made the entire trip worth it.

"Blue Glacier and Mt. Olympus"
"Blue Glacier and Mt. Olympus"


We walked back to the Glacier Meadows campsites and stayed the night.

"Campsite"
"Campsite"

We woke up the next morning by 6 a.m. and walked the full 17.1 miles out.

"Ready To Go"
"Ready To Go"
"White Glacier and Glacier Creek"
"White Glacier and Glacier Creek"
"Mt. Olympus and Snow Dome"
"Mt. Olympus and Snow Dome"

If I could of done it over I would probably of added an extra day so that the hike out could of been shorter. It took us around 8 hours of straight walking to get out and we were back to the car by 2:00 p.m.

"End Of The Trail"
"End Of The Trail"

The motto we came up with for this trail was: "Hard. But Worth It". It truly was, but I can't wait to get back out and explore more of that park.

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Phil
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Phil
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 7:21 am 
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jhudson wrote:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/163212/NWHikers%20-%20Images/2011/08/HohRiverTrail/IMG_0537.jpg[/img]="Blue Water Of The Hoh"

Good stuff!  Thanks for posting
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RichP
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RichP
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 8:29 am 
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Hiking with your pops. It doesn't get any better than that up.gif .
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jhudson
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jhudson
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 8:34 am 
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Haha up.gif Indeed. We went on several trips when I was like 8. Now 22 years later we are heading out again. Since last summer we have geared up more, and are planning lots of little hikes, and ending the summer with a 60 mile through hike of the ONP. Entering on the Dosewallips, over Hayden Pass to the Elwah, and then out the North Fork of the Quinault. I'm giddy for that trip! August can't come quick enough. Lots of miles to log between now and then though. smile.gif
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bobbi
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bobbi
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 9:29 am 
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congratulations!  what an awesome trip with your dad up.gif

you hit the hoh trail during great weather.... the same time when i was on the wonderland trail.

thanks for posting the ladder photos!  no ladders when i was there but the same section was quite intimidating.  so glad i got through it unscaphed tongue.gif

may be time for me to return this summer....last time i was on the summit of mt. olympus was august 2002!  loved it!

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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furthur
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furthur
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 11:12 am 
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Thank you for the useful details.  Someday, I'm going to follow the Hoh and see how close to Olympus I can get. Starting in the rain forest and rising to a glaciated peak is a wondrous prospect!

Be sure to post your August traverse report.

--------------
"You're either on the bus or off the bus."
Kesey
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jhudson
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jhudson
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 11:30 am 
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furthur wrote:
Thank you for the useful details.  Someday, I'm going to follow the Hoh and see how close to Olympus I can get. Starting in the rain forest and rising to a glaciated peak is a wondrous prospect!

Be sure to post your August traverse report.

Futher - You really have to try it. It was spectacular.

Bobbi - I think they added the ladder a few years ago, just having the rope would of made that section, interesting.. very very interesting.   wink.gif

I would LOVE to do the wonderland, our goal is a 60 miler this summer and then train like mad and submit for our permit for the wonderland next year. That is a dream hike. Hopefully we can get our permits. If not, another year in the Olympics is not a bad thing.  cool.gif
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BaNosser
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BaNosser
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PostFri Mar 09, 2012 12:04 pm 
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There are not many better views than that from the moraine of the Blue Glacier.. especially when sharing it with your father or son...

Here it is a bit earlier in the season....
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Cary Driskell
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Cary Driskell
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PostSat Apr 07, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Nice trip post.  I am contemplating doing the same trip with a buddy and my 14 year old son this June.  Is that too early to head up there?  My hike book says any season is fine, but I don't want to deal with too bad of weather with my son along.  We live in Spokane Valley, so it would be a full drive over and a full day back.  I assume we need to plan about 3-4 days starting at the trail head.  Don't know if my boy can do 17 miles in one day, particularly on the way in.  I assume we should expect rain?

Many thanks,

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Cary
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peltoms
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peltoms
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PostSun Apr 08, 2012 3:56 am 
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Nice shot of White Glacier, most people walk right by this viewpoint. agree.gif

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North Cascade Glacier Climate Project: http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/
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SergioNapelo
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SergioNapelo
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PostTue Apr 10, 2012 8:48 am 
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Beautiful trip report! thank you for pictures!
So many people got out on the sunny weekend, so many nice pictures! spring is finally here!
up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains.   From where shall my help come.   My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!" - David, King of Israel 1,000 BC
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jhudson
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jhudson
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PostTue Apr 10, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Quote:
Nice shot of White Glacier, most people walk right by this viewpoint

This is actually one of my favorite shots from all my pictures (over 300!!  eek.gif ), and to get it around 6:30 in the morning made it near perfect lighting.
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jhudson
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jhudson
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PostTue Apr 10, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Cary Driskell wrote:
Nice trip post.  I am contemplating doing the same trip with a buddy and my 14 year old son this June.  Is that too early to head up there?  My hike book says any season is fine, but I don't want to deal with too bad of weather with my son along.  We live in Spokane Valley, so it would be a full drive over and a full day back.  I assume we need to plan about 3-4 days starting at the trail head.  Don't know if my boy can do 17 miles in one day, particularly on the way in.  I assume we should expect rain?

Many thanks,

It probably depends on how fast the snow melts. Last year there was still  snow the last half mile up to the glacier. If we keep getting sunny days the snow will melt pretty quick, but the Olympics have gotten hammered with snow this year, so June may be early still. Going through the washout area with snow would be pretty sketchy, if you do plan on going I would watch the national park website for trail conditions pretty closely.

That is the rainy side of the park, we lucked out and the day after we left the trail they got 4 inches of rain in one day, so it is always a toss up, just watch the weather and hopefully your schedule can be a little flexible.

I would take 4 days if you can spare them. We did do it in 3 but a 17 mile out was brutal. If we could of split that distance, we could of spent a bit more time just enjoying the hike vs. a 8 hour straight death march...   dizzy.gif

On the way in, the first 12.4 miles are pretty flat, and then you climb for the next 5 1/2 miles or so to the very top. Like I said in my writeup most people stay at elk lake which is at 15 miles. This is doable in one day, but I was very tired by the time I got there which made me slower the next two days. A couple of the folks who left right before us stayed at Lewis Meadows (10.1 miles - mostly flat) and then climbed up the next day to stay at Glacier Meadows, this would work as well if you had the 4 days, and may be easier on your son, though you would be doing all your climbing in one day vs breaking up the climb.

Good luck and have fun, this hike is a must.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > ONP - Hoh River Trail to Blue Glacier - 8/19/11 to 8/21/11
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