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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Royal Basin

One of the more beautiful hikes in the Olympics, especially for visiting high alpine lakes.

By the Numbers

Sport
Hiking
Shape
Out-and-Back
Profile
Pyramid
Steep climbing to, and steep descent from, Royal Lake, a little more modest to Royal Basin
Distance
17 miles
Elevation
4000
Time
4h30m
Nutrition
Stream crossings every five minutes, water is plentiful
External
Strava | Komoot | WTA

I hadn’t been to Royal Lake since a backpacking trip in July 2011. At the time we were unable to make it to the upper basin because of a late melting snow pack. I was excited to explore the upper basin on this trip as over the last few years I had become pretty familiar with the region from prior rides and hikes.

Neatly manicured mossy trails
Neatly manicured mossy trails

The hike starts from the Upper Dungeness Trail #833.2 trailhead, also the origin of the hike to Marmot Pass. The trail is in great condition and winds its way through the woods for a mile or so before coming to a log bridge over the Dungeness River – cross the bridge for Marmot Pass, continue on the trail to Royal Lake and Royal Basin.

Trail through the meadow
Trail through the meadow
One of the many, many streams to cross
One of the many, many streams to cross
Royal Lake
Royal Lake

After a few miles of hiking the woods gave way to meadows and many, many streams before arriving at Royal Lake. Take a break here, eat some food, take a photo but definitely do continue on to the upper meadows.

Upper meadow
Upper meadow
The trail leading to the glacial blue ponds
The trail leading to the glacial blue ponds
Stunning glacial blue lakes
Stunning glacial blue lakes
Smallest of the basin lakes
Smallest of the basin lakes

The upper meadows and Royal Basin were magical, the colors of the lakes, the blue of the sky, Olympics perfection.

View down into the upper meadow valley
View down into the upper meadow valley
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