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Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

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Houston, Texas
posts: 19
Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Still trying to figure out options to get to either Sol Duc or Hoh. So here goes the question for the area experts: since both roads leading to those areas are closed miles before trailheads, I had and idea if it would be possible to rent bikes to ride to the trailheads, then hide them somewhere and get on a trail. From Sol Duc to access the Seven Lakes Basin and High Divide, and from Hoh to the Blue Glacier. I realize it's an unconventional solution but please bear with me, think about it, is it doable? Can we rent bikes somewhere? Both itineraries would be multi-day hikes obviously but we are strong experienced hikers. Judging from latest weather reports there will be a lot of snow on some of the chosen trails, that's ok but do you think we'd need crampons, ice axes? Unlikely but doesn't hurt to ask. Also, not that I don't like wildlife but with no people inside the park I'm pretty sure it's got more active. I have a bit of a concern about possible encounters. Thanks a lot, appreciate the input!

21 replies to this topic
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 6,037
reviews: 5
1. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Don't do it. The hike to the Blue Glacier is dangerous. Yes, it requires technical equipment, not only because of the snow but because of crevasses. Even under ideal circumstances in the summer this hike should only be attempted by experienced alpine hikers with the right equipment and the right planning. Don't try it. You could die.

Seven Lakes Basin may be under snow right now. This is one trail with two personalities: Dr. Jekyll, the summer personality, and Mr. Hyde, the winter personality. We are now in the Mr. Hyde season. Hikers get lost in the snow on this trail. I have seen the search planes.

It is sad and disappointing that the shutdown has prevented you from seeing the beautiful Hoh River Trail and the safe trails above Deer Lake like The Potholes, but even if the shutdown had not happened, I would not recommend either the Blue Glacier or 7 Lakes Basin right now. The former, in particular, really should only be down with a guide. Prepare for mud, take a rope, and do the Bogachiel Hike, or drive to the Quinault RF and try some of the trails there.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
2. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Too bad about your timing. No need for axes or crampons, and no worries about wildlife. My question is do you really want to try and ride a bike with a full backpack 12 miles and then do a serious hike. I know I wouldn't . Blue Glacier does require equipment, sorry I missed that. Also makes me nervous that you have not done your homework for that hike.

Edited: 3:02 pm, October 05, 2013
Houston, Texas
posts: 19
3. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Thanks for your responses. I probably asked my questions in a way that they can be misinterpreted, I was in a hurry to get answers to my idea on the use of bikes)). I was not planning to get ON the glacier itself, some years back I witnessed an attempt to get the body of a hiker out of one of the crevasses in Torres Del Paine...so yes, it's usually a bad idea to walk a glacier without a team and proper equip. And don't worry guys, we weren't planning to climb mt.Olympus either, heh)). The plan was to merely get close to the Blue Glacier, see it, nothing out of the ordinary. If that too requires special skills and gear, then sure, forget it, although I don't recall any warnings of that kind while getting to Glacier Meadows and on further to the glacier moraine when I was researching the trail. And yeah, ok, I got it about 7 lakes basin, I dropped it already cause of all the snow. The reason I ask all these questions is because we are not interested in simple easy dayhikes, we need and want more challenge. I know you guys mean well and I know Quinault is beautiful but sorry, it just doesn't have what we're looking for, a multy-day challenging trek to some destination of interest that is not easy to get to and therefore receives far less visitors (could be the Blue Glacier in the off-season). Do make me happy if I'm wrong about Quinault)). And why 12 miles? I thought one of you said earlier in some other thread that they closed the Upper Hoh road 5 miles before the Visitor Center. I thought to talk to Peak 6 store people to see if we could leave our car with them and someone there could give us a ride to the closed gate. Not for free obviously. We'll call them up once there I guess. If not, we'll try our luck with the fishing outfitters to get us to trails by boat. Regardless, thank you very much for your response and advice!

Houston, Texas
posts: 19
4. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

I will look at the Bogachiel trail, perhaps I missed something

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 6,037
reviews: 5
5. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Have you considered the Enchanted Valley Trail at the Quinault Rain Forest?

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
6. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Ok now that we are clear you do not need ice equip. to get TO the glacier. The owners of Peak 6 are friends of mine. I know for a fact that they do not want overnight parking If you are talking about the Hoh, you can not get up the river by boat. It is too shallow. I do not no where they close off the Bogachiel Road.

Houston, Texas
posts: 19
7. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Alright then, no Hoh for us this time it seems...Oh well, I really tried)). Enchanted Valley is fine and we probably end up doing it, it's just I read that there are so many bears in the valley! That is not very desirable. I admit it I'm scared of bears.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 6,037
reviews: 5
8. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Don't worry too much about the bears. They are black bears, not grizzlies. Grizzlies are truly terrifying. Black bears are much less threatening. Any wild animal can be unpredictable, of course, but we have not had a bear incident in the park in years. The proper behavior is to secure all food using bear wires, keep a clean camp, and talk or sing on the trail. You should have no problems. I'm surprised bears frightened you off the Enchanted Valley but not the River Trail or the High Divide. Both of those trails have bears, too.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
9. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Consider yourself lucky if you see a bear. I have been hiking the Quinault for almost 40 years including the Enchanted Valley. Seen many bears, never never had a problem even when I surprised a couple of cubs last Spring. True just keep your camp clean and food away from your tent. Problem is I am afraid you are going to have a long walk on the road to get to Graves Creek and the trailhead. This is why I never suggested the Enchanted Valley. I admire your persistence and I hope I am wrong. Stop at the Lodge. See if you can find one of the guides who give tours. Some are retired Rangers and will know how far you can get up the South Shore Road. There used to be a gate.

Houston, Texas
posts: 19
10. Re: Getting to either Sol Duc or Hoh river trail

Hah, I know, one can run into those black things anywhere, only saw one black bear once, it was in British Columbia. God forbid to see a grizzly! I haven't seen any bears (only their droppings) our last visit to the ONP. It's ok, I'm preparing for that. An idea came to my head (one of many crazy ones I come up with, like the bikes idea, hehe) and I ran to Sports Authority and got me a boat horn, tried that sucker at home and scared the bejesus out of our dog, not to mention everyone going deaf for few seconds)). That I think should do the trick if anything. I understand we are to take S Shore road to the trailhead? Can we even drive to the trailhead since it's already in ONP? Will there be any place to leave a car?

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