Enchanted Valley, Olympic National Park
2 weeks ago, I attempted a backpacking trip on the Sol Duc River and got rained out. This week, I planned another attempt in the Olympics and chose the Quinault River to Enchanted Valley. With a name like Enchanted Valley, I’d hoped for some magical scenery. It did not disappoint!
I camped out the night before at Graves Creek Campground, in the rain. I started hiking around 9am, in the rain. I got to camp around 2pm, in the rain. I sat around camp for a few hours in the rain. I hiked out the following day, in the rain. The only time it didn’t rain was at night and on the hike up to Enchanted Valley!
Round trip was about 27 miles, which is a lot considering this was my first backpacking trip of the season. I was feeling good so I kept going. I guess all the walking around Seattle has been paying off since I’m still not sore. At 2.5 miles I came to Pony Bridge, a spectacularly beautiful river crossing. There is a small waterfall along the river which begs to be photographed at long exposures. I could easily spend an hour there photographing this scene.
I camped at Pyrites Camp, at about 9.5 miles in. It’s a fairly easy hike for the duration of the trail with only slight ups and downs. There was plenty of mud though so the going was a little slow. The camp is along the river in the middle of an amazingly green flat area. Bears and elk frequent the area and did see a bear close to my camp on the way back!
So Enchanted Valley is an amazing place. Waterfalls come off a mountain 5000 vertical feet above the valley and it is nicknamed “valley of 10,000 waterfalls” for a reason. Everywhere you look there are waterfalls. There are clouds obscuring the peaks most of the time since this is in the windward side of the Olympics and probably receives 150 inches of rain per year!
Also in Enchanted Valley, there are bears. Lots of bears. Bears everywhere! I saw 7 throughout my hike and the ones in the valley seem not to even care you are there. They just wander around eating and being lazy:) The most amazing thing I saw was a bull elk standing next to 2 bears grazing. I didn’t even notice him at first as I was focused on the bears!
I LOVED this hike and could write about it for hours! I can’t wait to go back! Go there!!! EE