Grand Valley Northern Olympic National Parkis a treasure! This gem in the Northern Olympics is a must for anyone who enjoys spending time in the beautiful majestic Olympic Mountains. The trail is accessed through the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. As you enter the parking lot for the Visitor Center turn left on a dirt road which seems like it drops straight off below. The road has a sign for Grand Valley but can be easily missed.

The dirt road to the trailhead has 5 miles of magical views. If the sky is clear then Victoria, B.C. can be seen to the north across the strait of Juan de Fuca. The view to the south looks at snow-capped peaks including Mount Olympus. The trailhead starts just above 6,000 feet! Yeah you guessed it!

You have to, I mean, get to hike DOWN into Grand valley. The drop is about 1,400 feet. 6,450 foot tall Obstruction Peak is directly to the north of the trailhead reminding you how high you are already without hitting the trail yet. The mountain vistas are killer. Its only 3.5 miles into the valley therefore i would plan your trip to start early evening to watch the sunset as you hike!

The trails starts by gaining 250 feet in elevation but it’s not long before you start your descent. The first two miles the trail follows a ridge with Lilian Valley on your right and Badger Valley on your left. The descent starts as the trail becomes rocky as the trail is well constructed of flat boulders as steps. The ridge hike ends and your decent increases down a scree field. Once the field ends switchbacks start as tree level becomes more prominent. A couple creeks will be underfoot and at this point your about one mile away.

The trail comes to a “Y”. Take a left to head to Grand Lake or continue to the right to check out Moose and Gladys lakes. Only .2 miles longer to Grand Lake.  Grand Lake is the widest and largest of  the  three lakes. Grand Lake holds brook trout which were not as numerous as the trout in Moose Lake but were quite a bit larger, 8 to 12 inches long! Seven campsites are available at Grand Lake.

Moose lake is another 1/2 mile up the trail. Moose is the second largest and the longest of the lakes. The lake also holds brook trout  which were all pan size but numerous. My friend and I caught 32 fish total over 5 hours! They were all 5 to 8 inches long but fought well. We also released all 32 fish unharmed.

Moose Lake has 8 campsites with one being a group site. The ranger station is situated near the first campsite. The mountains are slightly closer with better views at Moose compared to Grand. The lake is also more open and less forested compared to Grand Lake making it the best option in my opinion for spending the night.

Lake Gladys is the last lake off the trail and the smallest. This lake boasts of solitude at 5,400 feet up and only 4 campsites. I haven’t fished this lake but i know it is quite shallow. My guess is that it can’t sustain fish year round. The view from the lake is simply amazing as the southside mountains goes straight up from the lake.

Don’t forget to head up to Grand Pass which at 6,400 feet holds remarkable views into the interior of the Olympics along with Mount Olympus. Wildlife was abundant during my trip with two families of deer, a black bear, marmots, frogs and two female Blue Grouse. Both the bear and deer were seen close to camp! All three lakes have bear wire available with only Moose and Grand Lake having toilets.

Once your time is up in the valley head back up to the parking lot via Badger valley. Connecting to this trail makes your trip a loop trail.  Badger valley trail starts from Grand Lake and descends as it follows Grand Creek. A beautiful waterfall is crossed about a mile in. Take a cold dip or just hang out below the waterfall for snack time! Once Badger Creek is crossed you start your ascent up.

The last two miles or so the trail opens up and glowing wild flower filled meadows surround the trail. Marmots can be seen if they don’t see you first. The trail finishes as you stare down 6,450 foot Obstruction Peak directly in front of the trail. You will come across many other hikers and backpackers but it’s still worth a trip…after trip! Don’t forget if your spending the night at one of the three lakes a permit is needed as Grand Valley highly popular for all the reasons i gave above!!

Directions: Access through the city of Port Angeles. Once in Port Angeles turn on Hurricane Ridge Road. Then after 1.2 miles take a sharp left onto Obstruction Point Road. Travel 18 miles then take a sharp left on a dirt road as you enter the Hurricane Ridge Road parking lot. The trailhead is 5.4 miles ahead.

Season: Summer, Fall

Length round trip: Out and back- 7.4 miles round trip  Loop- 8.4 miles round trip

Difficulty: moderate

Variety: Out and back or loop trail

Elevation Drop: 1400 ft

Features: mountain vistas, peak climbing, wildlife viewing, fishing, rock climbing, swimming

Wildlife seen: Brook trout, black bear, white-tail deer, blue grouse, marmots, frog, hawks

Trailhead amenities:  Port-a-potty, parking lot, log book

Water Source:  Rivers and three lakes

Passes/Permits: Northwest Forest Pass is required to park or a $5.00 day pass. Wilderness Permit is needed to camp overnight

Special Information: No fires above 3,500 feet

Usage: Day hikers, backpacking, fishing

Map: Green trails map 134s Hurricane Ridge/Elwa North

Leave a Reply