Attention tranquil trail traipsers, hilltop hinterland hunters and soulful stargazers. Are you looking for a place to hang your pack for a few autumn nights? Look no further than the Olympic Mountains’ stunning Seven Lakes Basin and High Divide Trail. Despite the name, eight or more lakes dot this gorgeous subalpine basin, teeming with life. On one visit, we spotted 11 black bears sauntering through the basin meadows eating berries and foraging for bugs. On hillsides, mountain goats grazed with their young, and small brook trout in the lakes nipped at mosquitoes during the heat of the day.
Spend the day, or several days parked in this stunning basin, and you may even feel the calmness seeping through your skin. Head up Sol Duc Falls Trail for 0.8 of a mile and part ways at the falls, joining Deer Lake Trail. At 2.9 miles from Sol Duc Falls, arrive at the wooded and appropriately named Deer Lake. After giving your greetings to the does and bucks, leave Deer Lake and head south to the High Divide Trail.
Climb another 3.3 miles in subalpine vegetation and increasingly beautiful views to a junction with the Seven Lakes Basin cutoff. Head north (left) and drop into the basin’s twinkling lakes below you, 8 miles in from the trailhead. Soak in the views and head back the way you came, or make it a loop trip by heading east on the High Divide Trail and connecting with the Sol Duc River Trail at Heart Lake.
At a total of 19 miles, the loop trip will not disappoint! Views of Mount Olympus take your breath away, and the Heart Lake Basin will make you swoon. If you're doing the loop, be sure to take a side trip to Lunch Lake or Bogachiel Peak along the way.
The beauty and tranquility of this place is no secret, and Olympic National Park provides a limited number of permits for overnight campers. Hikers must reserve campsites online through recreation.gov prior to their trip.
Bear canisters are required for this hike and can be rented from the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles. Find more information about reservations here.