ELWHA DESTINATIONS - APPLETON PASS TRAIL...7.1 MILES
DIRECTIONS TO : BOULDER CREEK TRAILHEAD - MILEPOST 239
NEAREST CAMPGROUND: Altaire/Elwha (5 miles from trail head)
RANGER STATION : Toilets (Ranger station, permit registration, pay phone and water located 6 miles from trail head along Olympic Hot Springs Road). Stock Facilities: No turn around space for truck and trailer.
Begin this hike on the Elwha River Road along Boulder Creek. At roads end leave your car and begin hiking westward along the closed road. The road continues for almost 2.5 miles to a parking area. Walk west from the parking area on the northern side of Boulder Creek. Pass the spur trail for Olympic Hot Springs and Boulder Creek Campground and continue westward.
Less than a mile from the campground the trail forks. The left side of the fork leads to Appleton Pass.
This is a strenuous day hike. The hike from the trailhead, through the Boulder Creek camping area and across the South Fork of Boulder Creek is relatively easy walking. Just beyond the creek crossing, the trail becomes steep and quite rocky in its climb up the valley. The Upper and Lower Waterfalls offer beautiful views. Eventually the hiker will cross a meadow, often offering a splendid view of wildflowers and a water fall.
The approach to Appleton Pass (5000 ft.) is steep and requires an ice axe to safely negotiate steep snowfields during early summer months. For awesome views of the Sol Duc area and Mt. Olympus walk east from the pass approximately 1/2 mile.
The Sol Duc Trail continues climbing to intersect the Appleton Pass trail at five miles (3,100 feet) and eventually reaches the High Divide at 8 1/2 miles, elevation 5,050 feet.
Some 14 miles inland, Appleton Pass, passes nearby Heart Lake, and begins your climb toward Bogachiel Peak (elevation 5,474 ft.), which presents some of the most breathtaking views in the park.
Sol Duc Falls have their source in Appleton Pass.