Royal Creek

Trail No. 832

MAY 12, 2007  - A solo hike.  Although I planned to hike on the Tubal Cain trail in the Buckhorn Wilderness on this beautiful spring day, I found myself heading up to the Royal Creek Basin instead.  Long on my "wish list" of hikes, I originally planned to save Royal Basin for a weekend backpack.  I knew I would not be able to reach Royal Basin on this hike due to a late start and a missed ferry, but I hiked about 4 miles before turning around.  Spring is just reaching the Buckhorn Wilderness, and I was at least a month too early to see the rhodies in bloom.  It will be very beautiful when they finally bloom, and I hope to time my next hike in this area to see them.  I hiked in solitude all day until my return trip, where I encountered scores of people a mile from the trailhead, laden  with heavy packs for an overnight stay in Royal Basin. 

This trail ascends through old growth forest, traveling alongside the Dungeness River on Trail No. 833 for 1 mile before branching off along Royal Creek.  Never far from rushing water, the trail climbs gently through the woods and enters Olympic National Park.   This is a forest of extremes--giant trees rise above miniature wildflowers, and behemoth rocks dot the the landscape.  The lower reaches of the trail travel through park-like scenery, but the going becomes rougher the farther it goes.   The trail breaks out of the tree cover to cross avalanche slopes and opens up to views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks.  The trail stays beside Royal Creek all the way, I'm told, to Royal Lake. 

Approximately 8 miles roundtrip; elevation gain on this hike 1175'.