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Enchanted Valley Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking up the Quinalt towards the chalet and the Enchanted Valley (Jerry Adams)
The bear. Standing up on tree to look bigger and scare me. (It did - I slowly backed away). (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Graves Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • Distance: 12.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2100 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

The reason to go to the Enchanted Valley is to see bears. At least in the spring. There are more reliable reports of bears here than just about anywhere else. It's a fairly low elevation meadow so there must be early season food available.

The Enchanted Valley is a fairly low elevation meadow area along the Quinalt River. The historic chalet is in the middle of the meadow. Nice views of ridges above. There are places to camp, out house, and bear wires.

The trail up to the valley is a pretty good trail. It's in Olympic National Park so it's maintained a little better than some other places. The trail crosses the Quinalt River twice on nice bridges. The river is pretty big and would be difficult to cross without a bridge. There are a number of bridges over side streams. There are some side streams without bridges that are a little difficult to cross. The trail is muddy at places, so if there's a lot of rain, it's best to wait a few days for it to drain away.

Because of the bears, low elevation, and nice views, this is a pretty popular hike. Don't expect solitude.

Below Enchanted Valley, fires are allowed, and firewood is somewhat plentiful. Fires may be allowed in Enchanted Valley, but it just doesn't seem appropriate because there aren't that many trees and too many people.

I measure the trail with GPS at 12.5 miles. The park service says it's 13.5.

There are designated camps with bear wires at 3.5 miles, 6.5 miles, and 9 miles from the trailhead. April, 2015, people had fed a bear which had started to bother people so they closed Enchanted Valley to camping, but the other camps were still open. Since there are so many bears here, it's important to be careful to use the bear wire.

You can continue past Enchanted Valley. Anderson Pass is another 5 miles. I think it gets pretty alpiney and scenic up there, but I didn't have that much time to explore when I was up there.

Then it goes back down, to the Dosewallips River. Its a total of 34.3 miles to the Dosewallips Trailhead according to the sign. See Dosewallips River Hike.

You could also do a loop by going Southeast from Anderson Pass, and then circling back around to Graves Creek trail. It's about a 55 mile loop.

Detailed Description

The trail is pretty obvious. There's a junction right at the beginning for the trail going up Graves Creek, which is supposed to be fairly primitive.

There are developed campsites with bear wires at Pony Bridge (3 miles), O'Neil Creek (6.5 miles), Pyrite Creek (9 miles), and Enchanted Valley (12.5 miles). Outhouses at O'Neil and Enchanted Valley. At Pyrite, there are camping spots before and after the creek. All of these are fairly spread out so a number of parties could camp without bothering each other. There are not designated sites, you just have to find a good spot.

For O'Neil, there's a side trail about 0.2 miles down to the campsites. There's supposed to be a trail going up the other side (South) of the Quinalt, but I didn't see it when I looked around. I think you'd want to go all the way through the campground and then look around for a trail. It says "O'Neil Route" not "Trail" on my map, so it's probably primitive.

There are many other undeveloped sites, but no bear wire. You need to have a canister, or be good at hanging food in bear-proof manner.

The last 0.1 mile before the chalet, the trail was washed out, so sort of hard to find where to go, but it was meadowy so not too bad.

Where I found the bear was, go to the Chalet. Then, follow the trail further up river about 0.1 mile into some trees. It was a little difficult finding just where "the trail" was. Then, I walked around a corner and the bear was about 100 feet away. It put it's front paws up on a tree and started huffing at me, so I backed away. If you don't see bear there, keep walking around in that vicinity.

Maps

Enchanted Valley Map (Jerry Adams)

Wilderness map available at visitor centers

Fees, Regulations, etc.

There is a $25 National Park fee per car. This covers entry into the park and is good as long as you stay, plus it's good for re-entry for 7 days. There are a number of other cards you can use such as an annual permit or the lifetime Senior Access Card.

If you're backpacking, there is also a $5 per group fee plus $2 per person per day.

You can get these at the Quinalt Ranger Station 2 miles from highway 101 on South Shore road.

Dogs are not allowed here, sorry.

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

More Links

More Information

Port Angeles Visitor Center (360) 565-3100

Forks Visitor Center (360) 374-7566

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.