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Enchanted Valley

Enchanted Valley is a destination for the persistent backpacker who wants to experience a seasonal phenomenon of ephemeral falls that spring forth from the high mountainsides of an unspoiled mountain valley deep within Olympic National Park. It is a one- or two- day backpack trip into Enchanted Valley, also called the “Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls.” An exaggeration, perhaps, but certainly a well-deserved description of this very special place.

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Location

NOTE: This hike is a 13-mile-one-way backpack trip up the East Fork of the Quinault River from the Graves Creek trailhead into the Valley. If you are thinking about traversing the peninsula, most people leave a car at each trailhead. There are also trailhead pick up shuttles that can assist you. The main road on the east side up the Dosewallips River is closed before the entrance to Park. They do not know when the road will reopen. One of B&Bs in the area will do a trailhead drop off for you so you can leave your car at their place. Call Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau for more information about shuttles and parking.

Travel Instructions

From US Highway 101 take the South Shore Road to its end and then follow the signs to Graves Creek Campground, 17 miles up the gravel road. Turn right and park in the gravel parking area.

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Notes

The scores of seasonal falls of the more than one mile long Enchanted Valley are mostly visible in spring and early summer only. Snowmelt and spring rainfall in the high drainages run down steep slopes and cliffs permitting water to cascade at will down to the glacially carved valley floor below, creating a virtual amphitheater of waterfalls. The trail to Enchanted Valley follows the East Fork of the Quinault River for some 13 miles. This is a wonderful trip in itself. Consult Olympic National Park website for current trail and weather conditions, as the river may wash out trail and bridges each year. River fords in swift cold water are possible. This area has a large black bear population and herds of elk are often found. Cars left at this remote trailhead have been subject to vandalism.

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54 Responses to “Enchanted Valley”

  1. Hiker bill says:

    How is it in late September? Are there still waterfalls? Is it still enchanted?

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Hiker Bill!
      There probably won’t be 10,000 waterfalls, but it will still be enchanting! It’s a special place at the end of an inspiring hike. There will probably be a few waterfalls, but we’ve had a very dry spring and summer. It will be worth getting there, waterfalls or no. One of my favorite places. Can you tell?

  2. Mike says:

    Just got back from this hike. Seen lots of wildlife. Lots of bear sign and around pyrites creek there is a bear that hangs around there. Beautiful way to spend a 4 day weekend. For the chalet it’s still standing for now and looks basically the same pictures I’ve seen in the past. Looked like there was still quite a bite of snow if trekking over on either side of Anderson Pass.

  3. jacob says:

    Are firearms allowed on the trail?

  4. […] Valley of 10,000 waterfalls - either drive the loop or make it into an overnight backpack adventure […]

    • waterfalls says:

      While you cannot drive to or through Enchanted Valley, or the Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls as it’s often called, it does make a great overnight backpack destination!

  5. […] probably should have started on an easier route, rather than the grueling 13-mile, one-way hike to Enchanted Valley.  Perhaps, I should have spoke up and informed the crew that I maybe wasn’t cut out for this […]

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Enchanted Valley Hiker,
      Yes, this is usually an overnight trip. And, if you were hiking in January, I imagine that you encountered snow and an unmaintained trail! (Trail crew is usually out later in the season.)It’s an incredible journey, but it’s not usually a day hike. I’ve heard that the full moon in June is the ultimate time. Still lots of runoff, drier trails, less snow, and beginnings of wild flowers. Hope you get to experience it in its magnificance. We went in July last time and it was still “enchanted”.

  6. Jordan McDonald says:

    Can you drive through the park or is this only a hike in and out?
    Thanks!

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Jordan, No roads go through the park. There are roads that go several miles into the interior in places all the way around the peninsula.

    • waterfalls says:

      HI Jordan,
      No, it’s not possible to drive through the park. There are spoke-like entrances into the interior at places all the way around the park. Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rainforest roads are two of the most popular.

  7. Crystal says:

    Can you camp on this trail?

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Crystal!
      There are places along the trail to camp and definitely in the valley! It’s so beautiful. I’d give the back country ranger at Olympic National Park a call to ask about camping and permits in the valley. Have a marvelous trip and please share photos! 360-565-3102

  8. Ilana says:

    I saw your comment about the bears in the region, and particularly the adult male who is not afraid of humans. If we hike between Graves Creek and Enchanted Valley, might we cross paths with that bear? Do you have any recommendations on being careful given the large number of bears in the area?

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Ilana,
      I suggest that you contact the back country ranger at Olympic National Park and ask about the wildlife in the area you plan to hike and camp. They will know details and be able to answer your questions with more up-to-date information than we have. Have a marvelous trip and please share photos! Back Country office 360-565-3102

  9. Dan Criswell says:

    My last visit to the Valley was in1958 I was 13. My Grandfather Thomas and my Uncle Glen built the Chalet as subcontractors for the general contractor. Quite a feat. The building as I remember was in disrepair but have heard since that maintenance has improved. The building was dedicated to Tom and Glen in I believe 1992. My hope is that something is being don to curb the erosion from the river that threatens to destroy this piece of family and American history. At 68 I am still in good shape and am planning a trip to the peninsula in the near future. To hike in and back in one day would take so much away from the pleasure of the environment that we will likely make it a two day trek.

  10. Dam says:

    Anyone have some inside info on this trail being cleared for horses this year????

    • waterfalls says:

      This is all we know at the moment:

      East Fork Quinault River Trail
      Trailhead to Anderson Pass 18.2 miles
      646′ to 4465′
      Continuous snow begins 0.5 mi. below O’Neil Pass junction. Clear of down trees to the 4.5 mile point; 21 down above. Avalanche debris above Pyrites Creek easy to traverse. Be prepared for winter conditions at higher elevations.

      This area has a high population of bears; there is currently a large male in the upper valley that shows no fear of humans. Stay a minimum of 100′ away from park wildlife. Please help keep wildlife wild by properly securing all food, garbage and scented items. Animal-Resistant Food Canisters are recommended.

      Overnight hikers must register at South Shore Lake Quinault Ranger Station.

      You can find the latest info here:
      http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trail-conditions.htm

      Hope you have a great ride.

  11. Zane says:

    Do i need any prior hiking experience to hike this Valley?
    When is it open? How far is it from the lodge?

    • waterfalls says:

      The trail head for this hike is about 6.5 miles from the lodge. The hike into the valley is about 13 miles one way, so it is usually done as a backpack trip. You could treat it like a day hike and wander along the trail for a while to enjoy the woods and turn around when you are ready to go back to the car. We always suggest you carry the 10 essentials when you go hiking, even if it’s a day hike. Backpackers rarely get into too much trouble in the wilderness because they are prepared to stay. Day hikers should be prepared. You could check with the back country ranger at Olympic National Park to find out when the trail is open. We have had a lot of snow this year, as recently as last week. And, because of federal budget cuts, trail maintenance may be delayed. 360-565-3100. Have a memorable, safe hike. Wish I was coming along. It’s one of the highlights of my hiking excursions.

  12. eddie says:

    Hi, I heard there are or is a bed and breakfast near this trail that will shuttle? Can you give me some info on that? Thanks!

  13. Ken Van Ryzin says:

    Thinking of going to Enchanted Valley in early September . I realize this is not peak waterfall season so wanted to know if its still worth the trip? Also I see you say it’s 13 miles do you know what the elevation change is?

  14. Anna says:

    Are horses allowed on the Enchanted Valley trail and is it suitable for horses? We’re looking at doing an Olympic Park ride in August. My grandmother said she did this ride in the “70′s” and it was the most beautifly place ever.

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Anna,
      Yes, stock is allowed into Enchanted Valley. August should be a good time as the snow will be gone and the trail crews will have removed any trees that have fallen over the winter. The trail is usually ready for travel by the end of May, early June. You’ll need the usual back country permit. Have a wonderful time.

      • Joey says:

        I would like to point out just a few things about when considering stock or pack animals. You won’t be able to get them over the pass…so you will have to enter from the East Fork of the Quinault River from the Graves Creek trailhead into the Valley. Horses would have a very hard time traversing the river until you are way up high. There was also a huge avalanche last year when I was there that was almost a mile wide. It added and extra 12 hours to our trip trying to cross over the huge trees that had been snapped like twigs. The park service will never be able to clean that up…it will have to be a natural decay process. If you are thinking about traversing the peninsula, most people leave a car at each trailhead. There are also trailhead pick up shuttles that can assist you. The main road on the east side up the Dosewallips River is closed before the entrance to Park. It will probably never reopen…as I have volunteered for the State Park service in Dosewallips…and the consensus is it would be too much money…especially since the National Park service just got hit with the sequestration pretty hard..

  15. jwjenkins says:

    Is this trail possible to complete this time of year?? I an looking at possibly doing the full 13 mile this weekend??

    • Joey says:

      The USFS has the best maps…and they are CHEAP!!!
      There are I believe 5 total maps. This will be on the Quinalt map. They are huge maps, but I bought them all…laminated them…and cut them into 8.5 x 11 sheets to easily carry in a notebook. You could request the B&B there to pick you up…but in my experience, since you will never know the exact time of your arrival (give yourself a 12 hour swing…seriously!) there has always been someone at the Dosey trailhead willing to take you back to town. It’s about 9 miles from the trailhead washout back to town.

  16. Mark says:

    I wish to purchase one of the USGS Topo maps before I go on this backpacking trip. Can you tell me which map that this is valley is on? Also can you tell me more about this trailhead pick up shuttle?

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Mark,
      Word from Olympic National Park back country ranger says expect snow within the first mile of the trail and about 3-5 feet of snow by the time you would get into the valley. Got snowshoes? Stay safe!

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Mark,
      The USGS Topo maps for Enchanted Valley are Chimney Peak, Mt. Olson, Mt. Hoquiam. We used the Custom Correct map for Enchanted Valley/Skokomish (only one map needed!)
      Browns Outdoor Store in Port Angeles have both types of maps. 112 W Front St Port Angeles, WA 98362 (360) 457-4150 Trailhead pick up and shuttle can be arranged either through Willie Nelson of All Points Charters and Tours 360-460-7131, or Randy with TeamForks 360-374-2131. Please let either of them know that you got their contact information from the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau. Thanks! Have a great trip. It’s one of my top five ever!

  17. Bill Swales says:

    I heard that you could hike through, leaving a car at each end. Is this true, and where does it come out on the East end?

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Bill
      Yes, you can do a hike through Enchanted Valley. One car would be left Graves Creek trailhead on the west side and one car at Elk Meadows on the east side. Elk Meadows is a B&B that will do trailhead drop off for you. The road up the Dosewallips River is closed before the National Park entrance (has been for several years), so Joy and Joe at Elk Meadows have been nice enough to let folks park on their property. Give me a call and I will give you their telephone number so you can talk to them directly. Mary B.

  18. kristen says:

    It says cars subject to vandalism and alot of black bears…is this a huge concern? I don’t want to get back from an awesome trip and have messed up cars?

    • waterfalls says:

      I haven’t heard of any vandalism this season. Of course, cars at any remote trailhead can be subject to a prowl. Don’t leave valuables. We’ve seen bear when we’ve hiked Enchanted Valley, so yes, there will likely be bears. Talk to the backcountry rangers before you leave for instructions if you are nervous about encountering them. They live throughout the park. In fact we saw a mommy bear and her cub on the hill by the road going up to Hurricane Ridge. It was a thrill to see them…..from a good distance, naturally! Have a wonderful trip! It’s an amazingly special place.

  19. christa says:

    i’d really like to see the enchanted valley, but i have limited time and was wondering if it would be possible to hike there and back in a day. from what i can tell, it would total 26 miles from graves creek and the elevation change is relatively gradual. i’m not opposed to a long day of hiking, but i’m curious about whether or not that sounds crazy to people who have actually done the trail. any feedback would be awesome. thanks : )

    • waterfalls says:

      I’ve done Enchanted Valley hike and want to do it again, but would definitely stay over in the valley one night at least. If you’re in great shape and can do a 26-mile hike, go for it! It’s definitely worth seeing. I wished we been able to stay in the valley longer than we were there. It’s stunning.

  20. waterfalls says:

    Oh Penny! Sorry I didn’t get to your question until now. Hope you are out safe and sound, and that you had a wonderful trip to Enchanted Valley. I’d feel safe hiking with another woman and, yes, we saw bears, but they weren’t too interested in us. Always check with Olympic National Park folks before taking off and get your back country permit so someone knows where you are! Are you planning to hike it again?

  21. [...] Even after the annual deluge known as winter and spring, summer’s still time to get your soak on. There’s nowhere on the continent you’ll find more waterfalls than on the one- to two-day, 26-mile backpack trip into Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley . The tally? 1,000 cataracts and counting. No joke. olympicpeninsulawaterfalltrail.com/enchanted-valley [...]

  22. angela says:

    i see that it says that it could be a 2day hike…would anyone say say this is a hike for only the experienced? i havent really done much hiking but would love to see Enchanted Valllet.Any comments would be apprecited

    • waterfalls says:

      Hi Angela,
      It’s 12+ miles into the main Enchanted Valley area. However if you are interested in a sorter hike with no overnight gear, I would suggest a hike to Pony Bridge. It’s a little under three miles in and you would be going through the same type of forest along the Quinault River that runs through a narrow canyon. Here’s a link to the Washington Trails Association website with more info about the Pony Bridge hike. http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/quinault-river. When you go, take some photos to share with us! Have a great, safe hike.

  23. Arnie Bloomer says:

    above topo is on theDuckabush. Nowhere near Enchanted Valley

  24. Good information. Found your site on a brochure in Quinault, from the Rain Forest Resort Village store.

    I’m putting together a Quinault area page on my website and will certainly add yours to it. Thanks.

    MDV / Oregon

  25. waterfalls says:

    Thanks for your kind words about our site. Stay tuned! We will be adding more waterfalls this year.