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Happy Lake Ridge

Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast
47.9776, -123.6930 Map & Directions
18.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
4,400 feet
Highest Point
5,280 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Happy Lake. Photo by Eric.
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
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Enjoy a mix of solitude and company along a ridgetop with two backcountry lakes and sweeping alpine views. Continue reading

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Hiking Happy Lake Ridge

Enjoy a mix of solitude and company along a ridgetop with two backcountry lakes and sweeping alpine views.

Begin your hike at the Appleton Pass trailhead, descending to the Happy Lake trailhead via a 1.3-mile road walk. Once at the trailhead, the route wastes no time ascending to Happy Lake. At 0.25 mile reach a small creek. This is the last reliable water source prior to Happy Lake, so it’s a good place to top off.

Continue climbing for three miles, reaching the ridge crest at 4,500 feet. Views expand along the ridge; at 4.8 miles a viewpoint looks out at the Elwha Valley and surrounding peaks of Mounts Appleton and Angeles.

At 5.8 miles is the side trail to Happy Lake. The half-mile path drops 400 feet to the lake’s grassy shores, where a few established campsites can be found. This makes a good destination and turnaround point for dayhikers, as well as a good water source.

Back at the ridge, continue traveling west while taking in views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mount Olympus and the Bailey Range. At about 8.3 miles, arrive at the Aurora Divide Trail junction. Continue left to Boulder Lake, following ups and downs along the ridge. The trail climbs to an overlook at 4,900 feet with views of Boulder Peak and Lake.

Drop 500 feet—steeply at times—to the side trail to Boulder Lake. Well-established campsites can be found in the basin.

Continue the loop from Boulder Lake by descending 2.9 miles along the Boulder Lake Trail to a junction with the Boulder Creek Trail. Continue left, arriving at Boulder Creek Campground and the side trail to Olympic Hot Springs. Finish with 2.3 miles on old roadbed to the trailhead.

WTA Pro Tip: Much of Happy Lake Ridge lacks water. Be sure to top off your bottles at the lakes.

WTA worked here in 2016!

Hike Description Written by
Kelsie Donleycott, WTA Correspondent

Happy Lake Ridge

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.9776, -123.6930 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

Road Closed: The Olympic Hot Springs road is inaccessible to vehicles due to a washout. Hikers can still access this trail by walking or biking 7.8 miles one-way along the closed road from the Madison Falls parking area.

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Port Angeles, follow US 101 west for 9 miles. Turn left onto Olympic Hot Springs Road and drive 10 miles, passing the park entrance station and Elwha Ranger Station, to the trailhead at the end of the road.

Note: Currently this trailhead is inaccessible by car, but can be reached by hiking from the Madison Falls trailhead adding approximately 4.5 miles one way to the hike.

More Hike Details


Olympic Peninsula > Northern Coast

Happy Lake Ridge (#58)

Olympic National Park

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Olympic National Park National Geographic Trail Illustrated Map

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Happy Lake Ridge

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