Author Topic: Section Hiking the Peninsula  (Read 507 times)

Snuffy

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Section Hiking the Peninsula
« on: March 27, 2017, 10:51:53 PM »
I plan to hike the PNT from basically the Mt.Townsend TH to Bogachiel TH and try to do as little road walking as possible.  I was going to just do the original route but Kish suggested I take the Grand Pass route. Now after studying the book/map I realize I have multiple choices.  My goal is to do as little road walking as possible.  Obviously some is required around the Elwha, but is there any advice on which route would provide less road walking?  I am anxiously awaiting the new 2017 maps for this area.

Also, I know most thrus get their permits when they get to the peninsula or a few days beforehand.  As a section hiker, do you think I can do the same thing or should I try to get them now if I know my dates?  I'm used to the PCT and not having to worry about this!  The campsites listed in the book are not all listed on the park website for permits, like the 21 mile site after the Seven Lake Basin.  It is making it a little hard to plan the length of my days.

Evan

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 01:37:27 AM »
If you're completely opposed to road walking you should take the primary route down the Elwha River valley. The Grand Pass alternate requires 8 miles of gravel road walking.

You should still consider the Grand Pass alternate. It has some of the best views in the park and the Obstruction Point road is a beautiful road walk with stunning views of the Olympics, Puget Sound, and Mt. Baker if the weather's nice. The Elwha valley won't disappoint, it's one of my favorite spots on the planet, but it's accessible year-round. The Olympic high country in summer is special, and Grand Pass is some of the best it has to offer on-trail.

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 02:51:11 AM »
ROUTE
Because there is no camping permitted at Obstruction Point or Hurricane Ridge, the "old" practical route (including Grand Pass) presents logistical challenges. (One option is to camp at PJ lake, near the Obstruction Point road. But it's a sad pond with no view.)

The "new" practical route (Red route on this mapset) also includes a (downhill) road walk on the well-used-but-often-damaged Whiskey Bend trailhead road. So both options will require some road walking before you reach the Elwha Ranger Station near Altaire campground.

Both options are fantastic, and the Olympics won't disappoint. The "new" red route avoids civilization for longer, which is kinda nice. The "old" blue route provides some of the most scenic ridgeline hiking in the world. You pick.

PS: Bogachiel state park is a short walk from your finish line. It's a good spot to get a hot shower and wait for your pick-up ride. You can also flag down Clallam Transit busses to get you North into Forks.

PERMITS
Most PNT thru hikers delay getting permits because their schedule may change due to weather, injuries, etc. If your dates are set, there's no reason to delay getting permits. This will allow you to get prime camping locations in the High Divide (aka "Seven Lakes Basin") region. I recommend camping at Heart Lake if possible. Note that camping in the High Divide area requires bear cans. Because there's tons of amazing wildlife. Worth the trouble, in my opinion.

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 02:52:57 AM »
The campsites listed in the book are not all listed on the park website for permits, like the 21 mile site after the Seven Lake Basin.  It is making it a little hard to plan the length of my days.
Call the Wilderness Information Center directly. There are lots of campsites they don't list online.

Hank

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 05:51:18 AM »
I would apply for ONP permits sooner than later.  Last year I solo hiked thru the park on the PNT.  I applied for the permit two plus months early and still didn't get my first choices of campsites.

Evan

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 03:32:10 AM »
I just remembered the Hayden Pass Trail (part of the primary route) is closed due to last year's fire. I don't know if there are plans to open it this summer, so the Grand Pass route might be your only option.

Dylan Carlson

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Re: Section Hiking the Peninsula
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 01:05:29 PM »
I just remembered the Hayden Pass Trail (part of the primary route) is closed due to last year's fire. I don't know if there are plans to open it this summer, so the Grand Pass route might be your only option.

This is good info. Trail status changes frequently. Thankfully ONP keeps a detailed list of trails that are open/closed. Hikers should check the Trail Conditions page as summer approaches and see if this section re-opens.