This is a serious trail runners route. Incredible elevation gains, loose rocks, exploded roots and lack of water make this a challenge for even the most hardened runners.
There are a handful of routes in the National Park Service that leave even the most jaded travelers and backpackers speechless from beauty; this is one of them. Whether you start in the Elwha or Sol Duc, getting to this trail requires quite bit of work, making it extremely isolated except in the peak summer months. Far removed from the crowds, the Bailey Range Trail is one of the most awe-inspiring routes in America, giving endless panoramas of the Olympic interior.
From Sol Duc, the trail is not maintained and once you pass the "Cat Walk," people are few and far between. You start off passing a small pond before following what looks more like a climber's path than a trail that leads up toward Mount Carrie. Mount Carrie is probably best known for getting mistakenly identified as Mount Olympus from Hurricane Ridge
. While the main trail passes Mt. Carrie, those looking for insanely gorgeous views need to climb to the summit of this 6,995ft beauty. The views are downright breathtaking, with the entire Pacific Northwest expanding in every direction.
From Mount Carrie, the trail continues on the side of a ridge, where it is nearly impossible to pass by without wanting to soak in the views of the Hoh River Valley below. Passing near tarns and somehow even better views of Mount Olympus, the trail continues until it reaches the spine of the Bailey Range. Here, take one last look at Olympus start your descent to the Long Ridge Trail
above the Elwha River.
This is seriously some of the most beautiful high-alpine terrain in the country, if not the world. You stand above the Hoh Rainforest, take in the majesty of the Olympic Mountains and be exposed to wildlife and wildflowers. This is an endeavor best left to those looking for a serious backpacking adventure.
Marmots, grouse, mountain goats and maybe even a black bear sighting make this trail fantastic for wildlife viewing. High alpine plants, including fantastic wildflower displays make this a must see in late summer, which is convenient because that is when the nicest weather comes.