This nearly 44-mile route is one of the most rigorous routes that runners can attempt in the park. Rising and falling, but gaining over 4,700 vertical feet, this is a great roller-coaster route that will leave your legs tired, but your soul refreshed. The solitude and incredible views make the strenuous effort worthwhile.
You'll begin your lengthy route in the Olympic National Forest, just outside of the National Park Boundary. To begin what is suggested as a multi-day journey, head out on the Slab Camp Trail
for a couple miles before connecting with the Gray Wolf Trail
. Accounting for almost half of the total mileage, the Gray Wolf Trail
will lead you through gently sloped terrain as you first cross through the National Forest, followed swiftly by the Buckthorn Wilderness, and finally into Olympic National Park. About 8 miles into your trip, you'll pass the Three Forks Campground, where you'll turn west onto the Cameron Creek Trail
Taking the loop portion of the route in a counter-clockwise direction leads you on a slightly less steep route of the area. Though you'll still be climbing plenty, your burning legs will appreciate the extra energy. You'll continue on the moderate slope, following the Cameron Creek until you reach Lower Cameron. Continue on until you reach the intersection with the Grand Pass Trail
and the Lost Pass Trail
. Continue first west, then south on the Lost Pass Trail
You'll eventually make your way through Upper Cameron, and finally to Cameron Pass. You're at the high point of the loop, so enjoy the views from up here! Even though you'll have reached a high point, you'll still have plenty of climbing ahead.
From Cameron Pass, continue on or explore the surrounding ridges and peaks. You'll enter what is known as the "Thousand Acre Wilderness," and not many visitors see this area. You'll descend for a bit near Lost Peak, and eventually will regain most of your lost elevation as you crest Lost Pass. Shortly after, your descent will start in earnest as you head down to the Dosewallips River, and a junction with the Dosewallips River Trail
Follow the Dosewallips River Trail
back north, as you continue to lose elevation. Though you'll be dropping out of the rugged terrain of the mountains, the views along the Dosewallips River and the dense forest in the surrounding area are still beautiful. Continue on the Dosewallips River Trail
until you come to an intersection with the Gray Wolf Trail
Though the way is mostly downhill, you'll still have a significant amount of mileage ahead of you. The Gray Wolf Trail
is just over 20 miles in length, but you'll find the route enjoyable. You'll pass through more rocky, mountainous terrain before your final descent into the densely forested area surrounding the Gray Wolf River. There will be a few spectacular campsites along the way, and it's recommended that you take your time in returning to the trailhead.