Royal Lake via Royal Basin Trail and Upper Royal Basin Trail
This is a moderate one way trail to Royal Lake in Olympic National Park. This hike is 16 miles round trip, if you go all the way to the upper basin. It begins at the the Upper Dungeness Trailhead and uses the Upper Dungeness Trail, which follows the follows the Dungeness River for a mile. At this point, instead of crossing the Dungeness River on a large log bridge, you will take the Royal Basin trail to the right, which is clearly marked. Here you will begin a slightly steeper ascent, follow Royal Creek, and soon enter Olympic National Park. At about 3.4 miles from the trailhead, you will pass Royal Creek Camp, which has a few very nice campsites along the river. These are the only ones that allow open fires. As with all camping in the national park, permits are required. Continuing on, you come to the Lower Royal Basin Camp area at about 6.35 miles and begin to experience the real beauty of this area. Continue on to the 7 mile point and you arrive at Royal Lake, which also has a lot of campsites. This is the last area where camping is authorized. If you are camping, set up your tent, leave some of your gear behind, and follow the trail for another mile to the Upper Royal Basin, which has astonishing views of meadows, streams, a waterfall, a glacial lake, and snow-covered peaks. Be prepared for mosquitoes at and around Royal Lake. This hike is best done June-October. This can be done all as a day hike or you can camp at Royal Creek Camp for 2 nights, and use it as a base camp for a day-hike to the upper basin to avoid doing most of the hike with a heavier pack.
Park at the Upper Dungeness Trailhead parking lot (which has vault toilets) or along the national forest road. Then begin at the Upper Dungeness Trailhead, which is off NF-2870 on the opposite of the river from the main parking lot. See https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/royal-basin for directions to the trailhead and more details.
This trail is rated a 5 for children, as it is very demanding. Very athletic children over 12, with light packs should be able to handle it.
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