Enchanted Valley, Graves Creek Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington

Enchanted Valley - 26.1 miles

Graves Creek Trailhead

Black bears are common in the Quinault River Valley

Black bears are common in the Quinault River Valley

Round-Trip Length: 26.1 miles
Start-End Elevation: 676' - 2,004' (2,004' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,328' net elevation gain (+3,635' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Enchanted Valley - 26.1 Miles Round-Trip

Enchanted Valley is located 13.05 miles from Graves Creek Trailhead in the SW corner of Olympic National Park. This celebrated trail closely follows the Quinault River through old growth temperate rainforests into a deep glacial valley below Chimney Peak, Mount Anderson and White Mountain.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Enchanted Valley runs approximately 3 miles with scores of waterfalls pouring from steep valley walls, and is home to a large and active bear population. While net elevation gain is modest, there are many moderate undulations that are cumulatively demanding.

Hikers should anticipate bear sightings at potentially close range and know how to respond. Bear canisters are required in Enchanted Valley, and strongly encouraged throughout Olympic National Park even where not required:

The trail crosses the river and climbs steadily away to a crest (2.1 miles : 1,271'), where it drops sharply to Pony Bridge (2.72 miles : 928'). Pony Bridge spans a deep gorge in the river and leads to the north bank, which you'll follow nearly all the way to Enchanted Valley.

Travel moderates up the north bank with good views of the gorge below. The trail climbs two short, steep hills between 4-5 miles, the first of many up-down sections past Pony Bridge. Backcountry campsites are generally located right off the trail with river access.

Massive trees and a diverse understory line the way, with large areas browsed by elk that create good viewing lanes through the forest. The forest floor is carpeted in mosses, liverworts, ferns and fallen and decaying logs.

Because open ground is hard to find, many seedlings instead germinate on fallen, decaying trees called nurse logs. As they grow their roots reach to the ground; when the log eventually rots away, a colonnade, or row of trees on stilt-like roots, remains.

A moderately steep climb leads to O'Neil Creek (6.7 miles), just over which is the spur to O'Neil Creek Backcountry Camp (6.75 miles : 1,286'). The trail levels past O'Neil Creek through long meadows dotted with bigleaf maple and cedar. It briefly meets a river braid at 7.75 miles (1,276'), then climbs steeply away to No Name Creek (8.18 miles : 1,397').

An easy cross leads into meadows lined with maple and tight bands of alder (8.35 miles). The trail edges back into a cluttered forest (8.95 miles) and climbs to another large meadow at Pyrites Backcountry Camp (9.55 miles : 1,447').

There are a few sites here, but a more compelling group is located just over the creek on a flat by the river. This area is notably scenic, and worth exploring if time permits.

The Pyrites Creek bridge is damaged but passable; if not the ford is moderate. Many social trails emanate to campsites just beyond the crossing, and may cause confusion. The main trail runs on the north side of the meadow, and leads east through it.

The trail exits the Pyrites area (10.05 miles) on a rolling, varied stretch by the river. It climbs in short, steep spurts from 10.85 miles to Lamata Creek (11.55 miles : 1,748') and through an expanding valley to a long bridge over the river (12.5 miles : 1,943').

The Quinault River bridge crossing can be slick, and uncomfortable for some. Do not attempt to ford the river. Once over the trail moderates in a wide alluvial plain with views of the jagged upper valley. It undulates unevenly to the Enchanted Valley Chalet on the edge of Enchanted Valley (13.05 miles : 2,004').

There are a number of campsites on either side of the trail as you progress through the valley. Sites closer to the river are preferable, as they'll reduce water treks and exposure to bears.

A second large meadow is located .7 miles from the Chalet. While decidedly more private, water takes some effort to reach.

The Quinault Rainforest
The Quinault Rainforest is one of four temperate rainforest river valleys on the west side of the Olympic Mountains. The Quinault River Valley is optimally positioned to capture moisture from the southwest, with 140"+ of rainfall each year. Clouds, fog, and forest the forest itself help trap moisture and regulate temperatures under the canopy.

Douglas fir, red cedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce dominate the canopy, joined by big leaf maple and red alder. The understory is filled by thimbleberry, blackberry, salmonberry, ferns, and mosses.

The Quinault Rainforest is home to several year-round Roosevelt Elk herds, whose foraging helps control overgrowth and clears the forest floor for new growth.

Bear, mountain lion, deer, coyote, bobcat, beaver and river otter inhabit this valley. Bald eagle, golden eagle, osprey, and blue heron can be found along the river valley and at Lake Quinault. Salmon and steelhead come year round to spawn, and their death fuels the nutrient base of the rivers for the benefit of the upcoming egg hatch. The entire rain forest community is dependent upon the fish runs.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 34.364 W123 34.185 — 0.0 miles : Graves Creek Trailhead
  • N47 35.011 W123 33.560 — 1.0 miles : Moderately steep climb away from river
  • N47 35.502 W123 32.926 — 2.0 miles : Crest hill and begin steep descent
  • N47 35.779 W123 32.457 — 2.72 miles : Pony Bridge
  • N47 35.860 W123 31.979 — 3.25 miles : Mild grade up river bank
  • N47 35.946 W123 31.057 — 4.05 miles : Variously steep and level travel
  • N47 36.242 W123 30.070 — 5.0 miles : Campsites along river access points
  • N47 36.735 W123 29.210 — 6.05 miles : Cross small stream
  • N47 36.938 W123 28.609 — 7.75 miles : O'neil Camp spur
  • N47 37.617 W123 27.138 — 8.18 miles : Cross No Name Creek
  • N47 38.089 W123 26.547 — 8.95 miles : Begin climb to Pyrites
  • N47 38.386 W123 26.017 — 9.55 miles : West edge of Pyrites campsite
  • N47 38.673 W123 25.653 — 10.05 miles : Exit Pyrites Camp area
  • N47 39.030 W123 24.873 — 10.88 miles : Upper O'neil Creek confluence
  • N47 39.471 W123 24.284 — 11.55 miles : Cross Lamata Creek
  • N47 39.709 W123 23.936 — 12.0 miles : Short, steep undulations into upper valley
  • N47 40.040 W123 23.675 — 12.5 miles : Cross Quinault River on long bridge
  • N47 40.271 W123 23.365 — 13.05 miles : Enchanted Valley - Chalet
  • N47 40.792 W123 22.983 — 13.75 miles : Meadow #2

Worth Noting

  • The Enchanted Valley Chalet, an historic structure located within Enchanted Valley, was saved from sure destruction in 2015. Natural shifts in the Quinalt River left the Chalet literally hanging off the edge of the river terrace. Grassroots efforts led to saving the structure by moving it several yards to safety - however, its future cannot be guaranteed.
  • While the net elevation gain is modest, there are many minor-moderate climbs that are cumulatively demanding.

  • Bears are common along the trail, and you'll likely see several on the hike. There are 6+ bears that inhabit the Enchanted Valley - Chalet area alone. Allow bears ample room to pass, and store scented items carefully. Though canisters are not required, they're highly recommended.

  • Roosevelt Elk are common along the Enchanted Valley Trail. They're larger and darker than Tule and Rocky Mountain Elk, with females reaching 600 lbs and males 1,000 lbs. Elk play a critical role in the Quinault Rainforest by clearing the understory for new growth. The valley's open, park-like feel can be attributed to elk browsing.

  • Coastal temperate rainforests in North America produce the largest accumulation of organic (living or once-living) matter on the planet, surpassing even tropical rainforests.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

  • There's a $5 per person - per night fee to backcountry camp in Olympic National Park (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time. Self-registration trailheads have forms, permits, and submission forms.

  • There are no quotas or required reservations for Enchanted Valley. Campsites are not individually assigned, but are available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis.

  • Camp only in established sites, which are generally located and intuitively found along river access points and bottomlands. A number of sites are located at Pony Bridge, O'Neil Creek, Pyrites Creek, and Enchanted Valley. Pitch tents on bare ground or gravel bars. There are several bear wires in Enchanted Valley. Canisters are recommended but not required.

  • Fires are permitted up to and through Enchanted Valley. Fires are not permitted over 3,500'.

Fishing Information

  • A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.

  • A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.

  • Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).

  • The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $25 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).

  • Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

The Graves Creek - Enchanted Valley Trailhead is located 136.2 miles from Port Angeles in Olympic National Park.

From Port Angeles, head west on US 101 for 116 miles to Lake Quinault - North Shore Road. Follow North Shore Road 14 miles to the Graves Creek Road split. Turn right, cross the bridge, and bear left on Graves Creek Road. Continue 6 miles to the trailhead.

Portions of North Shore Road and all of Graves Creek Road are improved dirt roads passable to 2WD vehicles, but subject to flooding and mudslides.

Contact Information

Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798

Visitor Information: 360.565.3130

Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: 866.476.5382

Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)

Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center

Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877

Quinault Wilderness Information Office

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"The trail to Enchanted Valley is clear and in perfect condition. The big storm that closed the park in early Sept / late Aug left significant damage, however the excellent park crews have cut and cleared most trails. Enchanted Valley is 100% clear as of 9.4.15 from Graves Creek to at least 2 miles past the Chalet."
Dave  -  WASHINGTON  -  Date Posted: September 6, 2015
"Started at Graves Creek Trailhead at 10am and headed for Enchanted Valley. Took our time and enjoyed the views along the way. A few large trees blocked the trails in a few spots, but fairly easy to navigate over or around. It was snowing large flakes at O'Neil Creek, but nothing stuck to the ground. A few spots the trail is washed away, but easily passable by hugging the uphill side. All stream crossings were passable by bridge or rock jumping. Saw 7 different herds of elk along the way (largest herd=25+), two of which didn't budge when we walked by - could have reached them with a slingshot. Made it to Enchanted Valley about 7 pm. There was a black bear in the far end of the meadow eating grass. We were the only ones in the Valley and made our presence known. He looked at us and went back to eating and kept us company until dark. Bear wires are located in different areas in the Valley. It snowed that night, but nothing on the ground in the morning. Our bear was again busily eating grass along the trail and still uninterested in us. We gave him wide berth and continued up the trail until we hit the snow line between Enchanted Valley and O'Neil Pass Jct. We headed back, picked up camp and hiked back out on a on a crystal clear day. "
Patrick  -  Washington  -  Date Posted: April 17, 2015
"I did the Graves Creek to Enchanted Valley and back as a trail run. The trail was fantastic and very technical. Half buried rocks, exposed roots and slippery mud keep you focused on the trail. The 27 miles took me just under 7 hours and I really enjoyed it. I recommend poles for the slippery climbs and some dry clothes to change into once you get to valley. I only saw about 6 people the entire day. Lots of Bear and Elk tracks but no close encounters."
Scott B  -  Huntington Beach, CA  -  Date Posted: July 29, 2014
"The weather was beautiful the first day hiking to Enchantment Valley. We saw a few bears, the trees and plants were amazing to look at and we took lots of pictures and even some video. We stayed the night in the chalet due to the overnight rain. The way back to the trail head it we wore our rain gear but it only sprinkled a few times. It's a beautiful walk and worth hiking."
Val L.  -  Olympia, Wash.  -  Date Posted: May 26, 2013
"We did this and the Hoh Rainforest. We didn't see any bears in the Hoh but did see the 'herd' of bears at Enchanted Valley. We camped next to the Chalet and there was a young bear right near us all day. Kind of strange but he didn't bother us and vice versa. Two rangers also stayed in the chalet."
Mark L.  -  Eaton, IL  -  Date Posted: June 17, 2012
"Lots of bears! We saw at least 5 in the valley and turned around to camp at Pyrites Creek. Beautiful trail. We also saw about 10 elk and a bobcat near our campsite."
Elana  -  Seattle, WA  -  Date Posted: June 17, 2012


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