Upper Lena Lake, Lena Lake Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington

Upper Lena Lake - 13.1 miles

Lena Lake Trailhead

Upper Lena Lake (4,540')

Upper Lena Lake (4,540')

Round-Trip Length: 13.1 miles
Start-End Elevation: 695' - 4,540' (4,575' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +3,845' net elevation gain (+4,150' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Upper Lena Lake - 13.1 Miles Round-Trip

Upper Lena Lake is located 6.55 miles from the Hamma Hamma - Lena Lake Trailhead in Olympic National Park. A moderate trail winds north to Lena Lake (3.0 miles), then departs on a strenuous, minimally maintained trail across Park boundaries to Upper Lena Lake (6.55 miles).

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Upper Lena Lake fills a deep, contoured bowl at treeline beneath Mount Lena (6,001') and Mount Bretherton (5,960'). Campsites ring the lake, with numerous coves and outcrops to explore:

The trail climbs steadily on long, winding switchbacks in a second growth forest. It gains 500' in the first mile, then moderates beneath new and old growth fir and cedar (1.5 miles : 1,440').

The trail reaches a scenic bridge spanning a dry creek bed where Lena Creek once passed (1.8 miles : 1,555'); it now runs through subterranean channels that reemerge a little way downstream.

The winding climb resumes to a second bridge (2.6 miles : 1,895'), and eases to the Lena Lake - Upper Lena Lake split (3.0 miles : 1,953').

Here the Upper Lena Lake Trail banks NW and steepens on a rugged path that climbs and drops to an unmarked fork above Lena Creek (3.5 miles : 2,003').

Bear left (the right fork simply provides creek access). Though minimally maintained, worn tracks and orange tree ribbons provide adequate guidance. The trail pitches up to the Olympic National Park Boundary (4.0 miles : 2,355'), then moderates briefly to a log bridge (4.8 miles : 2,667').

At 5.0 miles (2,818') the trail grows markedly steep and uneven, gaining 700' in the next half mile (5.5 miles : 3,512'). Expect slow progress and an all body effort. Challenging terrain eases briefly across the base of a small waterfall (5.85 miles : 3,925') and into a brushy subalpine meadow.

Thinning stands of silver and subalpine fir replace Douglas fir and cedar at these higher elevations. Travel steepens again to an unmarked fork that options around a blow down (6.2 miles : 4,245').

Both are very short, but neither are good. Push through and level across an avalanche hillside with arguably the best wildflower collection on the trail (6.35 miles : 4,450').

The trail reaches a welcome sign for Upper Lena Lake (6.5 miles : 4,550'), where social trails fork to campsites on either shore. Fittingly, travel around the basin to preferred sites and viewpoints is also steep and rugged, but minor compared to your effort reaching the lake.

Head left (clockwise) to the south shore, where two major coves and inlets provide open space and lake access. Marmot, bear, and mountain goat are common in this high country setting.

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 35.989 W123 09.067 — 0.0 miles : Lena Lake Trailhead (Trail #810)
  • N47 36.183 W123 09.513 — 1.0 miles : Steady climb on switchbacks
  • N47 36.641 W123 09.612 — 1.8 miles : Cross bridge over dry creek
  • N47 36.931 W123 09.839 — 2.6 miles : Cross second bridge
  • N47 37.217 W123 09.755 — 3.0 miles : Lena Lake - Upper Lena Lake split
  • N47 37.598 W123 09.751 — 3.5 miles : Veer left at unmarked fork
  • N47 37.919 W123 10.279 — 4.0 miles : Olympic National Park boundary
  • N47 37.807 W123 11.032 — 4.8 miles : Cross log bridge over creek
  • N47 37.756 W123 11.107 — 5.0 miles : Trail grows very steep
  • N47 37.796 W123 11.550 — 5.6 miles : No Fire sign
  • N47 37.796 W123 11.550 — 5.85 miles : Cross base of small waterfall
  • N47 37.951 W123 12.085 — 6.2 miles : Fork to circumvent blowdown
  • N47 38.058 W123 12.304 — 6.5 miles : Welcome sign and fork at lake
  • N47 38.033 W123 12.362 — 6.55 miles : Upper Lena Lake

Worth Noting

  • The trail climbs 2,600'+ in 3.1 miles from the Upper Lena Lake Trail split. Travel to the split is generally mild and uneventful, an ideal stretch to make quick time in advance of more demanding sections ahead.

  • The Upper Lena Lake Trail is steep, rugged, and minimally maintained. Hiking poles and sturdy footwear are highly recommended. The trail is not recommended when snow covered.

  • The descent from Upper Lena Lake can take considerable effort. Plan travel time and resources accordingly.

  • Marmot, bear, deer, and mountain goat are common in this high country lake setting.

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 registration fee per group, + $2 per person per night (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.

  • Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for Upper Lena Lake. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance; the other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance. Self registration is not permitted during this time.

  • Camp only in established sites, which are located around the lake.

  • Food Storage: Bear canisters are not required, but are recommended.

  • Fires: Campfires are permitted up to 3,500'. Fires are not permitted at Upper Lena Lake.

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 $5 day use fee to park and recreate in the Olympic National Forest. Self registration and pay envelopes are available at the trailhead. There are several inter-agency passes (e.g. National Park Pass) that are accepted and waive the fee.
  • Dogs are permitted in the Olympic National Forest, but not within Olympic National Park. Dogs are not permitted at Upper Lena Lake.

Directions to Trailhead

The Lena Lake Trailhead is located 7.5 miles west of HWY 101 on Forest Service Road 25 (Hamma Hamma Road). FS 25 / Hamma Hamma Road is located approximately 14 miles north of Hoodsport, and 22 miles south of Quilcene.

From 101, turn west on FS 25 and follow the paved road to the trailhead. Note the road splits right at 6.1 miles.

Contact Information

Olympic National Forest
Hood Canal Ranger District - Quilcene
295142 Highway 101 S.
PO Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376
(360) 765 2200
TDD (360) 765 2200

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

Visitor Information: 360.565.3130

Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131

Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)

Staircase Ranger Station: 360.877.5569
Seasonal Hours: June 24 - September 2: Open 8:30 - 5, Friday - Sunday

Quinault Wilderness Information Office

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Before you attempt this hike, be sure to have a few easier ones under your belt. Also, evaluate your physical condition and the weather conditions when you reach Lower Lena Lake because you can easily turn around or set up camp there. This hike has two very distinctively different sections. The first is about 3 miles of constant switchbacks that are moderate, wide, well maintained and well-traveled. That takes you to Lower Lena Lake, and took us 2 hours. Just above the lookout over Lower Lena Lake, you will find the Upper Lena Lake junction. From there the terrain gradually gets more technical, narrower, and less well maintained. We sampled the thimbleberries and wild blueberries that grow along the trail as we passed by. There are several downed trees that require you to get creative about crossing. Some we went under, some we scaled, others we went around. There were a few very steep rocky sections. There was a gravel section that required trekking poles or being on all 4s to ascend. One section even required us to climb up an enormous root system. The difficulty of the 2nd leg goes from moderate, to hard, to is-this-really-the-trail before you finally reach your destination. Five hours later we arrived at Upper Lena Lake. We had encountered freezing rain for the last 2 hours of our ascent. The sun had begun to go down and we then had a very difficult time finding a campsite that wasn’t either taken or flooded. This was because we could not determine where the trails were in the failing light. It was pitch black and still raining heavily when we finally pitched our tent. We were soaked to the bone but still happy we came. Going back outside to cook dinner wasn’t an appealing option. Luckily we had more than enough ready-to-eat food. We got our food and scented items into our bear canister and away from the tent, and sank into our sleeping bags. The next morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny day. The view from our site was nothing short of amazing. The lake was beautiful, clear, and placid. It reflected the landscape and the blue cloud-dotted sky beautifully. The mountains surrounding the lake were mostly green with some snowy areas. Birds were chirping and fluttering around us. We could see tents and people at different points around the lake. Most everyone was packing up and heading back down by 11AM. We left at 1:30 and made it down Lower Lena Lake by 6:30PM. After a 30 minute rest stop, we walked the comparatively easy 2 hour trail back to the trailhead. We got to the car right at 9PM, just as the sun was going down. Both going in and coming out took about 7.5 hours. I was carrying about 40 lbs, and would definitely find a way to lighten my pack before attempting it again. This hike really proved to be an awesome and unforgettable experience."
Sadeeq  -  Olympia, WA  -  Date Posted: July 11, 2016
"Wow Brandon! What was the snow like (and any other trail condition notes that would be good to know)? On a good day that's a tough trail, so yes, thank you for the early season help and intel!"
ProTrails Admin  -   -  Date Posted: April 18, 2016
"We finally made it up to upper lena lake yours truly and my buddy collin made the trail for you"
brandon  -  Washington  -  Date Posted: April 18, 2016
"Challenging hike. Trail is minimally maintained, but not to the point of losing the trail. Many risky scrambles over slippery rock formations, logs, roots, etc. Heed the advice above about poles. Not sure we would have made it back safely without them. Also worth considering is temperature difference at 4500'. We prepared for mid 40 degrees at night, but turned out it was mid 20s. Beautiful lake and had it almost to ourselves this time of year."
Mike  -   -  Date Posted: September 24, 2015


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.