Mink Lake, Mink Lake Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Mink Lake - 4.8 miles
Mink Lake Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,672' - 3,085' (3,135' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,413' net elevation gain (+1,542' total roundtrip elevation gain|
Mink Lake - 4.8 Miles Round-Trip
Mink Lake is located 2.4 miles from Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. This small lake - better described as a large pond - fills a shallow basin ringed by marshy meadow and subalpine forest.
While the lake is comparatively unexceptional, it's an ideal choice for those with limited time, and as a day or overnight destination for families with small children. Visitors will enjoy varied forests, wild berries, and Sol Duc River access from the Mink Lake Trailhead:
The trail heads south from Sol Duc Hot Springs and rises steadily into a second generation forest. Old growth fir and hemlock takeover beyond the first mile, giving way to subalpine fir, yellow cedar and mountain hemlock as you gain elevation. Edible varieties of huckleberry line the trail, which peak in early fall.
The trail follows Mink Creek leading up to the spur for Mink Lake, which drops to an open marsh on the northwest shore (2.4 miles : 3,085'). There are several nice campsites and a shelter on the lake.
Social trails circle the shallow lake, which supports waterfowl, trout and frogs. Deer are fairly common, and elk are known to visit as they migrate from summer to winter feeding grounds.
The Mink Lake Trail continues 1.8 miles and 1295' up to Little Divide, where the Bogachiel River Trail branches west, and a connector runs east to Deer Lake and on to High Divide. Those with a little extra time should continue about .5 miles up to Bogachiel Park, a damp meadow complex just off trail that's frequented by wildlife and easy to explore.
- N47 58.224 W123 51.906 — 0.0 miles : Mink Lake - Sol Duc Hot Springs Trailhead
- N47 57.837 W123 51.984 — .7 miles : Steady climb through second generation forest
- N47 57.442 W123 51.737 — 1.3 miles : Old growth Douglas fir and hemlock stands
- N47 57.201 W123 51.847 — 2.0 miles : Grade moderates in transitional forest
- N47 56.923 W123 52.191 — 2.35 miles : Mink Lake split
- N47 56.889 W123 52.179 — 2.4 miles : Mink Lake
- N47 56.562 W123 52.181 — 2.9 miles : Bogachiel Park meadows
- The meadows of Bogachiel Park (about .5 miles past Mink Lake) are a good place to see elk in the fall.
- A modest distance, elevation gain, and permissible campfires make Mink Lake a good backpacking choice for families with small children.
- Consider a short walk up the Lovers Lane Trail for a chance to see running salmon in the Sol Duc River.
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.
- Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin area, including Mink 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.
- Permits for quota areas must be picked up at the WIC, or a staffed ranger station during business hours.
- 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 advance pickup.
- Reservations may be made no more than 30 days in advance.
- Camping is permitted only in designated sites. Deviation from your permit itinerary is not allowed, except in emergencies.
- Campsites are not individually assigned, and available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis. Groups of 7-12 people must camp in designated group sites within quota areas.
- Campfires are allowed below 3,500'. Fires are permitted at Mink Lake.
- Food Storage and Bear Canisters: All food and scented items must be secured 24 hours a day. Park- approved bear canisters are required in the Sol Duc - Seven Lakes Basin, including Mink Lake.
- 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 ($50 annual pass).
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
The Mink Lake Trailhead is located within the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, 38.4 miles from Port Angeles off of Sol Suc Hot Springs Road.
From Port Angeles, head west on US 101 approximately 28 miles to Sol Duc Hot Springs Road (marked by large NPS sign along highway). Continue 10.8 miles to the Resort entrance. Follow signs to trailhead on far side of lot.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Road is closed seasonally due to weather. Call ahead for road conditions and accessibility.
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