Lunch Lake, Sol Duc Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Lunch Lake - 15.6 miles
Sol Duc Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||15.6 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,882' - 4,495' (4,894' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+2,613' net elevation gain (+3,588' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Lunch Lake - 15.6 Miles Round-Trip
Lunch Lake (4,495') is located 7.6 miles from the Sol Duc Trailhead in Olympic National Park. It's one of many accessible highlights in the Seven Lakes Basin, an airy network of alpine lakes, tarns and meadows circled by the High Divide Loop.
While possible in a day, Lunch Lake is more often the first stop for backpackers on multiday trips on the Loop.
Established routes lead from Lunch Lake to other lakes in the basin, and the High Divide Trail continues above with access to Bogachiel Peak, Hoh Lake, Heart Lake and cross-country routes in the Bailey Range.
Lunch Lake holds a majority of campsites in the Seven Lakes Basin, and reservations are required. Visit the WIC for permits and the latest trail information before setting out.
Note that lingering snow on steep, narrow sections may be tricky (if not technical) well into summer, particularly leading up to the Lunch Lake Trail split, and on the final descent to the lake. Ice axe and self-arrest skills are necessary with persistent snow cover. Visit the WIC or Olympic NPS site for the latest trail conditions:
Follow signs from the trailhead to Sol Duc Falls. The trail runs quickly beneath impressive old growth to a bridge across Sol Duc Falls (.8 miles : 1,927'), a four prong fall that plunges into a deep gorge on the Sol Duc River.
It remains level to the Deer Lake - Lovers Lane Trail split (.9 miles), where the Deer Lake Trail splits south and begins a steep, rugged climb with little reprieve all the way to Deer Lake (3.4 miles : 3,527').
Deer Lake occupies a wooded basin in the transition zone from montane to subalpine forest. The trail leads around its east shore to a split for Little Divide and High Divide (3.8 miles : 3,526').
Follow the High Divide sign left to a marshy pond and resume steady climbing in a thick transitional forest. The trail emerges from timber at a pond (4.9 miles : 4,115'), and weaves by another into an expanding landscape laced with streams and wildflowers.
Grades moderate across high open slopes with good views. The trail levels through patches of fir on a ridge, then rolls over to the south side overlooking the upper Bogachiel River Valley (6.15 miles : 4,755').
It curls east and rises up a narrow path etched into steep, vertiginous slopes (6.5 miles : 4,750'). Proper gear and self-arrest skills are necessary on this section when covered by snow. The trail negotiates a rocky bowl to the Lunch Lake Trail split (7.05 miles : 4,862'), and arcs around it to a crest (4,894') overlooking the Round Lake - Lunch Lake basin. This is the highest point on the route to Lunch Lake.
Here you'll begin a knee-jarring descent on stone steps with a commanding views over Round, Clear, Lunch and several more distant lakes in the basin.
Tracks circle the lake, favoring thinly treed knolls on the NW side where most campsites are located. While sparingly signed, well-established trails emanate from Lunch Lake to others in the Seven Lakes Basin. A good map with basic route finding skills will help you explore this beautiful area.
- N47 57.299 W123 50.104 — 0.0 miles : Sol Duc Trailhead
- N47 57.113 W123 49.188 — .8 miles : Sol Duc Falls
- N47 57.059 W123 49.257 — .9 miles : Lovers Lane Trail split; begin steep climb
- N47 56.677 W123 49.401 — 1.8 miles : Canyon Creek Bridge
- N47 55.927 W123 49.410 — 2.9 miles : Last site with permissible fires
- N47 55.684 W123 49.455 — 3.4 miles : Deer Lake outlet bridge
- N47 55.546 W123 49.355 — 3.8 miles : Trail split for High Divide
- N47 55.065 W123 49.141 — 4.7 miles : Ponds on edge of open meadowlands
- N47 54.760 W123 49.031 — 5.25 miles : Arcing climb through open hillsides
- N47 54.677 W123 48.558 — 5.9 miles : Travel levels on thinly treed ridge
- N47 54.829 W123 48.069 — 6.5 miles : Steep slope travel over Bogachiel Valley
- N47 54.715 W123 47.383 — 7.05 miles : High Divide - Lunch Lake split
- N47 54.886 W123 47.229 — 7.55 miles : Nadir at Round Lake split
- N47 54.899 W123 47.143 — 7.6 miles : Lunch Lake
- Lunch Lake sees heavy traffic, and many unintended social trails have formed around the lake and between campsites. Support re-vegetation efforts by staying on designated paths.
- Habituated mountain goats live in this area. Goats are drawn to salts found in human waste and sweaty clothes. Maintain a respectful distance, and follow guidelines for disposing waste.
- Lingering snow on steep, narrow sections may be tricky (if not technical) well into summer, particularly the descent to Lunch Lake. Ice ax and self-arrest skills may be necessary when covered. Visit the WIC or Olympic NPS site for the latest trail conditions.
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. 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 registration fee per group, plus $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 in advance.
- Reservations may be made no more than 30 days in advance. Groups of 7-12 people must camp in designated group sites within quota areas.
- Camping is permitted only in designated sites within quota areas. 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.
- Campfires are not permitted at Lunch Lake.
- Food Storage: 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 Lunch Lake.
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore.
- 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 Sol Duc Trailhead is located 40.2 miles from Port Angeles at the end of Sol Duc 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 12.2 miles to the trailhead.
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
Quinault Wilderness Information Office