Mildred Lakes, Mildred Lakes Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington

Mildred Lakes - 8.6 miles

Mildred Lakes Trailhead

Lower Mildred Lake (3,754')

Lower Mildred Lake (3,754')

Round-Trip Length: 8.6 miles (distance will vary by route)
Start-End Elevation: 1,863' - 3,812' (4,039' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,949' net elevation gain (+3,797' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Mildred Lakes - 8.6 Miles Round-Trip

The Mildred Lakes are located 4.3 miles from Hamma Hamma Road in the Mt Skokomish Wilderness. The three lakes are nestled below Sawtooth Ridge in a heavily wooded basin at the head of the Hamma Hamma River. The Mildred Lakes Trail (#822) was established by hikers and anglers over the years, and is not officially maintained.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Though distance and net elevation gains are modest, the lakes are considered among the more challenging destinations on the Olympic Peninsula.

This strenuous way-trail scales two steep ridges on a rugged, shifting course. Clarity is intermittent, with many counter-intuitive jukes and long sections of hand-over-hand scrambling up root and rock walls. 

Pink ribbons mark much of the way, but can be hard to spot and don't always provide directional surety. Travel is equally arduous on the return.

Only experienced hikers with good route finding skills should attempt this hike. Note that distances listed here will likely differ from each individual route, but can be seen as close approximates:

The trail begins on the left side of the trailhead board at the end of Hamma Hamma Road. It rises away on a rough but serviceable path to a clearing at .9 miles (4,965'). Stay left at a subtle fork (1.4 miles) up to a ridge with partial views (1.5 miles : 3,220').

A defined path undulates along the ridge before diving down to Huckleberry Creek. It levels along the creek past several campsites to a natural log bridge (2.1 miles : 2,985'). Ford the creek if slippery. Once over, follow pink ribbons to the right, and ignore plausible paths that veer left.

The trail levels across a small stream (2.15 miles) and drops down a natural root ladder into a narrow ravine (2.3 miles : 3,150') | GPS Point #8). Here you'll begin the 'root wall', a .35 mile, 750' climb up the west valley wall.

While the pitch may be daunting, it's not technical at all - if anything, the roots are quite helpful. Watch for loose rock and keep a safe distance between hikers.

Travel eases briefly across a small flat (2.55 miles : 3,905'), then steepens back on a good trail to the ridge (2.65 miles : 4,035'). Enjoy a well-earned reprieve and good views from outcrops on this thinly treed section (GPS Point #13). 

The trail drops sharply off the ridge to a pond in the adjacent valley (3.0 miles : 3,870'). It arcs clockwise around the pond for another shifty descent that levels by a pond (3.25 miles : 3,740' | GPS Point #15). The trail loses clarity here, and it may simply be easier to walk through the water to reach pink ribbons on the far side.

Travel grows rough past this pond to Lower Mildred Lake (3.35 miles : 3,754'). Access is limited by thick timber, but a few small clearings have views.

Hug the shore and head clockwise around the lake to the inlet stream. There doesn't seem to be a 'best way' through the clutter, so you may just have to push and improvise.

Cross the inlet stream (4.0 miles) and follow ribbons up the right side to Upper Mildred Lake (4.3 miles : 3,812'). Fishing is exceptional here, with consistent reports of 12" - 14"+ rainbows.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 34.509 W123 15.672 — 0.0 miles : Mildred Lakes Trailhead
  • N47 34.260 W123 15.405 — .5 miles : Variously steep, undulating climb
  • N47 34.026 W123 15.744 — .9 miles : Forest opens across cut / slide area
  • N47 33.910 W123 16.001 — 1.2 miles : Variously steep, uneven climb
  • N47 33.788 W123 16.270 — 1.4 miles : Steep climb to unmarked fork - bear left
  • N47 33.653 W123 16.440 — 1.65 miles : Drop off level ridge toward creek
  • N47 33.410 W123 16.721 — 2.1 miles : Cross Huckleberry Creek
  • N47 33.394 W123 16.763 — 2.15 miles : Cross small creek
  • N47 33.465 W123 16.900 — 2.3 miles : Steep drop to ravine, begin steep climb up root wall
  • N47 33.519 W123 17.105 — 2.35 miles : Hand over hand travel up root wall
  • N47 33.532 W123 17.129 — 2.45 miles : Very steep climb
  • N47 33.528 W123 17.201 — 2.55 miles : Brief reprieve on high, open ridge
  • N47 33.540 W123 17.291 — 2.65 miles : Grade moderates in thinning forest
  • N47 33.599 W123 17.444 — 3.0 miles : Pass scenic pond
  • N47 33.740 W123 17.461 — 3.2 miles : Steep drop to pond near lake
  • N47 33.686 W123 17.542 — 3.35 miles : Lower Mildred Lake
  • N47 33.526 W123 17.670 — 3.6 miles : Rugged travel around lake
  • N47 33.557 W123 17.715 — 4.0 miles : Variously clear trail leading to lake
  • N47 33.493 W123 18.014 — 4.3 miles : Upper Mildred Lake

Worth Noting

  • There are many quick, counter-intuitive shifts on this trail, especially between the second ridge and upper lake. There are also many false trails, e.g. mistakes that have been made over and over again to the point these tracks look like the correct trail. Take note of your route, and any measures that will help you stay on course (notes, photos, GPS points, etc).
  • Travel is equally arduous on the return. Manage time accordingly.
  • Huckleberries are abundant along this trail.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Dispersed camping is permitted within the Mount Skokomish Wilderness Area. Self-registration is available at the Mildred Lakes Trailhead. It's always advisable to call the Hood Canal Ranger Station (360.765.2200) before your trip for current conditions and information.

  • Campfires are not permitted above 3,500', or at any of the Mildred Lakes.
  • Camp in established campsites whenever possible to minimize impact.

Fishing Information

Fishing is permitted with a valid Washington State fishing license.

Rules and Regulations

A valid Recreation Pass is required to access the Mildred Lakes Trailhead ($5 day use fee | overnight use requires payment for two days).

The following is not permitted:

  • Groups consisting of more than 12 persons and/or 8 head of livestock.
  • Starting and/or maintaining open fires, such as camp, cooking and warming fires above 3,500'.
  • Gathering wood for starting and/or maintaining open fires or stoves above 3,500'.
  • Tethering of livestock to trees and/or other vegetation, except for incidental use not to exceed 30 minutes.
  • Possessing and/or transporting unprocessed vegetative matter such as hay, straw, grass or grain. The use of pelletized or certified weed-free feed is required in all National Forests in the Pacific Northwest. This helps prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants.
  • Caching or leaving equipment, personal property or supplies unattended for a period in excess of 24 hours.
  • Possessing or using any form of wheeled vehicle for the purpose of transportation of such things as people, equipment, personal property, supplies and game.
  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat, motorized equipment, hang glider or bicycle.

Directions to Trailhead

The Mildred Lakes Trailhead is located 13.3 miles west of Highway 101 at the end of Hamma Hamma Road (FS #25). Hamma Hamma Road is approximately 14 miles north of Hoodsport near mile marker 318.

Turn west on Hamma Hamma Road from 101 and travel 6.3 miles to a fork. Veer right towards the Lena Creek Campground and Lena Lake Trail. Continue past the campground and trailhead to the terminus at the Mildred Lakes Trailhead. 

Hamma Hamma Road turns to dirt 8.0 miles from Highway 101. High clearance is advisable, though passable for 2WD cars in good condition when the road is clear. Washouts can prevent 2WD cars from reaching this trailhead. Call ahead for road conditions.

Contact Information

Hood Canal Ranger District | Quilcene Office
295142 Highway 101 S.
PO Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376
360.765.2200

Olympic National Forest
Supervisor's Office
1835 Black Lk Blvd SW
Olympia, WA 98512
360.956.2402

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"Brutal trail but the fishing is worth it. It only got really bad past Huckleberry Creek, and then again around the lower lake. A few snow patches but they were easy to work through. I was surprised at how tricky it was to get around the first lake up to the third – I pretty much had to bushwhack it. My advice would be to pay really close attention on the way out, because the way back is not much easier to follow."
Mark Hanover  -   -  Date Posted: June 14, 2016

 

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