Klahhane Ridge Loop, Heart O' The Hills Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Klahhane Ridge Loop - 11.7 miles
Heart O' The Hills Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||11.7 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,856' - 6,089' (6,089' max elevation on loop)|
|Elevation Change:||+4,233' net elevation gain (+5,071' total elevation gain on loop)|
Klahhane Ridge Loop - 11.7 Miles Round-Trip
The Lake Angeles and Heather Park trails form an 11.7 mile loop up and across Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park. This challenging route climbs over 4100' in just 4.9 miles to the ridge, where it undulates along the spine with spectacular views that stretch across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, northern Cascades and Olympic Mountains.
It continues down Victor Pass across steep, exposed slopes to Heather Park. Few trails on the peninsula offer such visual range and perspective. Visitors will also enjoy access to Lake Angeles, airy meadows and a good chance to see mountain goats up close.
Note that short sections through avalanche chutes and scree slides can be difficult to follow, and snowfields may linger well into July. An ice ax and crampons may be necessary until these melt out.
Klahhane Ridge can also be reached from the Switchback Trail off Hurricane Ridge Road, and the Klahhane Ridge Trail starting at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. These trailheads allow for shorter out-and-back hikes that maximize time on the most scenic parts of the loop. Another option is to arrange a two-car shuttle and head down to Heart O' The Hills for a one-way thru-hike.
The following description begins on the Lake Angeles Trail and travels clockwise:
The trail rises quickly to a foot bridge over Ennis Creek (.95 miles : 2,585') and steepens on switchbacks in a drier forest. Travel moderates by a glade to the split for Lake Angeles and Klahhane Ridge (3.2 miles : 4,285').
Anticipate this important point, which is surprisingly unmarked and easy to miss. Veer right onto the unmarked trail for a steep climb up a knobby ridge separating the lake basin from an adjacent basin under Mount Angeles.
The trail crests with views over each (3.7 miles : 4,795'), then dips onto the Mount Angeles side. Rugged switchbacks twist back to an outcrop on the divisive ridge (4.2 miles : 5,210'), where it continues across high, thinly-treed slopes over the headwall of Lake Angeles (4.7 miles : 5,880'). Enjoy stunning aerial views on this section.
The trail clears treeline and winds through alpine meadows to Klahhane Ridge, from which you can now see down the far side into Morse Creek (4.9 miles : 6,010').
It turns west on the ridge and negotiates several steep undulations that toggle between north and south slopes. Watch for goats and give them plenty of room to pass. Travel gradually moderates with great views of Mount Olympus and Mount Angeles to Victor Pass and the Klahhane Ridge - Heather Park Trail junction (6.0 miles : 5,912').
The Heather Park Trail veers right and dives down a bowl at the foot of Mount Angeles. Once across the bowl (which may hold snow well into summer) it cuts across a high slope, then turns left up a steep chute (6.6 miles).
A tightly-wound path scales the loose-earth chute to a saddle between Mount Angeles and Second Top (6.7 miles : 5,838'). Here you'll have great views (west) across the South Fork Little River drainage. It drops on switchbacks and crosses a wide slide (6.9 miles : 5,540'). Tread carefully on this loose and unstable section.
It resumes on a narrow, exposed path etched under Second Top with views that extend out to the mouth of the strait. The trail comes to another chute of loose scree (7.55 miles); turn right and improvise 115' vertical feet up to a crest that drops into Heather Park (7.6 miles : 5,610').
Travel eases through the meadows down to campsites by a stream (8.0 miles : 5,260'). Manicured switchbacks drop quickly on a long, uninterrupted descent back to Heart O The Hills Trailhead to complete the loop (11.7 miles : 1,856').
- N48 02.340 W123 25.884 — 0.0 miles : Heart O' The Hills Trailhead
- N48 01.943 W123 26.137 — .5 miles : Steady climb in upper lowland forest
- N48 01.524 W123 26.267 — .95 miles : Cross creek on footbridge
- N48 01.554 W123 25.820 — 1.3 miles : Steady climb into montane forest
- N48 01.346 W123 25.895 — 1.9 miles : Cross 3,500' - no fires beyond
- N48 00.944 W123 25.841 — 2.4 miles : Steady climb in hemlock forest
- N48 00.590 W123 25.984 — 3.15 miles : Lake Angeles access - Klahhane Ridge split
- N48 00.344 W123 26.327 — 3.7 miles : Crest on ridge over Lake Angeles
- N48 00.145 W123 26.326 — 4.1 miles : Steep push to outcrop with views
- N47 59.955 W123 26.264 — 4.5 miles : Steep climb over lake basin headwall
- N47 59.741 W123 26.243 — 4.9 miles : Reach Klahhane Ridge
- N47 59.657 W123 26.600 — 5.2 miles : Undulating travel along ridge
- N47 59.544 W123 27.258 — 5.7 miles : High ridge travel along spine
- N47 59.598 W123 27.577 — 6.0 miles : Heather Park Trail split on Victor Pass
- N47 59.715 W123 27.574 — 6.2 miles : Steep drop along base of Mount Angeles
- N47 59.893 W123 27.544 — 6.4 miles : Cross steep, open slope
- N47 59.994 W123 27.609 — 6.7 miles : Reach top of ridge, drop to far side
- N48 00.089 W123 27.731 — 6.9 miles : Far side of wide slide area
- N48 00.302 W123 27.674 — 7.25 miles : Steep undulations on narrow trail
- N48 00.566 W123 27.666 — 7.6 miles : Crest avalanche chute and drop into Heather Park
- N48 00.682 W123 27.445 — 8.0 miles : Pass a few small campsites along creek
- N48 01.040 W123 27.111 — 8.45 miles : Fast descent in high, thin forest
- N48 01.280 W123 27.195 — 9.1 miles : Subalpine - Montane forest transition
- N48 01.716 W123 27.077 — 9.8 miles : Pass fire restriction sign
- N48 01.981 W123 26.699 — 10.7 miles : Fast, winding descent
- N48 02.159 W123 26.392 — 11.2 miles : Grade moderates
- N48 02.347 W123 25.908 — 11.7 miles : Heart O The Hills Trailhead
- Portions of the loop - particularly along Klahhane Ridge and between Victor Pass and Heather Park - can hold snow well into summer and may be impassable without proper gear. Short sections on the Heather Park Trail cross steep scree slides and avalanche chutes that can be vague and unstable. Call ahead for the latest trail conditions before setting out.
- Mountain goats are common along this route, and close encounters are possible. Enjoy all wildlife from a safe, respectful distance. Note that goats have become habituated to people in this area and can be aggressive.
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.
- Alternatively you may self-register at the trailhead. Forms and pay envelopes are provided.
- There are no quotas or required reservations. Campsites are not individually assigned, but available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis.
- Camp only in established sites, which are intuitively found along the trail, and clearly marked at 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 Lake Angeles or in Heather Park.
- 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 entrance fee to 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 Lake Angeles Trail begins at the Heart O' The Hills Trailhead, 5.2 miles from the Visitor Center in Port Angeles.
Go 75 yards past the Visitor Center and bear right on Hurricane Ridge Road. Continue 5 miles to a sign for Lake Angeles, located just before the Hurricane Ridge entrance station. Follow signs .1 mile into the lot.
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)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office