I decided to do a weekday adventure this week by exploring out on the Olympic Peninsula. There’s something about the drive out there that has me trying to avoid it. The good news is it has most of the hiking population of Seattle trying to avoid it too so you’re always guaranteed a nice quiet trail. I chose Lake of the Angels because I had seen photos and thought the mileage wasn’t too bad for a one day trip with the drive.
7.5 + 2
drive time from Seattle
Poles for steep slopes
I left Seattle a bit before 6 and made the drive to the Hood River area via Tacoma and Olympia. It always amazes me the level of traffic coming into the city at this time of the morning. With a brief stop for coffee along the way I got to the Putvin trailhead at 8:20. I don’t know what it was but I felt a little off at the beginning of the hike, jumpy at any noise and felt like I was huffing more than I should have been, probably didn’t help that I read a trip report that ran into a family of cougars on this same trail.
After 1.3 miles I came to almost a second trailhead on an old road, which had a sign for the Lake of the Angels (another 2 miles ahead). The trail after this sign is pretty unforgiving it climbs more than 2000ft in 1.7 miles. I worked up quite a sweat on the way up! In some parts it was so steep you had to scramble up roots and rocks which once above you finally break into the alpine (and are rewarded with ripe huckleberries). The trail then passes the Lake of the False Prophet (lol these names) which is really more of a frog filled pond. It is pretty swampy in this section so I was glad I had my hiking boots to navigate through the muddy bog that was the trail.
There was one final climb over a hot and wildflower-covered slope to reach the basin containing the Lake of the Angels. The Lake sits in a rocky cirque under Mount Skokomish. I sat by the lake to rest awhile, watching the fish jump and enjoying all the wildflowers that were in bloom. There’s an obvious lack of mountain goats up there at the moment with their fur everywhere around the basin but none the sight. The Parks Service recently closed the trail for their evacuation in the relocation project.
After having something to eat I was ready to explore the basin, I started hiking and scrambling up rock ridges and ledges towards Mt Skokomish to see how far I could get. I made it up to 5800ft, took a wrong turn off the tracks I had downloaded, going to the wrong saddle before correcting my mistake. From the saddle at 5800ft I could see the traverse under the south face of Mt Skokomish and didn’t like the look of all the loose rock so decided to make this my turn around point.
The hike back down to the lake I took a different route which seemed like it got most of the foot traffic. Back on the Putvin trail, I was glad to have my trekking poles with me. The steep and rock covered trail was easy to slip on the way down. By the time I got down to the old roadbed my knees where pretty sore from the decent. I decided to hike back along the old road which met up with the Putvin trail about half a mile from the trailhead.