The trail to Royal Basin leads six and a half miles southwestward from Road 2860 along the path of Royal Creek. The trail gains elevation moderately with only a 2,600-foot rise. It leads through montane forest and subalpine forest and meadow communities en route to the headwaters of Royal Creek. Along the upper reaches of the trail the surrounding summits of Gray Wolf Ridge, the Needles and Del Monte Ridge come into view.
Begin this trail at the Upper Dungeness River Trailhead along Road 2860. Follow the Dungeness River one mile to a fork in the trail. At this junction turn right and cross the river on a footbridge. From this point the trail begins to follow Royal Creek. In a few minutes you'll reach another junction bear left at this fork to continue on the Royal Basin Trail.
The trail climbs steadily as it enters the National Park. The creek forms a series of cascades due to boulders in the stream bed. The trail remains close to the creek as it leads westward.
Less than a mile after entering the National Park the stream begins to turn southward. It veers uphill from the stream remaining above it for several miles. Along this portion of the trail is a series of benches formed by the glacier that widened this valley. Gray Wolf Ridge lies to the left here and glimpses of it, and other peaks surrounding the drainage, are available from avalanche paths along the route.
Approximately six miles from the trailhead Royal Basin Trail crosses Royal Creek and climbs into the head of the valley. The lake lies within a mile of this crossing at 5,085 feet. There are several campsites near the lake and meadows to explore above it.
Directions: From Sequim, Drive eastward on Highway 101 4.5 miles to a Palo Alto Road. Turn right on Palo Alto Road and travel 7.5 miles to a junction with Road 2880 and Road 28. Bear left on Road 28 and travel less than one mile to Road 2860, which leads to the right. Follow 2860 almost 5 miles to a junction with Road 2870. Turn left at this junction and drive 11 miles south to the Upper Dungeness Trailhead on the southern side of the road.
Elevation: 2,500 feet
Ending Elevation: 5,100 feet
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Olympic National Park, Washington
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