Hike to Lake of the Angels in Olympic National Park

Trying to decide on one hike in Olympic National Park, as with any national park, is difficult. Here you can choose to hike around the Olympic Mountains, to alpine lakes, along the coastline or old-growth forests and rainforests. It’s hard to choose, but when we read about the hike to Lake of the Angels, we got excited for the challenge and lake at the end.

Hike to Lake of the Angels in Olympic National Park

What initially got us curious about this hike, other than the lake, was the difficulty. We had strayed from too difficult because we normally had our dogs with us and they were showing signs of aging. We were all by ourselves this time and it equated to about 1,000’+/mile. I didn’t really wrap my head around what that meant. Not as much as some mountaineering hiking/trekking but for a Tuesday hike it felt like a fun challenge.

Miles: 7 ♦ Elevation Gain: 3,329′ ♦ Trail Type: Out and Back ♦ Trail: Difficult

Your hike stars at Putvin Trailhead on the east side of the national park. There is a small parking lot but big enough for vans or small towed rigs. No dogs are allowed in the national park. So if you brought Fido and the goal is to reach Lake of the Angels, come back another time or do a different hike. Please respect the request of the national park service.

Right off the bat you start the climb. The first mile was only about 900′ and so it was nice being able to warm up the legs and actually enjoy the surroundings.

Shortly thereafter is your first turn. Make sure to fill out a permit. This is for safety and also to show the park how many people come through. It sometimes also helps with their funding so if you are in a group, fill out a couple. Take a breather here, because this is where the thighs will start to burn.

At 1.5 miles you reach Mount Skokomish Wilderness.

At the end of 2 miles you have already climbed 2,000′!

This interesting climb comes at about 2.4 miles. Most can power through the hike at a slow pace, but this is difficult. There is a skinny rope, but you have to be sure about your footing and balance. There is no way around this point to continue on, so be confident in this before you start.

This is a view coming back down. Since this an out and back hike, you will have to tackle this twice!

Around this point, depending on the weather, it can be wet and muddy. Summer months do not mean dry. It made for some dramatic views and makes you forget that you are at about 7,000′ in elevation.

Even though we knew we were not yet to the lake, we thought this may be it, but it wasn’t. Another lake that didn’t have a name so we just named it “Not Angel Lake.” This is also the end of the 3rd mile and you have now just climbed another 1,253′!

At 3.2 miles you reach the National Park boundary and you are trying to figure out if you are ever going to make it. It feels like it has been a lot longer than just 3.2 miles, but rest assured you are headed in the right direct. It is a mental challenge as well, just know that you are doing a great job and that it will make the end that much more rewarding.

The great thing about this spot…BLUEBERRIES start here and they are endless. Bring bags if you are here in the fall and room to carry. They were absolutely delicious.

After a grueling 3.5 miles and 3,695′ in climb hike you have made it to Lake of the Angels!!

We absolutely LOVED this hike. It has turned into one of our favorites. The challenge, scenery, blueberries and beautiful alpine lake at the end made it one of the best! I highly suggest putting this one on your bucket list for Washington, National Parks or Hiking.


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