Gladys Divide Trail Olympic National Park - Trail Climb Nation

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Gladys Divide Trail Olympic National Park

Gladys Divide Trail Olympic National Park

Good morning Trail Climb Nation! The weather has finally changed here in Oklahoma. It is gloomy. It is rainy. I have my giant red flannel jacket on and a cup of coffee. Of course my mind is taken to Washington State. I used to associate that place purely with the distorted Fender Jaguar Kurt Cobain swung on his shoulder. When I met my wife who is a Starbucks fanatic my view of Washington grew to think of a city lined with coffee shops. After actually visiting Washing state I realized just how skewed my view of the state had been. It is much more than just Seattle. There is so much beauty in that state. Today we take a look at that beauty with the Gladys Divide Trail.

In the quiet southeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, there is a hike leading from the only ranger station along Hood Canal and rising above the powerful and beautiful North Fork of the Skokomish River.

At 20 miles round trip, with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain, the path leading to Gladys Divide counterintuitively gets less tiring with every additional mile as the terrain opens up, exposing fantastic views of the entire Olympic interior, making you forget about your pumping heart and heaving lungs. While long and difficult, the experiences one has while hiking to Gladys Divide give a better insight into just what the human body is capable of accomplishing.

Except for late summer and autumn, Gladys Divide is rarely hiked, making this trail one of the best hikes in the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park. The first seven miles of the trail follows the Flapjack Lakes Trail, wandering past Donahue Creek Falls and next to the gorgeous Flapjack lakes. While awesome, press on past the lakes and keep heading up toward Gladys Divide.

Glady’s Divide is one of those trails that once you complete it, you’ll forever want to return. At home more in the Alps than the Olympics Mountain Range, the views given along this trail are rocky, mountainous and downright breathtaking. This is the best route in the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park, and needs to be undertaken often.

Starting along the North Fork Skokomish River Trail, the trail works up an old, decommissioned road. Crossing creeks and weaving along the North Fork Skokomish River, the first few miles of this trail are a breeze. At roughly four miles in, signs direct you away from the well-traveled path and lead up to Flapjack Lakes along the Flapjack Lake Trail. This section of the trail is steep at times, but passes over an awesome bridge and leads through some pretty forests. Eventually, it passes a trailside waterfall before arriving at Flapjack Lakes. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat, relax under Mount Stone and prepare for the next two miles toward Gladys Divide.

The two miles from Flapjack to Gladys are some of the best miles you can hope to hike. Working itself up from the lakes, the trail climbs steeply at first before gently rising in elevation. Once you get out of the woods, the trails passes along a wide valley, showing of the true wilderness splendor of this region. The closer you get to Gladys Divide, the larger the rocks get and the more impressive the views become.



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