Best time to visit Washington

Royal Basin

A heavenly spot in the Olympics surrounded by the Rocky Mountains

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Last updated: by Olha Savych

Deep blue glacial lakes are surrounded by rugged peaks and fir forests. To see this beauty take a hike along Royal Creek up to the Royal Basin located in the Olympic National Forest, Washington. This is a perfect destination for camping, water sports or swimming in the summer. The best time to visit this stunning spot is from late June/early July through September/mid-October.

The 16-mi (26-km) trail to Royal Basin starts at the Upper Dungeness Trailhead. It can be reached from US-101 and NF-2870 highways. Start walking along Royal Creek and Dungeness River following signs to Royal Basin. You will soon arrive at the Royal Meadows with some fantastic views. The trail goes up to a stunning Royal Lake, 5,100 ft (1,554 m), which is a perfect swimming and picnic spot. It takes about 7 miles (11 kilometers) to get there. Then the trail goes around Royal Lake and goes up past shelter rock for one more mile (1.6 kilometer) to Royal Basin with its milky blue waters. The trail is ending at the plateau at the foot of Mount Deception. The path down is the same as up.

Royal Meadows have wildflowers in the summer. There is also a stream to be crossed on foot, so be prepared to get wet. Olympic National Park has many campgrounds where you can spend the night. Information is available at the Port Angeles visitor center. No campfires are permitted above 3,500 ft (1,067 m).

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