Happy Lake – 10.4mi / 16.7km
The quaint Happy Lake sits on the other side of a steep forested ridge that requires much effort to enjoy its shores. The trail immediately begins steeply switchbacking up Happy Ridge.
The forest is open and airy, carpeted by salal and copious amounts of towering trees. You’ll reach the treed ridgeline after climbing a steep 2,850ft/950m. The trail eases its grade, and occasional views look out to glaciers on Mt. Carrie and Mt. Olympus to the south. The Strait of Juan de Fuca can be seen from the ridge when views open to the north.
You’ll reach a junction with the signed Happy Lake Trail where the trail quickly drops to the lake through trees and alpine meadows. A grassy shoreline backdropped by a treed ridgeline with spikes of protruding, red rock makes for a wonderful lunch spot.
This can be turned into a large 18.8mi/30.2km loop with the Boulder Lake Trail by taking the Happy Lake Ridge Trail to Boulder Lake (See Boulder Lake for description), dropping to the trailhead, then closing the loop by walking the road back to your car.
Trailhead: Turn onto the Olympic Hot Springs Road from Hwy 101, 9 miles west of Port Angeles. Follow the road 8.7 miles to the pullout with the trailhead.
Elevation Gain: 4,000ft / 1,200m – Elevation Loss: 4,000ft / 1,200m