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Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour

Olympic National Park

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington

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Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour

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  • Royal Basin, Olympic National Park.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Getting the first views of Royal Basin.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Reaching snow after 5 miles.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • A deer enjoying the first buds of spring.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Challenging trail conditions.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Going cross-country in Lower Royal Basin. - Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Camp above Royal Lake.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Mount Deception (7,789') overlooking Royal Basin.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Royal Basin offers plenty of lower angle slopes to mitigate wet-slide danger.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • - Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • - Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Royal Creek drainage.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Earned turns.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Heading down to Royal Lake.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • A beautiful night setting in over Royal Lake.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Seattle lights over Royal Lake.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Navigating lower Royal Basin can be challenging without a map and GPS.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • - Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
  • Snowmelt feeds the surrounding streams that accompany you on the hike out.- Royal Basin Backcountry Ski Tour
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Old-growth forest. Spring skiing. Wildlife.
Cons: 
Avalanche danger.
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Region:
Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula, WA
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
NW Forest Pass
Vertical Drop: 
1,250.00 ft (381.00 m)
Total Distance: 
14.60 mi (23.50 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
2,700 ft (823 m)
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Rain throughout the day.
57°F
39°

Thu

Rain until evening.
49°F
41°

Fri

Rain in the morning.
44°F
38°

Sat

Rain throughout the day.
54°F
39°

Sun

Rain in the morning and afternoon.
52°F
45°

Mon

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
55°F
43°

Tue

Clear throughout the day.
63°F
47°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Royal Basin features the highest concentration of 7,000' peaks in the Olympics, and many of them are skiable. The basin lies tucked in the rain shadow of the Olympic Range, an alpine bowl that produces some of the best spring corn in the Pacific Northwest. Getting there is a relatively short drive from Seattle, and much of the time is spent crossing the Puget Sound on the Bainbridge Island ferry. The 6-mile approach follows the banks of Royal Creek through an old-growth fir and hemlock stand before rising quickly into the sub-alpine zone.  Dozens of avalanche paths guard the basin throughout the winter and into the spring, so be sure to check the avalanche forecast and come equipped. Royal Lake makes for a great base camp.  Running water by mid-late May is a sure bet, and when the lake thaws, the fishing can't be beat.

Skiing in Royal Basin is easily accessed in late spring when the snow line has receded to 5,000 feet, usually by late April-early June, allowing skiers to boot-pack the trail up to Royal Basin. Winter trips into Royal Basin are possible and require expert route finding and technical backcountry travel skills. 

Reservations and permits are required May 1 through September 30 for Royal Lake and Royal Basin. They can obtained through the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles in person or by calling the WIC (360-565-3100).

Bear canisters are required for all backcountry users in Olympic National Park.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(46 within a 30 mile radius)

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