The Anderson massif is one of the most visually stunning, physically imposing, and geographically significant mountain regions in the Olympics. Its glaciated peaks are the most substantial in the eastern Olympics, and its central location makes it an apex for drainage from the Olympic Range. The Quinault River heads west to the Pacific Ocean, the Dosewallips River drains east to the Hood Canal, and the Hayes River flows north to join the Elwha River before emptying into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Anderson Glacier sits on the south side of the massif, located below the summit of 7,321-foot Mount Anderson and a smaller peak, the 7,100-foot Echo Rock. Beyond Echo Rock rises the 7,365-foot summit of West Peak. East of Mount Anderson rises the smaller East Peak. A more substantial glacier, Eel Glacier, lies on the northern side of the Anderson massif. For those inclined, West Peak and Mount Anderson offer some of the most remote mountaineering opportunities in the Olympic Range, the latter being the more frequent ascent.
Anderson Glacier is reached via a spur trail originating from the 4,464-foot Anderson Pass. Anderson Pass is most frequently accessed via Enchanted Valley to the west or the West Fork of the Dosewallips River Trail to the east. These trails could also be linked as a through trip, or alternatively linked with trails from the Duckabush River or North Fork Skokomish River to the south for an even longer adventure. The route for this adventure was via the Enchanted Valley/Graves Creek Trailhead. As Enchanted Valley has been covered independently, content here will focus primarily on traveling from the valley to the glacier.
Enchanted Valley is a 13-mile hike from the Graves Creek Trailhead through the rain forest along the Quinault River, where there are many intermittent campsites. Departing Enchanted Valley to the northeast along the Quinault River, the trail to Anderson Glacier climbs approximately 3,400 feet in roughly 7 miles. Approximately 2.1 miles from Enchanted Valley stands what remains of what was once the world's largest western hemlock. The first 3.2 miles from the valley climbs slowly to White Creek near where a trail junction heads south to O'Neil Pass. Snow melt streams are plentiful from this point, but given the climbing that's about to begin, White Creek makes a great place to rest and refill water. The next 3 miles climbs 2,650 feet to Anderson Pass. Snow lingers on the pass well into summer, which can make the spur trail difficult to locate. Signage was down at the time of this adventure. The spur trail will climb another 1,000 feet in approximately 0.8 miles up and over a small southern ridge that suddenly gives way to the craggy Anderson massif, Anderson Glacier, and a beautiful turquoise blue alpine lake.