After Port Angeles, a good spot for resupplying, the Pacific Northwest Trail continues into the Sol Duc portion of Olympic National Park and then descends through the Hoh Rainforest along the Bogachiel River. This section is entirely on trail with the exception of the roads leading from the national park into Forks, Washington.
The trail starts along the Elwha River. The Elwha River was brought into the national limelight with the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams that lasted from 2011 through 2014. This removal was both a historic milestone for environmental protection and the largest dam removal project ever. Flowing north from deep in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Elwha River originally attracted environmental attention because it provides spawning grounds for all five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, coho, chum, sockeye, and pink).
Leaving the Elwha River behind, the trail heads into the mountains and reaches Appleton Pass at 5,000 feet. On the way the trail passes by a constructed hot spring named Olympic Hot Springs that offers a relaxing stop in the deep forest, especially if it happens to be overcast or raining along the way. After reaching Appleton Pass the trail continues through the High Divide, an especially scenic area of Olympic National Park with high mountain lakes nestled under steep cliff faces, dramatic vistas including views of Mount Olympus, the peninsula's highest point, and the shadows of passing clouds and moisture that are a key part of the area's ecosystem. There are a number of great campgrounds in this area, all of which need to be reserved ahead of time with the appropriate permits.
The same national park restrictions for PNT hikers apply in this section of the trail. Visitors must use a solid bear canister. Ursacks, loved for their lighter weight, are not approved for use in the national park, especially considering how easily animals such as fishers or raccoons can compromise their fabric and get into the contents inside. Given the exceptions National Park Service rangers make for PNT thru-hikers, extending them the courtesy to follow the park's rules goes a long way to making sure future thru-hikers have a great support team when traversing the national parks along the trail.
After reaching Bogachiel Peak, the highest elevation gained on this section of the PNT, the trail continues along the Little Divide Trail until linking up with the North Fork River and proceeding along the Bogachiel River Trail for approximately 30 miles on the way out of the park. On the way the trail passes the Bogachiel Ranger Station as it makes its way through the densely forested Bogachiel River drainage.
While in the High Divide area, some hikers may consider taking a 4.3-mile detour (one-way) at Mink Lake to recharge at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort or even break off earlier onto the Sol Duc River Trail to see Sol Duc Falls. Hikers wishing to splurge and who are able to plan in advance can consider booking one of the cabins at the resort. As noted earlier, all travel must be planned in advance to make sure you have the right permits for where to camp each night.
The PNT eventually intersects with Highway 101 at Bogachiel State Park just outside of the national park. From here it's a few miles north along Highway 101 to Forks, Washington, the final large resupply town before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Forks has a post office and large outfitter where you can pick up food and any other supplies you might need. Tide charts can also be picked up in town for the next stage of the journey along the coast.
For additional details, refer to the following PNT sections: