Day hiking Upper Lena Lake in Olympic
National Park (14+ miles with 3900 ft elevation gain)
This Album Background:
Lower Lena Lake! Upper Lena Lake! Strenous Upper
I heard about these popular hiking lakes so many times from many different
hikers. Weather supposed to be lousy (Rained a lot during the night and 90%
chance of rain on the hiking day). I was determined to hike this trail rain or
shine. I was glad to hike with 5 hikers from the Pennsular Wilderness Club
mountaineers club, and the Kitsap Outdoors. 8-9 people also hiked the lower Lena. The weather turned out very nice. It was sunny most
of time. It started to drizzle during half of the downhill and quite a bit of
raining for the last mile or so. It was a fun day-hike to a splended sub-alpine
(Lower Lena) and alpine lake (Upper Lena) !
The Lower Lena
Lake is located in the Brothers
Wilerness and the Upper
is located between Mt Lena and Mt Bretherton in the southwestern edge of the
Olympic National Park. The trail started from the Mt Skokomish Wilderness, to
the bountries of The Brothers Wilderness, then to the edge of the Olympic
National Park. A round trip of 14+ miles with 3900 ft elevation gain provided
good exercise without a doubt. For the scenaries, I still give the Royal Basin
(NE of the Olympic National Park) as the most rewarding day-hiking views but
having killed two birds (Lower and Upper Lena Lakes) with one stone made this
hike well worth it. The upper Lena
Lake offered the gorgeous
alpine meadow views with mountains looming overhead with just right weather. We
had excellent views of the Mt Bretherton (5960ft), Mt Lena (5995 ft), and some
alpine meadows. We probably saw the Brothers Mt (6866 ft) also.
14+ miles round trip with 3900 ft elevation
gain. Temp 50-60F with no breeze. As expected, it rained on us only at the end
(last one mile or so). Thanks to Doug Terry who coordinated this hiking for
both the Kitsap Outdoors and the PWC. For both organizations, he is a
volunteer, a leader, a mentor, and a coordinator for hiking and backpacking.
Doug and two other experienced hikers (John & Andy) were my mentors during
my first day hiking with the Kitsap Outdoors about 2 months ago. It was an
excellent hiking to the Flapjack
Lakes (16 miler with 3100
ft elev gain) from staircase trailhead in Mt Skokomish Wilderness to Olympic
National Park. Luckily, it was a nice day (we swam at the Lake
!). On that day, I hiked with my son's old school bag with five bottles of
water wearing all cotton outfit (as I hiked the Mt Townsend with my family),
non-waterproof shoes, and double socks, etc. I remember them well that they had
nice hiking outfits, necessaries, etc. Surely, they taught me well. At any
rate, for this hike, 6 hikers met at the Poulsbo church for carpooling at 0730.
Other group of 8-9 hikers also hiked the lower Lena Lake.
We started hiking from the Hamma Hamma trailhead at 0920 and arrived at lower Lena Lake
at 1050. Spend some time at the Chapel Rock and arrived at the Upper Lena lake at 1330. Left the Upper Lena Lake at 1430 and arrived back at the
trailhead at 1745. It was a decent pace with a bunch of strong hikers.
The first 2.8 miles (with 1250ft elevation gain)
was straight forward with gentle slop to the Lower Lena Lake. We hiked to there in 1.5 hours.
While the hikers were taking a break at the Chapel Rock, I did little excursion
from the group exploring the camp sites around the Lower Lena Lake, and met up my group at the creek
crossing. I did not count the # of camp sites but told a total of 28 sites!
Nice camp sites, some with fire pits. Going up to the creek crossing, I got
lost a little but was able to figure out the right way using a map and a
compass to rejoin my group near the creek crossing. Running up to the creek to
rejoin my group, I got my most exercise for the day ! The Lower Lena area
(elevation 1900 ft) could be a base camp to explore the submit of the Brothers
Mt., Mt. Lena, Mt. Bretherthen, etc. with a nice camp fire since it is below
3500 ft elevation. Next two miles were continuing gentle slops and some
downhills with long switchbacks. The last two miles (2000 ft elevation gain)
were steep odd switchbacks with lots of tree roots and rocks, and required some
scrambling by grappling on the tree roots and rocks. At the Upper Lena Lake, LOTS OF MOSQUITOSES but not as bad as was the Royal Basin
(NE of the Olympic National Park). Coming back down for the first two miles was
dicey due to its steep trails with very slippery roots. Some rocks were also
slippery. Each step needed to be taken with extreme precaution. About half way
down, it was started drizzling and got heavier about one more to go. Four of us
just hiked down as fast as we could. In overall, it was a good hike to an
Alpine Lake, some meadows, and the mountains looming over the lake.