This backpacking trip can easily be done in 2 days, but some people prefer to stretch it out to 3. Luckily there are several different spots to stop and camp, so you can split up the distance however you are the most comfortable. The elevation over the course of the trail is minimal, which means that you can spend most of your time just enjoying the views! The signs show that Enchanted Valley is 13.5 miles from the trail head, but it’s more like 15 miles.
The first stop on the journey is at Pony Bridge which is approximately 3 miles from the trail head. It provides gorgeous views of the river below and there are a few campsites around the area. If you are just looking for a day hike to enjoy some of the views, out and back to Pony Bridge would be it!
Hike another 4 miles to reach ONeil Creek. The trail is winding with some gain and loss of elevation. It follows the river for much of the trail. This is also where we saw a large herd of elk and a slug that was almost 8 inches long!
Travel another 3.2 miles through some open fields to Pyrites Creek. This is where we decided to set up camp for tonight even though it hadn’t been our original plan. We had been hoping to camp in Enchanted Valley, but you aren’t allowed to hang your food at those site (Pyrites is the only location where you are allowed to hang food), and we didn’t have a bear box so that was our only option! Note: Pyrites has a food hanging system so you don’t need to rope it up yourself. The campsite was spacious and flat with sitting logs and plenty of shade right near the water. Definitely a nice site.
Continue another 3.5-4.5 miles to Enchanted Valley (this is where the distance seems a little iffy). This part of the trail is sketchy with fallen trees and a winding trail, but it is worth it at the end!
After enjoying the view (or maybe camping there) start the trek back. This hike it seriously beautiful and we loved it even though it rained on us virtually the entire trip (it is Washington after all). After we got down and dirty we headed to the coast of the park for some beach time and I highly recommend that!
- Sleeping bag/pad
- Pack rain cover
- Water treatment tabs
- Fire starters (you can start a fire in the provided fire rings)
- Swiss army knife
- Hatchet or knife for cutting wood for the fire
- Layers (rain coat and plenty of extra socks)
- Cards (for when you are being rained into the tent)
- Any other comforts you like to backpack with