On the eastern slopes of the Olympic Mountains, the wild and scenic river valleys seem to have endless and timeless forests full of rugged terrain. The Washington State Fjord receives glacial waters from the summit summits that possess a treasure chest of natural wonder and awe up the river from the Hood Canal. Full of adventure, beauty and solitude, Hamma Hamma River Valley is one of the hidden gems of the Olympic Peninsula, filled with life and outdoor life, competing with the majesty of nature found elsewhere in the country. Hamma Hamma is home to an endangered salmon that runs in the river while bears, cougars, mountains and marmots roam the hills and cliffs of this stunning terrain. To see Hamma Hamma is to see a piece of land with unnoticed backcountry glory. Hamma Hamma is one of many rivers included in The Wild Olympics Wilderness and the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.
Few outside the Olympic Peninsula know the name Hamma Hamma; but for those who live, love and explore the Olympics, Hamma Hamma is synonymous with excitement, adventure and pure natural bliss. Hamma Hamma, which falls nearly 5,000 feet at 15 miles, encapsulates the eastern slope of the Olympic Mountains perfectly. From Murdock and Mildred Lakes, the water falls over stunning waterfalls through lush forests and tumbles over giant bloopers that lie along the shore. The deep valley is surrounded by rugged peaks that reflect perfectly from the pristine water of the many high alpine lakes. Cascading down to the river, dozens of streams and creeks create amazing seasonal waterfalls.
The highlight for many who first see the Hamma Hamma River comes from two uniquely different locations. Hamma The Hamma River is usually seen along road stops near the Lena Lake Trail parking lot. Here are stunning trees along the banks, while the river roars downstream and patches the sides of moss-covered rocks. Stretches and bubbling stretches of Hamma Hamma are perfect for adventurous kayakers hoping to see the stunning sights along this proposed wild and scenic river. Like most rivers on the proposal, the paddling is almost as intense as the beauty found on both sides of the river.
While the lower stretches are slower and more scenic, the upper part of Hamma Hamma is really wild. At the end of Forest Service Road, near the trail to Mildred Lakes, the stunning Upper Hamma Hamma Falls drops down 75 feet over two pitches. While the views from the bridge are decent, with an adventurous spirit, they have a primitive path to a few vantage points where the waterfalls show their true beauty. Surrounded by trees, the waterfalls have eroded the rock and formed this picturesque waterfall. The falls have gained attention among the more extreme kayakers and have quickly become a leap worthy of regional bragging rights. Don’t worry, if you have no desire to drive down the waterfalls, the views both up and down the river from the bridge that spans the top of the waterfall are priceless and breathtaking.
For hikers and backpackers, the Hamma Hamma region of the Olympics is a playground for recreational enthusiasts. Five jaw-dropping paths await those who are willing to get a little height. Hamma The Hamma River Valley is like many river valleys on the eastern slope of the Olympic Mountains: steep, wild and beautiful. There are very few walks along Hamma Hamma that are flat; most trade in the gentle quality found on the west side of the Olympic for trails that burn the four-wheelers. The easiest path to a spectacular destination along Hamma Hamma is the popular and beautiful Lena Lake Trail. This incredible path climbs up from near the river and works its way up through a beautiful forest before reaching a wooden bridge and a rocky section that leaves you in awe. From here, the path climbs past a giant rock before finally reaching the picturesque Lena Lake. Perfect for lunch, a camping trip or even further adventure. Lena Lake is the perfect introduction to the landscape of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.
Past Lena Lake, from the same trail, await two opportunities for hikers, backpackers and climbers in the Brothers Wilderness and Olympic National Park. On the north side of the lake, a small path weaves through a desert region that resembles a location from the Lord of the Rings movie. When green moss hangs over boulders in a car, towering trees penetrate in all directions. Out here in the shadow of the iconic mountain known as the brothers, it is impossible to miss the majesty of the Olympic wilderness. Over time, if Congress supports the proposed land in the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, the entire Hamma Hamma River could look like this.
In order not to be overtaken, the second trail, which branches off from Lena Lake, leads into Olympic National Park to Upper Lena Lake. Like a miniature version of the Many Glacier Region of Glacier National Park, Upper Lena Lake is stunning, beautiful and one of the many hidden gems of Olympic National Park. As Mount Bretherton and Mount Lena tower over the lake, marmots and mountains velvet in the hills. Upper Lena Lake is a favorite for backpackers and is a perfect example of the beauty found in and over the Hamma Hamma River Valley.
At the end of the Forest Service Road, located on the Hamma Hamma River, you can reach the trail to Mildred Lakes. Mildred Lakes is a wild destination in the Olympics that is loved by fishing enthusiasts, day hikers and backpackers. The region, which sees very few visitors, is one of two places that help create the Hamma Hamma River and is as remote as it is breathtaking. The hike is difficult to follow, as the path sometimes disappears in spots. It is the place of solitude and quiet reflection along the Hamma Hamma River and where the wild spirit of the mighty river is created.
The highlight of most along the Hamma Hamma River is found up the Carl Putvin Trail between the Lena Lake Trailhead and the Mildred Lakes Trailhead. The trail runs along the often overlooked trail in the countries included in the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the trail is short, steep and incredible. As the trail ascends the Hamma Hamma River Valley, hikers and backpackers eventually enter the desert of the Olympic National Forest. Climbing over main walls that provide waterfall views and views when the trail finally reaches the first of many incredible sights. Known as the Valley of Heaven, outdoor enthusiasts find themselves looking at the Olympic mountains, which are reflected from the pond of the false prophet. Here, the path enters the Olympic National Park and climbs up a steeper hill to lead to one of the most amazing gems of the Olympic National Park: Lake of the Angels is home to stunning views of Skokomish Mountain, flocks of mountains and whistling marmots. around the pristine alpine lake. This area perfectly encapsulates the Hamma Hamma River and provides a glimpse of the unique and wild beauty that the entire region possesses. Hamma Hamma, with the gems like the Lake of the Angels, is how many explorers have their souls forever connected to the soothing and inspiring power of the Wild Olympics.
Hamma Hamma is one of many rivers in The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, reintroduced last year by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer. The bill will permanently protect over 126,000 acres of new wilderness areas in the Olympic National Forest and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and their tributaries as wild and scenic rivers – the first ever wild and scenic rivers on the peninsula. Wild Olympics legislation is designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests, clean water and improve outdoor life and has been approved by over 550 local businesses, athletes, outdoor groups, faith leaders, conservation groups and local elected officials; and more than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support. Sign the petition and help preserve these amazing countries.
This article was written by Douglas Scott. Through his many guidebooks, including the final guide to the Olympic National Park and 52 hikes Olympic Peninsula, the best trails and experiences in and around the Wild Olympic Games can be found. More information about Douglas and his work can be found at Outdoor-Society.com.