Cameron Pass, Obstruction Point Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Cameron Pass - 22.0 miles
Obstruction Point Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||22.0 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||6,125' - 6,448' (4,203' low elevation : 6,448' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-1,922' net elevation loss : +8,787' total roundtrip elevation gain|
Cameron Pass - 22.0 Miles Round-Trip
Cameron Pass (6,448') is located 11 miles from Obstruction Point in Olympic National Park. It's among the highest passes served by a park trail with panoramic views over the Lost River valley and Olympic's tallest peaks.
The trail descends from Obstruction Point and rises through Grand Valley to Grand Pass, a destination that rivals Cameron. It resumes on a gravity-defying descent to Cameron Creek, which it follows into Upper Cameron Basin, a large meadow complex just below the pass.
Despite the relative modest distance for backpackers this out-and-back route is strenuous both ways, particularly the return. Snow and overgrowth may compound the challenge at various points.
Call ahead for trail conditions before setting out, and allow a minimum of two nights to comfortably reach and explore the trail's many highlights:
The trail heads south from Obstruction Point with spectacular views across open tundra toward Mt Olympus. It crests at .7 miles (6,350') and dips along a ridge between the Badger and Lillian River valleys (1.3 miles).
The trail rises up to a saddle (1.65 miles : 6,435'), then falls rapidly down steep, barren slopes. Grand Lake is in view much of the way as switchbacks thread a reconstituting forest at lower elevations (2.65 miles : 5,400').
Travel moderates to a small creek (3.05 miles : 5,065'), past which grades level into a broad meadow at the Grand Pass - Grand Lake Trail split (3.5 miles : 4,945').
The Grand Pass Trail turns up valley to the wooded north edge of Moose Lake (3.85 miles : 5,045'), emerging in open rolling meadows along its west shore (4.2 miles).
It rises over Moose Lake through the vestiges of timber to Gladys Lake (4.65 miles : 5,375'), where the valley opens with abundant wildflowers lining a network of snow-fed streams and tarns.
The trail crosses a creek and makes a decisive turn (east) across the valley (5.1 miles : 5,555') that begins a progressively steep push for the pass. Anticipate lingering snow on this section.
Travel eases around a tarn (5.9 miles : 6,380') up to Grand Pass (5.95 miles : 6,448'). Enjoy magnificent views before descending to Cameron Creek, a 2245' drop in just 1.8 miles.
The trail initially makes a long, arcing turn down the south side of Grand Pass before straightening on a rugged path beside a creek back into forest (6.65 miles : 5,540').
Tightly wound switchbacks lead through stands of subalpine fir, yellow cedar and yew on a knee-jarring descent to the Cameron Creek Trail junction (7.75 miles : 4,203').
The Cameron Creek Trail turns SW and steepens on a rough, overgrown trail with many hidden burrows. Mind your feet on this uneven stretch.
The forest abruptly opens to sloping meadows in the upper valley where you'll cross the north and south forks of Cameron Creek on a decisive southward bend up to the basin (8.9 miles : 4,772' - 9.05 miles : 4,893').
The trail is somewhat vague through this brief section, but cairns offer adequate guidance. Look for a large waterfall high in the upper valley, and back east at Mt Baker in this open area.
The trail shifts quickly in thinning forest before easing by a creek that leads up the left side of a short waterfall (9.8 miles : 5,430').
The trail forks at the top of this waterfall: the left fork leads to campsites, the less-obvious right fork crosses the creek and levels into a vast swale that is Upper Cameron Basin (9.9 miles : 5,450').
Colorful heather covers this large expanse with Cameron Pass straight ahead.
The trail clears treeline and levels one last time in a moonscape flat just below the pass (10.25 miles : 5,785'). Here it begins a strenuous push that weaves lingering snowfields up to Cameron Pass (11.0 miles : 6,448').
Mt Olympus caps the western horizon, with views of Thousand Acre Meadows, Lost Pass and the headwaters of the Dosewallips River immediately to the south.
- N47 55.101 W123 22.930 — 0.0 miles : Obstruction Point Trailhead
- N47 54.466 W123 22.465 — 1.0 miles : Rolling travel atop Lillian Ridge
- N47 54.019 W123 21.981 — 1.65 miles : Crest saddle, begin steep descent
- N47 53.933 W123 21.278 — 2.5 miles : Steep drop into upper forest
- N47 53.414 W123 20.986 — 3.5 miles : Grand Lake access trail split
- N47 53.126 W123 21.020 — 3.85 miles : North edge of Moose Lake
- N47 52.678 W123 21.511 — 4.6 miles : Gladys Lake spur
- N47 52.527 W123 21.790 — 4.95 miles : Cross to east side of valley
- N47 52.433 W123 21.700 — 5.2 miles : Begin very steep push up valley head
- N47 51.939 W123 21.375 — 5.95 miles : Grand Pass (6,448')
- N47 51.779 W123 21.144 — 6.45 miles : Arcing switchback in open slope
- N47 51.689 W123 20.849 — 7.15 miles : Steep switchbacks in thick forest
- N47 51.418 W123 20.716 — 7.75 miles : Cameron Creek Trail junction
- N47 51.175 W123 21.022 — 8.1 miles : Cross stream to campsite
- N47 50.685 W123 21.912 — 8.9 miles : Cross north fork of Cameron Creek
- N47 50.580 W123 22.010 — 9.05 miles : Cross south fork of Cameron Creek
- N47 50.296 W123 21.379 — 9.8 miles : @ top of waterfall, cross creek right
- N47 49.947 W123 21.301 — 10.3 miles : Climb from lower to upper basin
- N47 49.793 W123 21.384 — 10.55 miles : Begin steep climb to pass
- N47 49.542 W123 21.496 — 11.0 miles : Cameron Pass
- The Grand Pass - Cameron Pass route is strenuous. There's significant elevation gain each way, with variously steep and rugged conditions. Allow three days and two nights to comfortably complete the roundtrip hike and explore the route's many highlights.
- While camping in Upper Cameron Basin is preferable, there are also several campsites along Cameron Creek. These are serviceable but not desirable.
- Snow may linger and obscure portions of the trail well into summer, especially at higher elevations and on shaded slopes. Technical skills and equipment may be required into the summer to reach all passes. Only experienced hikers / climbers should attempt these passes under such conditions.
- Obstruction Point Road is subject to weather and damage closures without notice. Always call ahead for road conditions. The road sees heavy traffic when open, especially on weekends. The road is narrow with steep drop-offs in places. Weekday travel is preferable during peak season.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- There's an $8 per person - per night fee (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time.
- Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for all Grand Valley destinations. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance; the other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance. Self registration is not permitted during this time.
- Camp only in established sites, which are available at each lake.
- Food Storage: Bear canisters are not required but strongly recommended in Grand Valley. Canisters are required in Upper Cameron Basin where trees are generally not tall enough to secure food.
- Fires are not permitted in Grand Valley or in Upper Cameron Basin.
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
- A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
- Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
- The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $25 entrance fee to Olympic National Park.
- Horses are permitted up to Cameron Basin via the Cameron Creek Trail, but not via Grand Pass.
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
Obstruction Point is located 24.8 miles from the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles.
From the visitor center, follow Hurricane Ridge Road 17.3 miles to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center; just before entering the lot, turn left onto Obstruction Point Road. Follow this road 7.5 miles to the trailhead.
Obstruction Point Road is a groomed dirt road that's subject to weather and damage closures without notice. Always call ahead for road conditions. The road sees heavy traffic when open, especially on weekends. The road is narrow with steep drop-offs in places. Weekday travel is preferable during peak season.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office