Historic Press Traverse Featured Image

Historic Press Traverse

Seattle, WA
4.8 (9 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Historic Explorer Route
  • Abundant Wildlife
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Ancient Old Growth Rainforests
  • Mountains, Rivers & Valleys
  • Remote Wilderness


Follow the course of the original Press Expedition’s traverse of the Olympic Mountains (1889-1890). This 44 mile south-north traverse of the Olympics took the Press Expedition 6 months over one of the worst winters on record, but we’ll take 5 days (or 6, with a layover to explore in the middle). We’ll climb through primeval rainforests, ford deep rivers, and relax in wide open alpine valleys. This traverse will take us through some of the most remote parts of Olympic National Park, and you’ll earn your bragging rights for traversing the entire park!

Read more …
6 Days
$2040 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 6 Days
Distance: 53+MI / 85+KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

This trip earns its Level 5 difficult for 3 primary reasons: 1) long days of hiking with significant elevation changes; 2) pack weights of 35-45 pounds, and 3) downed trees and river crossings.

Hiking Distances:

6-9 mi

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs


Significantly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

1600 ft

Heights Exposure:


Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.


  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on significantly rugged terrain


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Olympic National Park hike a solitude 4. You can expect to see a couple other groups of hikers per day.

The most common way to reach Olympia is by flying into Seattle and renting a vehicle or shuttling to Olympia (approximately 1 hour). SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport is one of the most easily accessed destinations in the country. Many major cities in the United States and internationally offer direct flights into Seattle.

The shuttle to Olympia is provided by Capital Aeroporter and costs $30-$45 per person each way. Go to www.capair.com/olympia or call 800-962-3579 to make reservations.

Washington State does not charge sales tax on services, so there is no sales tax for this trip.

All trips in Olympic National Park have a 3% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is applied when your reservation is made and is passed through directly to the national park.

There are no other taxes or fees associated with this trip. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 2.5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet

This multi-day Olympic National Park hiking trip begins with pick up at your hotel in Olympia. After a 2.5-hour scenic drive, we’ll begin hiking along the North Fork of the Quinault River. We’ll start with gentle grades along the river bottom, and then weave back and forth through many shallow creeks, and cross several bridges over narrow ravines while climbing up above the river floor. Big leaf maples give way to Sitka Spruce as we wind further into the wilderness, before reaching our first camp along the beautiful Elip Creek.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 10.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2800 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 300 feet

Day 2 is our big climb day. We’ll cross swift creeks and ford the Quinault river, climb through ancient old-growth forests, and keep an eye out for blazes and marks from the original Press Expedition. We’ll eventually make our way up the Low Divide—the separation between the Quinault and Elwha rivers—and enter a beautiful sub-alpine meadow of the Low Divide with views of Mt. Seattle. We’ll make camp here and relax in the wide open meadows at the summit of our hike.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1700 feet

On day 3, we’ll continue across the Low Divide and on the way we’ll pass two icy alpine lakes, where we could stop for a brief swim if we have the time and courage. From there we drop quickly into the Elwha basin as we begin our descent following the Elwha River toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Open meadows, maple flats, and river views will accompany us on our way, as we hike along and ford the cool waters of the Elwha River. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for black bears, elk, and deer in the forest and the bright flash of fish such as rainbow trout or one of several species of salmon in the river. Our hiking day will finish at Camp Wilder, situated next to a large, dry channel of the Elwha that is perfect for star-gazing if the weather is favorable.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 800 feet

Day 4 brings us past more river fords, more old growth, and more beautiful river valleys. The glacial blue-green of the Elwha will deepen in color, while the vegetation changes as we continue to drop into warmer, more temperate climates. Along the way, we’ll begin passing signs of early settlement along the Elwha, including the historic Remann’s Cabin, a 1920’s fishing cabin, and we’ll meet up with hikers on the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) as it joins our trail at the Hayes River Guard Station. After a long but rewarding hiking day following the Elwha River, we’ll arrive at the Elkhorn Guard Station situated right on the river where we’ll camp for the night.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1300 feet

Our hike on Day 5 brings us to the upper end of the recovery zone of the Elwha River. Two recent dam removals are changing the landscape of the Elwha River, and restoring it to a balanced ecosystem. Salmon and riparian plants are returning, and as we get closer to the old dam sites, we’ll see how much has changed in just a few years. We’ll pass more historic structures just before camp at Humes Ranch, the site of a family homestead at the turn of the 20th century. We’ll set our camp there, on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Elwha River and enjoy our last night in the backcountry.

Day 6

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 350 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1250 feet
  • Shuttle to Olympia: 3 hours

Our final day begins as we finish the last several miles of trail, and if time allows, a stroll past the turbulent whirlpools of Goblin Gates. We’ll emerge at Whiskey Bend Trailhead, which is no longer accessible by most cars due to road washouts in the spring floods since the dams were removed. However, we might encounter a truck full of field biologists coming to study the recovery of the Elwha River. We’ll finish our journey with a walk along the Whiskey Bend Road, where we’ll pass the remains of the Glines Canyon dam with an amazing overlook of the floodplain of former Lake Mills as well as stand on remnants of the dam itself. After losing most of our elevation for the day, we’ll reach the washed out areas of the road that prevent vehicles from reaching the trailhead, and the bypass trails that now provide access for hikers and backpackers. Finally, we’ll reach the Madison Falls Trailhead, having completed the Press Traverse in a fraction of the time of the original explorers (and hopefully avoiding most of their trials, tribulations, and blizzards as well). We’ll drive through Port Angeles and get some views of the Hood Canal as we drive back towards Olympia, and deliver you to your hotel for a well-deserved shower and a real bed.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking


Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book


This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast


This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation


This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Olympic National Park hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Olympia and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear to Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

What Clothes to Bring

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will conduct a virtual orientation meeting (via conference call) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins to review the packing list, communicate the first day’s logistics and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will give you the phone number for this call during the pre-trip contact approximately 10 days before your trip start date.

Early on the morning of Day 1 your guide will pick you up from your accommodations in Olympia, WA.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry an emergency communication device. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Olympic backpacking trips is 6 guests, with a maximum of 10 guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park covers a dramatic diversity of terrain from seashores to rainforests to alpine peaks and glaciers. The weather will be largely dependent on which trip you sign up for and which ecosystem you will be hiking in. Read below for average high and low temperatures in different parts of Olympic National Park:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
3.8 in
3.9 in
2.8 in
2.1 in
2.8 in
2.2 in
4.4 in
4.7 in
11 in
8.5 in



Backcountry Sleeping


Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine


Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites


Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.8 (9 reviews)
Lucas F

Top-notch Adventure Company

9 months ago

Honestly, it was amazing. Our Guide, Jen is great at building connections, she's knowledgeable about the trail, plants, and wildlife. We had an amazing group of people, the food was incredible, and the views were breathtaking. If you are up for a challenge, this is your trip, Wildland Trekking is a top-notch adventure company, can't recommend them more!

Christina M

Super Positive Experience

10 months ago

The whole experience with Wildland Trekking was super positive. After looking at website and being impressed, I called and talked to someone who shared all the trips I could sign up in my time frame. I booked somewhat last minute but everything was easy. Everything went great! Lifetime memory for sure. What really made the trip incredible was our guide, Jen Giddens. She was guide + chef + llama + badass. She was completely attentive to our needs without being in our business. She created a great vibe for our group who really connected (that's luck of the draw somewhat, but a great guide can make it more likely). She spent extra effort on the food, cooking three solid, yummy meals a day and asked for feedback. We felt pretty spoiled but enjoyed how she cooked, clean and took care of us. We knew she was watching out for out safety and took care whenever we had a blister (KY Tape a MUST!). When someone had a little spill she carried their huge bag for them a while. I would do this trip or any other trip with Jen in a heartbeat. She's a star!

Amy S

Wonderful, memorable adventure

10 months ago

This trip was such a wonderful, memorable adventure. Jenn was so awesome throughout the entire trek—she was encouraging, well prepared, and made camp life so enjoyable and fun! I couldn’t have imagined a better guide. Thank you for the experience!

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