HIKE DESCRIPTION: One of the most breathtaking views in the Olympic Mountains awaits hikers on the way to the top of Mount Ellinor.
Reaching the top requires a hardy walk, but the views starts well before the 5,952-foot summit. Once you clear the trees, you’ll be able to look over Hood Canal and Lake Cushman to see Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.
Keep going higher, and Mount Baker and Glacier Peak come into view. Then, once you reach the saddle below Mount Ellinor, the Olympics are added to the mix.
It’s easy to see why this hike is one of the most popular in the Olympics.
The hike is a pretty standard uphill walk with a few switchback until it gets above the trees. The final mile to the top is the most challenging part.
DIRECTIONS: From U.S. Highway 101 in Hoodsport, turn east on state Route 119 and follow it for 9 miles until it ends at Forest Road 24. Turn right and drive 1.5 miles, then turn left on Forest Road 2419. Drive 6.2 miles to the lower trailhead. Want to shorten the hike? Keep driving 1.7 miles, turn left on Forest Road 2419-014 and follow it to the upper trailhead.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 4 (1=easiest, 5 = most difficult).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 6.2.
ELEVATION: 3,200 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: July-October most years, but it melted out early this year.
MAP: Green Trails 167 (Mount Steel) and 168 (The Brothers).
PASS: Northwest Forest Pass ($5 per day, $30 per year).
ALSO: There are three options for doing this hike. From the upper trailhead, the roundtrip is 3.2 miles and climbs more than 2,400 feet. For the longest version, start at Big Creek Campground at the intersection of state Route 119 and Forest Road 24. This option climbs 5,000 feet in 12.5 miles.
Craig Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org