Directions: About 60 miles from Olympia take Highway 101 to Hoodsport. Turn left and follow signs to Lake Cushman and Staircase. Follow road until you reach a T where you can go to Staircase to the left or Mt Ellinor to the right, turn right. After about 4 miles, turn left to go uphill. Signs are visible. Follow road up for about 5 miles. Take another left after giant pile of rocks and sign for Mt Ellinor. Trailhead is near Port-A-Potties (seasonal)
“Easy” Hike: Strenuous at times. Be sure to bring Walking sticks and plenty of water. While only 1.6 miles from upper parking lot, there is an elevation gain of over 2400ft (3500-5900ft). Bathrooms are available at the Trailhead. If you need to expel waste while hiking, do so 50 feet from the trail and on a rock or snow patch.
Trail Breakdown: 3 main sections
-Section 1: .30 miles of a straight up trail in a dense forest and well-marked trail. Elevation gain is 400ft.
– Section 2: .70 miles of switchbacks through a forest. Rest benches are available, as you gain 600 feet. Loose pebbles and dirt can cause spots where the trail is loose. Great views are available at the top of this section.
– Section 3: .60 miles of scree and steps carved into rock. This has an elevation gain of over 1400ft, so take your time. In some areas, the rock is a little loose, so test your steps before you commit. Despite the difficulty, amazing views unfold nearly every step. Mountain Goat encounters in this section are possible, so keep an eye out.
Summit: From here on a clear day, it is possible to see more than just the city of Seattle, Mt Olympus, Mt Baker, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and Saint Helens, the Capitol Dome in Olympia, Hood Canal and the Puget Sound. Hawks, birds, goats and chipmunks are also frequently seen. As usual, keep all trash in your bag, and keep it zipped; the chipmunks know what is inside.
Final Thought: You MUST hike/climb this sometime. It is difficult, but hikers of all levels can do this. Sure, you might be a little tired or have small muscle aches, but the views from the top and the feeling of accomplishment make up for everything.
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK TRAILS
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