Hiking the Olympic Mountain Range: Mt. Ellinor (This is a MUST!)

Summited July 30, 2017

One of my favorite hikes to date.

 

Is it ironic to rate a mountain on a five-star system? That’s what the Washington Trail Association Trailblazer app does….and we love it.

For the last two years I created a Goals Sheet (which you can download for free here!) One of those goals was to explore one new place a month. We used the Trailblazer app while living in Washington to find a new hike each weekend and the Olympic Mountain Range never disappoints.

Ellinor is located on the Olympic Peninsula near the Hood Canal; a favorite location of ours for weekend warrior trips with our dog. You can check out more in the Passport section!

Grab your Northwest Forest Pass and drive out, rain or shine (but hoping for shine!)

The pass is FREE for military and good for 12 months from date of purchase. Perfect for a one-time visit or a move to this beautiful state! If you don’t want to purchase one, enter at the lower trailhead on Ellinor.

Mt. Ellinor lets you choose from two different trailheads. If you find old growth peaceful like the set of a movie scene, choose the lower trailhead. If you want to cut off a few miles but go STRAIGHT UP immediately choose the upper trailhead.

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I’m a little scared of saying this was my favorite hike of all time but if the hiking boot fits then, yes, this is a MUST! This made my knees feel like I was 85 years-old, there were a ton of bugs, I started in summer clothes and ended in winter clothes, I trekked vertically up rocks, held back my dog from being an a**hole to other dogs, smelled wildflowers and slid down a snow and ice covered mountain…it was an entire adventure in 6.2 miles roundtrip.

Although it felt long with all the obstacles and it was surprisingly hotter than we thought, the mountain was packed. When it felt like my knees were made of rusted iron I told myself ‘kids, dogs and parents with babies were summiting so you can too’ 😉

There are several switchbacks that were in great condition. They are long and winding at the bottom but once you exit the growth to the rockier terrain it’s a more vertical and staircase type terrain.

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Before I forget, are you looking for someone to write

a little somethin’ special for you?

Tell me about it!

We came up on a large field of icy snow (end of July? Snow?) Yup.

We stepped off to the side to add a couple layers, gloves and Yaktrax. I honestly am not sure how much they helped but the traction was nice on the short snow field.

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Otherwise, a majority of the hike was dusty and there were several rock areas that took a second to navigate with other hikers. The steps were easily marked and the views were incredible throughout. If you find it easy to look around and enjoy where you are, you’ll be in heaven. This was one of those treks that had me counting my blessings: Strong legs, endurance, working lungs, the ability to climb and hike which is denied to many and the urge to explore with an able body that many deny. Think about that…

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It’s going to feel like you’re far enough and ready to head back down…but DON’T! You have made it this far and trust me when I say the views change and get better the further up you go! Yes, it’ll be steep but you can see every big mountain and city so just do it. K? K.

Another thing to note if you have kids or dogs, paths will be narrower the further up you go so be prepared to step aside especially in busy months. (It was pretty busy when we went). The ‘rule’ is the people coming up keep working and the people coming down step aside. Sometimes it’s nice to use that step aside as a breather though, ammirighttttt.

 

When we finally reached the top there was more snow that Argo immediately layed down for a nap in. It was hilarious because as it slowly melted, he slid down. There are a few rocky areas to sit or climb around on for that IG shot to show you did something cool and you can look down the sheer faces to valleys and water below.

Words and iPhone photos really can’t do this justice. You just need to experience it.

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You did it. You just gained 3,300 feet in 6.2 miles of crowded hiking paths through almost every terrain you could experience. You reached the highest point at 5,944 ft. with 360-degree views. You earned views of Lake Cushman, We also saw Mt Baker, Mt Adams, Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Rainier. Careful on your way down–as your legs are probably shaking–and grab an ice cream at our favorite Hoodsport Coffee Company. You sure as hell deserve it.

 

Cheers from our post-hike snack to yours!

Marin

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