Summit Mount Ellinor
Washington › Mount Ellinor Upper Trailhead
Added by Nick Lake
This 3.2 mile hike offers up unbeatable views of the Olympics and mountain goats everywhere! You can make this a longer, 7.2 mile hike if you start at the lower trailhead.
Hikers who reach the summit of Mount Ellinor are treated to a rarer view of Olympic National Park, one that is notably more immersive, rugged and dynamic than the common vista from Hurricane Ridge. Ellinor’s profile is, no doubt, familiar to most Seattleites, as it’s the Olympics’ southernmost prominence visible from the city.
There are two options for hiking Mount Ellinor: a 7.2-mile roundtrip trail leaving from a lower trailhead or a 3.2-mile roundtrip jaunt that departs from an upper trailhead. Beginning at the lower starting point adds a portion of trail through old-growth forest before meeting up with the shorter trail for the final summit run.
From the upper trailhead, the path wastes no time gaining elevation with a series of stacked switchbacks before opening up into an talus slope. Mountain goats are commonly seen from this point all the way to the summit. Be sure to stay on the summer hiking trail unless snow conditions are good enough to use the winter climbing route.
The 360-degree views from the summit justify the quad-busting ascent, stretching to Mt. Olympus, Mt. Constance, The Brothers, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and all five Washington volcanoes. Stay for sunset and hike down by headlamp or, if snow conditions are good enough, glissade down the upper slope.
If it’s a hot day, make a pit stop on the way home at Skokomish Park for a dip in Lake Cushman.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- Mountain Goats are wild animals and can kill you. Don't approach, feed, follow or otherwise harass them.
- If you're going to glissade, have the proper equipment and know how to self-arrest
- 10 Essentials
- Hiking Shoes
- Camera and tripod
- Swim suit
- Hiking Poles or Ice Axe (for glissading, if snow conditions allow)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
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Exhausting But A Must Do
The ascent of this hike is pretty brutal. It was steep and we were constantly being harassed by bees, flies and hornets. That being said, I would still do it again in a heartbeat. The views are incredible and it feels like there are mountain goats everywhere. A must do.
Pretty Good! Pretty Short!
It took us exactly 2 hours to get to the lower trailhead from Seattle. The upper trailhead is apparently still closed from what I've seen. The snow starts at the fork between the summer and winter route paths. You don't need snowshoes, so don't bring them. Just bring a pair of gators and micro spikes or ice trax to keep your feet beneath you. I recommend bringing a pole as well as an ice axe. The snow is getting too soft to use an axe for support on your ascent, but it will be required for glissading down. It was hazy when we went but you could still see Baker, Seattle, Tacoma, Rainier, Adams, and St Helens.
Minimal effort and huge rewards
This is a short hike with EPIC views for the effort. 360 panoramic views- Puget Sound on one side and the heart of the Olympics on the other. I would recommend an early start since this hike can get very crowded.
This hike is amazing!
I did this hike last May, it was a super foggy day so we didn't get any of the incredible views, but it was still gorgeous. I recommend it rain or shine! And it can get pretty chilly up there so come prepared with a wind or rain jacket just in case!
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