Hiking Olympic National Park
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)
© 2015 Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
The trail is totally blown over about two miles in. A massive wind storm in the winter of 07 leveled the entire south side of the mountain, making it totally irrepairable. It is possible to traverse the log jam, but i wouldnt do it unless youre in excellent physical shape. Pete's creek is still a go though!
This is a great day hike, but you may want to wait until late-July or August to hike to the peak, depending on the year's snowfall. We intended to hike the 8.4 mile roundtrip route from the Pete's Creek Trailhead to the peak, but we encountered snow on the north-side of the pass near Moonshile Flats (around 3500 feet/1 mile from the peak). The snow was thick enough that it made it difficult to follow the trail, and we sunk down above our knees a few times. It was late afternoon and raining, so we opted to save the rest of the hike for another day.
Although the elevation gains pretty quickly on this hike (3500 feet over 4.2 miles), the trail is well groomed, so it is not too strenuous. There were some downed trees along the way, which made it difficult in one or two places to find the trail, but other than that it was very well maintained.
The hike starts out in thick cedar and fir forest, wanders along the pristine Pete's Creek (there are some great opportunities to take pictures of the classic moss-covered, cascading rainforest waterfalls), and eventually emerges onto a steep mountain meadow (many assorted pretty flowers in early July) before reaching the pass. Even though we only made it to Moonshine Flats, it was well worth the trip, because Fletcher Canyon stretches out beautifully below you, with the rush of waterfalls playing in the background to clear views of the valley and the peaks of the Olympics beyond it.
I look forward to returning to finish the hike someday.
Closed to stock. No recent report. Deep snow in the high country.
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