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Mount Ellinor

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An Olympic classic-bag this peak for one of the most supreme views this side of Hood Canal. From the jagged summit peer deep into the heart of the Olympic wilderness or out across Lake Cushman and Puget Sound to the Cascades spanning the eastern horizon. All of this comes at a price, however-the trail to Ellinor is steep and tough.

Yes, there is an upper trailhead that shortens this hike by 3 miles and knocks 900 feet of elevation off. But why start there? The whole idea is to go hiking, not get to the mountain the shortest way possible. By beginning on the lower trailhead you get a chance to warm up for a very steep ascent, and you get to enjoy one of the finest old-growth groves this side of Copper Creek. Plus you get 1.5 miles of quiet hiking, avoiding the crowds flocking to the upper trailhead.

Begin by immediately entering a cool forest of old-growth hemlock and Douglas-fir. As the trail skirts the edges of old clear-cuts, teaser views promise what lies ahead. In about 0.5 mile the trail from Big Creek comes in from the left (the long, long way up Ellinor). Ascending steadily, the trail winds 1 mile up a heavily forested ridge to meet the upper trail at 3900 feet. The trail right descends 400 feet to meet the upper trailhead in 0.3 mile.

Now, hopefully warmed up and limber, prepare for some serious work. The incline gets steeper while the terrain gets rougher. At 2.5 miles (4600 feet) trees yield to meadows and views begin. But to quote the late not-so-great 1970s rock band, BTO, "B-b-baby, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

The winter climbing route veers right. Continue left, ascending open meadows and rocky gardens. Years ago, going beyond this point was a tricky scramble. But thanks to the hard work of the Mount Rose Volunteer Trail Crew a trail was carved into the steep mountain face, making the ascent much safer and more manageable.

Continue huffing and puffing, traversing a very steep slope. Now just a short distance from your objective, clamber north up a rocky ridge until finally, at 3.1 miles from and nearly two-thirds of a mile above the lower trailhead, reach Ellinor's magnificent summit. Wipe your brow, gulp some water, and prepare to be wowed. One mile directly below is Lake Cushman, rippling waters shining right back at you. Lots of saltwater twinkles below too, with Puget Sound and Hood Canal clearly visible. The Cascades fill the eastern horizon, with Rainier dominating the show. Percolating St. Helens is visible to the south.

Turn your attention north and westward to a diorama of jagged Olympic peaks. Washington, Pershing, and Stone, like a lineup of generals, flank Ellinor to the north. Lincoln, Cruiser, Gladys, and Copper guard her to the west. Gaze down into the vertigo-inducing Jefferson Creek valley and spot an inviting but isolated pond. You can sit on this summit for hours learning much about western Washington's geography.
Driving Directions:

From Shelton travel north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. Turn left (west) onto State Route 119 and proceed 9.3 miles to a T intersection with Forest Road 24. Turn right onto graveled FR 24, proceed 1.6 miles, and turn left onto FR 2419. After 4.8 miles come to the lower trailhead. The upper trailhead can be reached by continuing on FR 2419 for 1.6 miles to a junction. Turn left on FR 2419-014 and follow it 1 mile to the upper trailhead.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 227 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Ellinor #812,Big Creek #827 — Mar 31, 2007 — Pest
Day hike
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For some reason I can not find my report on this so I'll enter it again. Upper Big Creek Loop is in...

For some reason I can not find my report on this so I'll enter it again.

Upper Big Creek Loop is in great condition with no blow downs and lot's of evidence of recent trail work.

The connector trail is in great shape with only one little blow down near the very top of it.

What little I saw of the Lower Mount Ellinor trail was good but I only hiked it from the connector trail down to the trail head. The road is drivable all the way up to the lower trail head, or it was before this snow we got last night. I see fresh snow in the Olympics from overnight on the 2cd of April.

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Mount Ellinor #812 — Mar 20, 2007 — puff
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Parked about 20 minutes below lower trailhead due to hard icy snowbank on road. Trail to junction wi...

Parked about 20 minutes below lower trailhead due to hard icy snowbank on road. Trail to junction with upper trail is half clear and half hard snow which probably wouldn't be soft even if the temperature was > the 37 degrees we started in. Walked down road which was twice as long and posthole deep in snow. Great views from the road but none from the trail. Trail register showed a few summiters.

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Big Creek #827,Mount Ellinor #812 — Dec 13, 2006 — Pest
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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Today I started at the Big Creek Campground and went up the Upper Big Loop trail to the Ellinor conn...

Today I started at the Big Creek Campground and went up the Upper Big Loop trail to the Ellinor connector trail. I turned around just before the Lower Mount Ellinor Trailhead.

My snowshoes were dead weight on this hike, I lugged them all the way up and all the way back. The only snow I encountered was at 1700 feet and was only patchy. There was one fresh blow-down on the trail, I thought it was small enough for me to be able to move but it was not.

There is a very nice over look 3 miles and 1750 up from the Big Creek Campground and this was my turn around point today. The sun came out briefly and the view of Lake Cushman was nice. I brewed a cup of tea at the viewpoint and this combined with doing a shorter then normal hike gave me a nice hikers high that carried me all the way back to the car.

There were two other parties on the trail today and one of them had a WTA sticker on their car.

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Big Creek #827,Mount Ellinor #812 — Nov 21, 2006 — Pest
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Today I started at the Big Creek Campground 980 feet elevation and hiked up the Upper Big Creek loop...

Today I started at the Big Creek Campground 980 feet elevation and hiked up the Upper Big Creek loop to the Mount Ellinor Connector trail then up past the Lower Mount Ellinor Trial Head almost making it to the Upper Mount Ellinor Trail Head. Round trip ten miles with 2,320 feet elevation gain.

Trail is free of mud and there is not any water flowing over the trail. I find that pretty amazing considering the wet weather. It started snowing just before the junction with the lower trail. There was about two inches of snow on the ground near the Upper Trail Head. The wind was really howling up on the Mountain and it seemed like a good idea to turn around at 3,300 feet.

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Mount Ellinor #812 — Oct 30, 2006 — arjini
Day hike
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What a day! The ground was frozen solid the whole way up, but there was not a trace of snow. Crystal...

What a day! The ground was frozen solid the whole way up, but there was not a trace of snow. Crystal clear views in every direction. The view to the southwest with ridge after ridge of blue mountains was particularly memorable. The trail itself is steep, has an amazing amount of trail work put into it, and was a lot more rewarding than I expected. Unlike the Cascades to the east, none of the peaks show any snow accumlation yet.

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HoodCanal&Rainier.JPG
Hood Canal and Rainier. Courtesy of Christopher Cote.
Location
Mount Ellinor (#812)
Olympics -- East
Hood Canal Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain 3200 ft
Highest Point 5944 ft
Features
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Summits
Wildlife
Ridges/passes
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson & Babcock - Keokee) p.45-50
Green Trails Mt Steel No. 167 and The Brothers No. 168
Custom Correct Mount Skokomish-Lake Cushman

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerMount Ellinor
47.5066 -123.232083333
(47.5066, -123.2321) Open in new window
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