A steep thigh-burner that doesn't offer much in the way of views, but will give you the workout you're looking for should you be training for Rainier or any other grueling ascents. The Aurora Creek trail rises an astonishing 3700 feet in 3.4 miles, from the edge of Hwy 101 to its junction with the Aurora Ridge Trail.
The trailhead for Aurora Creek is barely distinguishable from the forest lining Hwy 101 on the south side of Lake Crescent. It is unmarked, approximately 2.6 miles west of the turn off for Lake Crescent Lodge. Parking is scarce, but there are few people who attempt this hike on a regular basis, so there should be plenty of room for your car.
After you duck into the forest, the faint, sometimes hard-to-follow trail rises steeply in a series of broad switchbacks that take you away from Aurora Creek and onto the ridge just east of it. The moderate-to-steep grade hardly lets up for the entire route to the Aurora Ridge Trail.
The hike is pretty heavily forested, save for a few short stretches near Sourdough Mountain where peek-a-boo views may be had depending on weather. Mossy old growth Douglas-firs abound, and occasionally one can see the sapphire blue of Lake Crescent through the trees, as well as Pyramid Mountain's huge washout. If you can bear the ascent, views from Aurora Ridge are a marked improvement over the views from this trail.
- 6.8 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 3670 feet
- Highest Point
- 4200 feet
Hiking Aurora Creek
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.0536, -123.9893 Open in Google Maps