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Baldy

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast
View map below

Length

7.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 3800 ft.
Highest Point: 6827 ft.

Rating

3.57 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

Baldy is a windswept mountain outpost that commands a view over the northeast Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To reach its lofty summit the hiker must trade traditional grade for a seemingly never-ending staircase. However, your efforts are greatly rewarded, as views can be had along the ridge, even if the summit itself is lost in the clouds.

Begin by walking around the road barrier that effectively ends Forest Road 270, passing the steep side trail to Tyler Peak on the right. Once back on the old road bed, continue through overgrown daisies on eroding tread that leads to a camp site along Mueller Creek. The Baldy trail descends to the left into the rocky creek bed which runs swiftly in early summer.

Good, flat road bed resumes on the opposite bank, now a hallway of juvenile Douglas-firs. At 0.3 miles, the Baldy trail departs to the right just after a shallow trench. Salal may obscure the trail, but the break in the trees is obvious. The trail begins climbing over roots and among rhododendrons beneath second-growth fir and hemlock, aiming toward the nose of the ridge.

From this point on the trail rises to a pitch that is uncomfortably steep, gaining 3000 feet in just over 2 miles. The angle is severe enough that it resembles a climbers path, although the tread is wide and nicely graded. Roots offer their assistance as steps at various points along the way.

At 0.5 mile cross the upper portion of the decommissioned road at 3600 feet and continue uphill on a gravelly tread that swings left across an eroded slope. Step carefully here as the tread is barely a foot wide. Back in the forest, the trail is cool under the shade of pines and firs, although the grade does not relent. Occasional views open into the upper Dungeness Valley, the shimmering snowfields of Mount Constance marking its headwaters.

At 1.3 miles the forest canopy opens into an apparent slot, the old Maynard Burn track, cut by the Forest Service as a fire barrier. The once-clear swath is now grown in with young pines, firs, and lupine. The trail swings left just before a flat clearing, wide enough for several tents, and heads into old-growth subalpine forest as it resumes climbing the ridge.

At 2 miles, the forest thins and views open up to rocky Tyler Peak and the basin below. The trail then enters a very steep meadow and crosses a rocky ravine on crumbly footing. It then heads upward into trees before coming out again higher in the same meadow. The tread here becomes faint and meandering as a result of early season hikers’ various attempts to avoid mud. To keep the route clear, and to minimize your impact on the landscape, stick to the trail even when it's muddy. You can clean your boots after your hike, and the surrounding plants will thank you. 

The trail finally reaches the ridge top at 2.7 miles and 6200 feet with a view that now includes Vancouver Island. Baldy can also be seen above the basin from which the last water can be obtained by means of a steep downhill side path. Stay left, on the ridge, to resume the route to Baldy. From this point on the route loses its status of 'trail'; a rough path climbs 300 feet in just 0.15 mile to a low peak on Gray Wolf Ridge.

The massive, arid bulk of Baldy now rises tall over the saddle before you. The route is obvious from now on, passing through the last thin stand of trees on the ridge. Winds frequently blast the saddle, clouds swirling about or roaring through the gap during ominous weather. The trail continues to make a beeline for Baldy, the final 400 vertical feet of which feel eternal.

At 3.6 miles the summit itself suddenly comes into view, a nice campsite sitting right among the top rocks. Famous summits dominate the horizon in all directions, including Mounts Olympus, Baker, Rainier, and Glacier Peak. The Needles stand sharp above Royal Basin, holding snow well into late summer, contrasting with the stark and barren immediate environs.

 

Baldy

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.8829, -123.1427 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast

Lower Maynard Burn Trail (#816), Upper Dungeness Trail (#833.2), Upper Maynard Burn (#816.2)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Olympic Mountains Trail Guide - Robert L. Wood

Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness

Buy the Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168S map

Getting There

From Sequim, drive south on Highway 101 for 5 miles to the turnoff for Louella Road.

If you're coming from east, from the Hood Canal Bridge, drive to the end of Highway 104 and turn north onto Highway 101. Continue on 101 for 16 miles, turning left onto Louella Road.

Once on Louella Road, drive 0.9 miles, then turn left onto Palo Alto Road. Drive for nearly 6 miles; keeping right  onto FR 28, then turning right again onto graveled FR 2880. Drive FR 2880 for 1.7 miles, then head left onto FR 2870. Continue on 2870 for 2.6 miles, then make another right onto FR 2860. Look for a sign for Upper Dungeness Trails.

Drive FR 2860 for 4.9 miles, and finally make a slight right onto FR 270. Drive for 1.6 miles on this narrow, sometimes rocky and rough road to the parking area, which can accomodate about 12 cars.

*Note that FR 270 is designated as Road 120 on the Custom Correct map for this area.*

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Baldy

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