The eastern part of the Grand Ridge trail can be accessed from Deer Park as a day hike and has a charm all of its own –- forested slopes carpeted with avalanche lilies in spring, wildflower meadows, and great views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, the Cascades, and the Olympic mountains. While the Grand Ridge trail starting from Obstruction Point is listed elsewhere on this website, the eastern half of the Grand Ridge Trail, starting from Deer Park, is listed here as a separate day hike to make the relevant information and trip reports easier to find.
The trailhead is clearly marked “Obstruction Point Trail – Obstruction Point 7.6 m” on the west side of Deer Park Road just before the parking lot by the usually unstaffed Ranger Station. The trail starts at approximately 5300 feet, descends through mixed forest to 4900 feet in the first half mile, then starts to climb to forest-clad Green Mountain. The trail passes at 5500 feet below the summit of Green Mountain (5622 feet), continuing through mixed subalpine forest. As you hike through the forest, there are occasionally views to the south, and later to the north, that give an inkling of the broader vistas to come. You may also notice an area of burnt forest adjoining the trail on the south side –- it is more obvious on the return than on the outward journey.
As you traverse Green Mountain, the forest occasionally opens to small meadows with blueberries and wildflowers. Finally the forest ends and you enter the broad meadows of Maiden Peak with grasses and wildflowers. Fantastic views in all directions now start to open up with every step. To the north and northeast are the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, Canadian peaks, and Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan hovering like a shimmering mirage over the hulk of nearby Blue Mountain. You can look back over the forest of Green Mountain and see the scar of Deer Park Road on Blue Mountain.
Straight ahead as you emerge from the forest is a rocky peak, the first sub-peak (6319 feet) of Maiden Peak. The trail traverses the meadow to the south of this peak, with views of the tree-clad valleys and ridges below including Grand Lake and Grand Valley, and a panorama of the Olympic mountains to the south, including The Needles, Deception Peak, Mount Cameron, and Elk Mountain. To the east, Glacier Peak towers over the Cascades.
As you round the first sub-peak, you now see the second, true summit of Maiden Peak (6434 feet). The trail traverses 200 feet below this peak on the south side. There is no official trail or sign to get to the top and the wildflower meadows are fragile to degradation if people go off-trail. There is a faint boot path that people have used to scramble to the top. The summit is marked by a USGS survey marker. Caution is required given the steep cliffs on the north to northeast side of the peak. Once at the top, the views are all-round and even more expansive. For those who turn back from this point, the hike is 7.1 miles and 1800 feet elevation change round trip.
It is worth continuing on the main trail past the third sub-peak (6380 feet) of Maiden Peak and descend to the saddle between Maiden Peak and Elk Mountain. This has especially spectacular views of the north face of Elk Mountain, and a closer look south into Grand Valley. There is a short section of narrow trail across a steep scree slope that may be challenging for acrophobes, but those who persevere will find the sign for Roaring Winds camp (6000 feet) at the lowest point of the saddle. From here one can look up to the Grand Ridge trail winding up the steep slopes of Elk Mountain, as well as look north to Mount Angeles, Klahhane Ridge, Hurricane Ridge Road and the strait of Juan de Fuca. Roaring Winds (4.5 miles) provides a satisfying point for day hikers to turn back and enjoy this hike’s spectacular views from the other direction.
Wildlife sightings reported for this hike include horned larks, hawks, chipmunks, marmots, deer, and bears.
There is no water on the trail, and a large part of the trail is exposed, so bring plenty of water.
WTA Pro Tip: Consider camping at the Deer Park Campground, just beyond the ranger station and be sure to check out the Rain Shadow Loop trail where a half-mile hike reveals 360 degree views atop Blue Mountain.