Mount Ellinor is the southern-most prominence on the eastern front of the Olympics. This makes its peak easy to point out to your friends when you say, ”I was up there.”
Mount Ellinor also gives you two trailheads to choose from. The lower trailhead at 2,600 feet welcomes you to the ascent with an easy grade at the outset. The route from the upper trailhead at 3,500 feet starts out with a nearly immediate upward jolt. Both routes show off the skill and diligence of the Mount Rose Trail Crew in improving and maintaining the trails.
Note that while a Northwest Forest Pass is required at the upper trailhead, hikers do not need one to access Mount Ellinor from the lower trailhead.
From the lower trailhead, you’ll enjoy a 6.2-mile round-trip that starts in old growth. The trail climbs with gentle switchbacks, traces the edge of a recovering clear-cut, then it flirts with a ridge edge. Several ridgeline openings-–one with benches--give broad views across Lake Cushman and far to the southeast.
From the upper trailhead, the round-trip is 3.2 miles. The more important figure to note for this route is the 2,444 feet of elevation it gains in the 1.6 miles to the summit. The track ascends a set of stacked switchbacks for 0.3 miles until it meets the lower trail.
The trails from the upper and lower trailheads merge at 3,900 feet and from there the trail continues upward at the same character-building grade of the path from the upper trailhead. More switchbacks and many with stairstep risers that add to the grade. The trail moderates briefly at the well-signed junction with the winter climbing route before heading up to the first of several panoramic viewpoints. Stopping to admire the views at each of these is a great way to catch your breath.
The trail breaks out of the trees and rises onto rock-strewn slopes and across gravelly meadows before heading through a notch and continuing upward on the west facing slopes. Take time to contemplate the new view into the southern Olympics. Just below the summit, the trail swings around to the east facing slopes. The summit area has 360-degree views and is also popular with salt-seeking mountain goats.
- 6.2 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 3,300 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,944 feet
Hiking Mount Ellinor
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.5066, -123.2321 Open in Google Maps