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Trip Report

Pyramid Mountain / Pyramid Peak — Sunday, May. 9, 2010

Olympic Peninsula
Introduced my California cousin and his wife to Lake Crescent Lodge and Pyramid Peak. It was a perfect, partly cloudy day for this 7-mile, snow-free, round-trip hike to the old lookout tower. We started after brunch, around 11:45 am and had the trail completely to ourselves. The hike is nearly entirely in the cool shade of the forest, with peek-a-boo views of Lake Crescent initially, and later on, of Vancouver Island and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. The first half of the hike is quite gentle but the latter half is steeper. The trail, however, is easy on the knees, being mostly fallen pine needles on packed dirt, and the route is in excellent shape. Three small stream crossings ensure plenty of water. A pair of very large fallen trees have partially blocked the trail about 1/3 of the way up, but you can easily squeeze under them. Of more significance is the landslide about 2/3 of the way up, which has left only an 8-12" wide path that falls steeply away and feels a bit precarious, esp. if there is any more moisture added to the soil. Poles were quite helpful here, but use caution. The views of Lake Crescent, Mt. Storm King and Happy Lake Ridge from the false summit just a few dozen yards from the lookout are actually better than their corresponding views from the summit itself. From the summit lookout, however, there are unparalleled views of Vancouver Island, the Strait, Mt. Baker and the Cascades on the horizon. Several patches of calypso orchids were in bloom along the trail, with some monster-sized white and pink trillium. TIME IN: 1:45 TIME OUT: 1:15 DISTANCE (R.T.): 7 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 2400 ft. DIFFICULTY: mild-to-moderate for the first 2 miles, then moderately strenuous to the summit DIRECTIONS: U.S. Highway 101 west from Lake Crescent to Camp David Jr. Road. Turn right and follow this gravel road for 1.6 miles to the North Shore picnic area. PARKING: plenty of parking and an outhouse at the North Shore picnic area, but the small pullout directly across from the trailhead is closest. NO DOGS ALLOWED