Elip Creek — Monday, Apr. 20, 2015
Elip Creek is a classic Olympic Peninsula day hike of about 13 miles RT. The trail head is located about 12 miles northeast of Lake Quinault along North Fork Quinault River Road. The road is unpaved once you hit the cut-off. Mind the Manhattan-sized pot holes. Pass the parking spot for Irely Lake and drive as far as you can. The trail head is at the ranger station. The station is never, ever open, but that’s beside the point. You’ll pass Wolf Bar at about 2.5 miles. Halfway House is about 5.2 miles in. You’re getting close to Elip Creek when you ford Wild Rose Creek. There’s no bridge. Wild Rose Creek can be a very hazardous crossing, especially in early spring when the water’s high and running fast. Be sure to wear waterproof boots. If you clear Wild Rose Creek, keep going till you hit a clearing near another creek with a barely legible sign proclaiming your destination. It’s on your right. You can’t miss it. It’s out in the middle of pickin’ no where. Don’t let the trail mileage intimidate you. This is a relatively easy hike. (Except for the rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.) It’s mostly level. You climb some, but the rise is gentle and fairly brief. Plus, you get to spend the day amid some Really Big Trees tucked beneath the crown of the Olympic Mountains amind landscape that looks like it fell out of the Emerald City. Mom Tip: Although scenic and tranquil, the Elip Creek Trail probably won’t win any awards in the Best Maintained category. There are three new cedar foot logs across boggy portions of the trail early on. Beyond that, and it’s the old, decrepit stuff, which is slick as glass. Expect to scramble over boulders and downed logs on this trail. Ford some bridge-less creeks. Negotiate a fair amount of tangle foot. Treacherous footing. Waterfalls at no extra charge. Mom tip #2: Wear a hat. Dress in layers. Bring extra food. Ditto plenty of water cuz there isn’t any out in the middle of pickin’ no where. DO NOT DRINK out of area lakes or streams, no matter how tempting. Elip Creek is a true-blue, genuine, 100% DIY hike. About 13 miles RT. Longer if the creeks are high and you have to head downstream to cross or BYO bridge.