Hikers who reach the summit of Mount Ellinor are treated to a rarer view of Olympic National Park, one that is notably more immersive, rugged and dynamic than the common vista from Hurricane Ridge. Ellinor’s profile is, no doubt, familiar to most Seattleites, as it’s the Olympics’ southernmost prominence visible from the city.
There are two options for hiking Mount Ellinor: a 7.2-mile roundtrip trail leaving from a lower trailhead or a 3.2-mile roundtrip jaunt that departs from an upper trailhead. Beginning at the lower starting point adds a portion of trail through old-growth forest before meeting up with the shorter trail for the final summit run.
From the upper trailhead, the path wastes no time gaining elevation with a series of stacked switchbacks before opening up into an talus slope. Mountain goats are commonly seen from this point all the way to the summit. Be sure to stay on the summer hiking trail unless snow conditions are good enough to use the winter climbing route.
The 360-degree views from the summit justify the quad-busting ascent, stretching to Mt. Olympus, Mt. Constance, The Brothers, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and all five Washington volcanoes. Stay for sunset and hike down by headlamp or, if snow conditions are good enough, glissade down the upper slope.
If it’s a hot day, make a pit stop on the way home at [Skokomish Park](http://www.skokomishpark.com/) for a dip in Lake Cushman.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
– Mountain Goats are wild animals and can kill you. Don’t approach, feed, follow or otherwise harass them.
– If you’re going to glissade, have the proper equipment and know how to self-arrest
- [10 Essentials](http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html)
- Hiking Shoes
- Camera and tripod
- Swim suit
- Hiking Poles or Ice Axe (for glissading, if snow conditions allow)