Location: Northwest Olympic Peninsula
Land Agency: Olympic National Forest
Roundtrip: 12.7 miles
Elevation gain: 3350 feet
Contact: Olympic National Forest, Pacific Ranger District, Forks,
Green Trails Map: Green Trails Lake Crescent No. 101
Notes: Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass required
Good to Know: dog-friendly; wildflowers, exceptional views,
Access: From Port Angeles, follow US 101 west for 32 miles to milepost 216. Turn right on Forest Road 3071 proceeding 0.3 mile to the trailhead.
One of the best ridge hikes in the Olympics—and it’s a loop! It’s a good workout, but you’ll be rewarded with slopes carpeted in brilliant wildflowers, and jaw-slacking views of glistening white Mount Olympus to deep-blue Lake Crescent. And there are lots of surprises along the way too.
I suggest doing this loop clockwise, tackling the steep climb first. The way starts off easy before reaching a series of switchbacks that get down to business. After three long uphill miles, crest the ridge at Jim’s Junction. Here a trail leads left to Kloshe Nanitch and one goes straight 0.5 mile to decommissioned FR 3040. You want to go right climbing through a stand of silver fir and soon coming to Millsap Meadow. Here embrace a glorious view of the emerald wall, Aurora Ridge, and the massive snow and ice heap, Mount Olympus. The trail then descends bottoming out at Thomas Gap before steeply regaining lost ground.
At Jasmine Meadow come to a junction with the new Divide Trail offering a shorter loop option. For Muller continue left through more beautiful meadows. In summer, marvel at all the blossoms: paintbrush, tiger lily, thistle, bleeding heart, vetch, star flower, hawkweed, daisy, bear grass, columbine, lupine, strawberry, bunchberry, queen’s cup, and more.
At 5.5 miles come to a side trail leading left for 0.1 mile to the semi-forested 3748-foot summit of Mount Muller. Bag it. Then proceed on the main trail to another side path—this one leading right 0.1 mile to Panorama Point. If you think the view can’t possibly get better, wait until you see Lake Crescent sparkling below. Like sentinels, Pyramid Mountain and Mount Storm King guard the fjordlike lake. Mount Baker hovers in the distance.
After soaking up the view, continue up and down along the ridge crest, dashing behind ledges and undulating between forest and meadow. Then drop rapidly to Mosely Gap, before one last uphill struggle. Then begin a long descent back to the valley.
Check out Fouts Rock House, two giant boulders rubbing shoulders. Then pass a horse camp and trail leading left to the Olympic Discovery Trail. Your trail eventually comes to the paved ODT. Head right on it and soon veer right back onto single track and continue on a mostly level route. Reach the trailhead after 12.7 satisfying miles.
Mount Muller is one of 125 featured hikes in my bestselling Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula Book. For a detailed description on this hike and others, pick up a copy of this book—the number one selling and most trusted guidebook on hiking in the Olympics—today!
For information on where to stay and on other things to do on the Olympic Peninsula, check out Northwest TripFinder
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