Accessing the Olympic Peninsula from the north starts with adventure #1, a ferry ride.
It’s been several years since I’ve been to a coastal environment, so of course the first photo I had to take was the flower I associate with the pacific coast.
It pays to have friends in many places and in this instance my friend Jake, a long-time peninsula dweller, helped me plan an awesome itinerary for the Olympics. My wish list included views, wildflowers, challenging and varied terrain. This hike ticked all the boxes.
During the summer, you can drive to Deer Ridge which is home to a nice campground (Deer Park) and the hub of many trails. But why drive, when you can hike? The hike begins at Slab Camp (a misnomer since it’s really a parking area with a few primitive sites) and follows a well signed, excellent condition trail to Deer Park.
Wildflowers kept me entertained as I began my hike.
As did views of the snow covered mountains.
Some of the trail reminded me of the PCT with a few long easy traverses.
Bright spots of color along the trail were a welcome sight.
Nearing Deer Ridge, a few patches of snow were evidence that it’s still spring in the high mountains. AND, no surprise with such a namesake, DEER were hanging about on these slopes.
Upon reaching Deer Park, the potential views from atop Blue Mountain were a temptation I couldn’t resist.
Rainshadow Trail to the top of Blue Mountain was hidden under snow so it was a good day to practice snow hiking skills.
and a good day to enjoy creating your own route.
Views like these made the additional ascent and miles worthwhile.
The topographic ridge marks were distinct and unusual.
You could see the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the town of Sequim. On a clear day, the views would take you to Canada.
In a few more weeks you might have been singing some of those Sound of Music lyrics.
Someone has a sense of humor. Do you see the well groomed smiley face?
There was a dangerous snow cornice at the top, just waiting it’s turn to fall . . . or for some two or four legged friend to take one step too many.
Always love finding survey markers.
Bonus: Meeting Holly, a new friend and adventure buddy. We shared some miles and smiles, or miles of smiles 🙂
Date Hiked: 5/5/16
Road Trip Day #76
- Deer Ridge Trail – NPS
- Deer Ridge Trail – Washington Trail Association
- Trail Guide – Olympic National Park & Vicinity by Douglas Lorain
- Map – USFS Olympic Peninsula 2014 edition
- Barefoot Jake (lots of local trail intel and amazing photography)
- The access road into Slab Camp is USFS and thus available for free dispersed camping.
- According to my Trimble Outdoors Navigator app, this was a 13 mile, 4000′ elevation gain/loss trip.
- Don’t expect complete solitude. On this date, I shared the trail with maybe a dozen other hikers but we were all quite spread out so it didn’t feel crowded in the least.
- If you want to camp on trail, you’ll need a permit. Take a detour to the NP Visitor Center in Port Angeles.
- Take a trip to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center for outstanding views.
- Resupply in Sequim and consider the 11-mile round trip walk on the Dungeness Spit to the Light House.
- Link to my other jaunts in Washington