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Lord Hill Regional Park

Our Hiking Time: 2h
Total Ascent: 350ft
Highest Point: 600ft
Total Distance: 3.6 miles
Location: N 47° 50.8440, W 122° 2.9760
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's PhotoRecently, we found some time to visit Lord Hill Regional Park, a 1,300-acre park in Snohomish County. With over 11 miles of walking trails so close to the city, we took a little tour to see what the park had to offer.

The park is a decent hiking destination during the winter. It’s close and easily accessible, but still large enough to feel like you’re getting out into nature. During warmer weather, this is a great place for youngsters to get out into the woods for the day,lord hill regional park hikingwithmybrother but be prepared to share the mixed use trails with mountain bikers and equestrians. All in all, it’s worth an afternoon to trek out to explore Snohomish County’s largest park.

There's a lot more to Lord Hill Regional Park, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take SR 522 north toward Monroe. Take the Monroe W Main Street exit and circle around the roundabout to head west on 164th Street. Follow this road for about three-and-a-half miles as it changes from 164th to the Old Snohomish-Monroe Highway to 127th Ave SE. Turn left and continue for a mile-and-a-half to 150th St SE. Take a right and find parking at the end of the road. –Nathan

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Lord Hill

Pinnacle Peak aka Mt. Peak aka Mt. Pete Trail

Our Hiking Time: 1h
Total Ascent: 1000ft
Highest Point: 1800ft
Total Distance: 2 miles
Location: N 47° 10.4220, W 121° 58.4040
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's PhotoTime is often short around the holidays. It can be tricky to wedge a hike between visits to family and friends. We managed to find enough time to climb to the top of an old favorite, just outside of Enumclaw. Although we first knew the small summit as Mount Pete, it’s also known as Mount Peak, Pinnacle Peak, and most recently the Cal Magnusson Trail. No matter which name you prefer, this short-but-steep hike is perfect for a quick winter workout.

pinnacle peak mt pete mt peak hikingwithmybrotherWhile Pinnacle Peak is the official name of the 256-acre King County Park that encompasses the small mountain, there is some confusion over the “real” name of the peak. The Harvey Manning school advocates for Mount Pete, named after Pete Chorak, a Yugoslav √©migr√© and businessman who settled in Enumclaw in 1911. Chorak donated land for a park, and founded the town pool; Pete’s Pool, which later became the city’s stadium. At some point, locals began referring to the mountain as Mount Peak. Our research did not dig up a reason for this switch, though one theory is that “Pete” sounds a lot like “Peak,” suggesting that the latter could have just been born in conversation. When King County bought the first sections of the mountain in the 1980s, the name Pinnacle Peak seems to have risen in prominence, though the fire lookout that stood there from 1928-1971 is always referred to as the Pinnacle Peak Lookout. In 2009, the trail to the summit was dedicated to Cal Magnusson, a Cascade climbing legend, who began maintaining the trail in 1975.

The trail begins steeply from the trailhead, switchbacking up the mountainside, through alder, cedar, and hemlock. From the outset, the plethora of trailside projects hints at the popularity of the trail. Platforms, benches, stairs, railings, nature signs are all here, maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Through their efforts the trail is wide, clear of brush, and easy to navigate.

pinnacle peak mt pete mt peak hikingwithmybrotherThe trail wastes little time in pushing you toward the summit. After a mile, the trail meets up with a logging road. Head left and continue upward, keeping an eye out for geologic evidence of the mountain’s volcanic past. Near the top you’ll notice exposed honeycombs of basalt, horizontal columns of rock protruding from the mountainside. Continue beyond these formations for the summit and the crumbling cement lookout foundation. Although there are some benches here for a rest and a snack, there is very little in the way of views, as trees have long since blocked the views. However, on good days Mt. Rainier can be spied from a small pocket viewpoint just below the summit, roughly where the road ends.

Close and easily accessible, this is a great winter hike or works perfectly as a last minute escape to the outdoors. However, expect a lot of company on this short hike. Hikers young and old tackle this trail everyday, trail runners are common, mountain bikers frequent the south side of the mountain, even local police and firefighters incorporate the route into their training regimen. So many visitors can’t be wrong. If you haven’t made it out to Pinnacle Peak, put this on the list for your first hike of 2012.

To get there, take I-5 south to Highway 18 Exit 142A. Follow Highway 18 into Auburn and take the SR 164 exit. Head left on SR 164 through Enumclaw to SR 410. Follow SR 410 for just under a mile to 284th Street. Take a right and follow 284th for a mile and a half to 472nd Street. The Cal Magnusson Trailhead is a half-mile ahead. -Nathan

Pinnacle Peak

Old Sauk River Trail #728

Our Hiking Time: 2h 30m
Total Ascent: 100ft
Highest Point: 800ft
Total Distance: 6 miles
Location: N 47° 12.9060, W 121° 33.5760
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's PhotoEach year as the temperatures drop and the weather becomes less enticing, we start to search out hikes that are a bit more “winter friendly.” With this in mind, we recently headed up to the Darrington area for a short riverside hike along the Old Sauk Trail. Easily accessible and almost entirely flat, the trail seemed ideal for a short hike during the winter months.

old sauk river hikingwithmybrotherWe did not run into anyone along this trail, but that may change because the Washington Trail Association has been doing a lot of work on the Old Sauk Trail, updating the main trailhead and repairing trail damage from recent floods. Work is also being done to create a trailhead roughly half-way between the two ends of the current trail. Already a new trail is in the process of being cut from the Mountain Loop Highway to the river. Increased access should mean that the Old Sauk Trail will see more use in the future.

There's a lot more to Old Sauk River, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State.  Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take I-5 north to Exit 208 and drive east on SR 530 to Darrington. Follow the signs to the Mountain Loop Highway, heading south out of town. After four miles, find the signed Old Sauk River trailhead on your left. -Nathan

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Old Sauk River

Holiday Giveaway!

Jer's PhotoHappy Holidays from hikingwithmybrother.com! Check out the great stuff that we'll be giving away during the rest of December. A winner for each item will randomly be chosen from our email subscribers. To sign up to win, simply complete the email subscription process. Remember to verify your email address by following the link in the activation email. If you're already signed up to receive email from us, then you're already signed up to win! Winners will be announced on our Facebook Page throughout the month. -Jer

Skyline 8.0 Backpack
Winner: Milane, Lake Stevens, WA
Soto Pocket Torch (x1)
Winner: Ryan, Shoreline, WA
Soto OD-1R Stove
Winner: Scotty, Mount Vernon, WA

WA/OR PCT Reader
Winner: Maggie, Seattle, WA
Winner: Brett, Austin, TX
Winner: Tina, Mukilteo, WA
CA PCT Reader
Winner: Tori, Bothell, WA
Winner: Elle, Auburn, WA
Winner: Tina, Federal Way, WA
2012 Hiking Calendar
Winner: Chris, Everett, WA
Winner: Ashley, Snohomish, WA
Winner: Dylan, Snoqualmie, WA

The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader Review

Jer's PhotoLike many hikers on the west coast, we've put in our share of miles on the the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. On hikingwithmybrother.com we've had the chance to write about a few of the PCT's treasures, such as Kendall Katwalk, Silver Peak, and Mirror Lake. So when we were contacted by the Mountaineers about reviewing a new anthology created to benefit the work of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up.

The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader is a two volume collection of the written works of historians, hikers, and trail shepherds, spanning all 2600 miles of trail from Mexico to Monument 78 at the Canadian border. Editors Rees Hughes and Corey Lee Lewis seamlessly piece together historical accounts, trail lore, and first-hand hiker experiences into an engaging anthology. Each of the 95 excerpts are perfect for fireside storytelling or armchair adventuring. Within the pages, the human experience and deeper meaning of the PCT will resonate with the thru-hiker and aspiring outdoorsman alike.

There are plenty of tales for us to relate to in the Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, but our favorites are invariably those that involve trails we've explored.

One comes from Two on the Trail: A Thousand Miles on the PCT, by Ann Marshall. Ann and her husband Lee humorously detail their misery as they hike from Waptus Lake to Catherdral Rock in a classic Alpine Lake Wilderness downpour. For us, getting so wet you're beyond caring, turns into a game of who of can be the most ridiculous just to stay in good spirits. Stomping around madly in a creek in order to see the bottom rings a bell. Continuing on to Deception Pass, Ann and Lee get dead-ended at the notorious Mt. Daniel run-off crossing. They end up have to backtrack around the other side of Hyas Lake before continuing on the PCT. In 2005, I recall eating a lunch of instant potatoes and de-booting at that crossing before fording the frigid glacier waters and vowing never to do it again. I can't imagine what that creek would be like in a torrential downpour.

For us, learning the history and origin of a trail always makes hiking it that much more enjoyable. In Triumph and Tragedy at Steven's Pass, David Foscue recounts the Great Northern Railway's influence on the region and on the PCT. The railroad that John Stevens constructed over his namesake pass was an engineering marvel, but tragically it was also the site of the worst avalanche disaster in US history. Foscue's account traces man's progress and loss as the railroads strained to conquer the Northern Cascades, giving us a little more to enjoy about what is already one of our favorite hikes; The Iron Goat Trail. As we continue to research and write more about hikes on the PCT for hikingwithmybrother.com, I know will be sharing more of these accounts with our readers.

Bottom line, these books are about reliving your trail memories and being inspired to create new ones. Like many 9-to-5ers, we're constantly daydreaming about our next escape to spires of granite and pristine alpine lakes and these books are great way to get there. The Mountaineers are extending a special offer of 25% off exclusively to Hiking with my Brother readers. Simply click on the image of the book of your choice, and use coupon code "HikeBro" from 12/8 to 12/16 to get a great read and support Trail #2000. On Monday, we're announcing our Holiday Giveaway! We have a few promotional copies of the Pacific Crest Trailside Reader to give away, so stay tuned for the details! -Jer

To order your copy, click one of the images and use 
coupon code
To receive 25% off your order.

Valid 12/8 - 12/16

Free shipping until 12/11

Mount Dickerman Trail #710

Our Hiking Time: 4h 50m
Total Ascent: 3800ft
Highest Point: 5723ft
Total Distance: 8 miles
Location: N 48° 4.1340, W 121° 28.2600
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Hard

Nathan's PhotoThis week we continued our exploration of the Mountain Loop Highway by tackling Mt. Dickerman, one of the area’s more challenging trails. The trail promised an easily accessible trailhead and breath-taking views. And it delivered.

Mt. Dickerman was named after Alton L. Dickerman, a mining engineer who was sent to assess the Monte Cristo area in 1891. His analysis helped a group of investors convince Nelson Rockefeller to back a mining venture, which spurred the development of the Monte Cristo Mining District. Ultimately becoming a Trustee of the Monte Cristo Mining Company, Dickerman remained connected to the troubled mining region until his death in 1921.
mt dickerman hikingwithmybrother
The Mt. Dickerman Trail #710 begins at the Dickerman/Perry Creek trailhead just off the Mountain Loop Highway. From the onset, this trail is an uphill battle, quickly rising away from the highway in a long series of tight switchbacks. The route tunnels through thick, mixed forest of maple, hemlock, and fir. Streams occasionally cut across the path, and the trail often brushes near waterfalls and creeks just off-trail. With nearly 4000’ of elevation to climb up, these little side attractions make for great stopping points along the way.

mt dickerman hikingwithmybrotherAfter about three miles of switchbacks, the trail transitions from dark forest to open alpine meadows that hint at views to come. In the spring and summer months, this area is awash in wildflowers and mountain blueberry. After this brief respite, the trail gains the ridgeline and presses upward to the summit. Navigate this next set of switchbacks and before long you’ll find yourself on a precipice, looking hundreds of feet down into the Perry Creek Valley. Tread carefully and find a spot to take in the 360-degree views. To the north pick out Mt. Baker and White Chuck Mountain rising above nearby Mt. Forgotten. As you turn east Mt. Sloan looms large next to Glacier Peak, Mt. Pugh, and Bedal Peak. Mt. Rainer can be seen to the south behind Del Campo Peak, Vesper Peak, Big Four Mountain, and Morningstar Peak. Mt. Pilchuck and The Three Fingers are to the west.

mt dickerman hikingwithmybrotherWe highly recommend adding a trip to Mt. Dickerman to your hiking list. On a good day the views from the summit are stunning. Mountains stretch out endlessly in every direction, and it’s easy to see why hikers trudge their way to the top of Mt. Dickerman year-round. While trail is a little rocky, hundreds of booted feet keep the route free of blow downs and overgrowth. Only the steep elevation gain might keep this hike a little out of reach for some. Still, the trail is in good enough condition that most hikers should be able to make it given enough time.

To get there, take I-5 North to Exit 194. Follow Highway 2 for about two miles. Stay in the left lane and merge onto Lake Stevens Highway 204. Follow for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens. In just under two miles, you’ll reach Highway 92 to Granite Falls. Take a right and follow for about nine miles to the Mountain Loop Highway. Take the MLH for a little over 27 miles to the Dickerman/Perry Trailhead on your left. – Nathan

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Mt. Dickerman

The 2012 Hiking Calendar

Jer's PhotoAlmost every weekend for years, we have been trekking down hiking trails across Washington and reporting our findings on hikingwithmybrother.com. Now we've put together a calendar that draws on our all-season hiking experience. The Hiking with my Brother 2012 Calendar suggests a different hike every Saturday in 2012, each chosen with the season in mind. The calendar also showcases some of our best photography from the suggested hikes to inspire you to get out on the trail. Of course all the hike details, including directions, history, and photos can be found on hikingwithmybrother.com. Check out the preview of the calendar below, and we hope you pick one up for you or a loved one this holiday season. -Jer

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Boardman and Evan Lake Trail #704

Our Hiking Time: 1h 10m
Total Ascent: 400ft
Highest Point: 3100ft
Total Distance: 2 miles
Location: N 48° 1.5420, W 121° 41.2200
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's Photo Most weeks we head out the door with a couple of destinations in mind. We mostly want some alternatives just in case we find trail access washed out or closed, but sometimes weather conditions also play a role. This week heavy rain prodded us toward a very short but popular destination just off the Mountain Loop Highway: Boardman Lake. Despite being well-prepared and very use to hiking in the rain, we just didn’t feel up to facing the rain after such a short summer.

boardman lake hikingwithmybrotherThis short trail wastes no time diving into the trees. The forest here is mature, and only becomes older as you press deeper under the canopy. The junction of Evans Lake appears almost immediately, veering off to the right. The walk out to this tree-lined lake is not more than a few hundred yards, though the marshy shore is not nearly as welcoming as Boardman. Either way, the wide trail continues to wander through old-growth forest. In about a half-mile the trail begins to angle downward toward the water and a small gravel beach. From here, unofficial waytrails continue around the rocky shores of the lake, providing access to quiet viewpoints and secluded picnic spots. Hop across the logs that have collected at the lake’s outlet to find the five official campsites.

It almost goes without saying that a hike of less than a mile is a good option for the whole family. But it is worth noting that the trail is very friendly, with only a few roots and rocks to trip up little feet. And campsites are decent, and make for an excellent introduction to backpacking. However, perhaps because it is so easily accessible, the lake is popular in the summer months, and snagging a campsite may be challenging. Thankfully the lake is large enough that there is more than enough shoreline to go around. Find a quiet spot for a snack and enjoy a landscape that seems more wild and remote than you might expect.

boardman lake hikingwithmybrotherTo get there, take I-5 North to Exit 194. Follow Highway 2 for about two miles. Stay in the left lane and merge onto Lake Stevens Highway 204. Follow for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens. In just under two miles reach Highway 92 to Granite Falls. Take a right and follow for about nine miles to the Mountain Loop Highway. Follow the MLH for nearly 16 miles to FR 4020, signed for multiple trailheads including the Boardman Lake Trail. Take a right and follow the gravel road about two-and-a-half miles to a junction. Head left and continue a little over two miles to the trailhead. - Nathan

Boardman Lake

Cave Ridge Trail via Commonwealth Basin

Our Hiking Time: 4h 30m
Total Ascent: 2500ft
Highest Point: 5240ft
Total Distance: 6 miles
Location: N 47° 27.1620, W 121° 24.3060
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

Nathan's PhotoIt’s been months since we’ve hiked in Snoqualmie Pass. This week we returned to take care of some unfinished business. Over a year ago we tried to climb Cave Ridge via an unmaintained series of trails through the Commonwealth Basin, only to be stymied by early snows. This time the weather cooperated and we were soon enjoying big views filled with the reds and oranges of autumn.

cave ridge hikingwithmybrotherWe outlined much of this history of the area when we climbed Guye Peak, Red Mountain, and Snoqualmie Mountain. Cave Ridge is probably named for the extensive limestone cave system that permeates it – one of only three such systems in Washington State. There are a number of named caves in the area including Cascade, Clark’s, Hellhole, Lookout, Newton, Prospector’s, and Red Caves. Of these, the main trail only goes by Lookout Cave. Other caves are scattered around the ridge and are not easy to find without guidance. A word of caution: these caves are dangerous, many involving tight spaces and long vertical sections – Hellhole begins with a six-story drop to the cavern floor – so do not enter without the right gear and experience.

Cave Ridge is also home to an art installation designed to spark discussion about our relationship with nature and the wilderness. Tucked off-trail on a small rise sits a genuine US West phone booth, cemented into place as if professionally installed by the phone company. The project was put together in the summer of 2010, but it is already showing signs of wear – the receiver has gone missing and the weight of snow is slowly causing the booth to collapse. Still, judging from online conversations, the artists seem to have achieved their goal of starting a conversation.

Most hikers approach Cave Ridge from Alpental following the Guye Peak Trail up to a saddle, then veering left up to the top of the ridge. Instead, we wanted to try an approach that followed an unmaintained section of trail through Commonwealth Basin. Our route begins at the trailhead for Kendall Katwalk and Red Mountain. However, almost immediately you’ll take a left onto a narrow, alder-lined trail. Follow this one-time logging road as it occasionally tries on the role of streambed, a theme that continues for the majority of the trail up to the saddle.

cave ridge hikingwithmybrotherThe soggy trail winds upwards through the trees, heading closer to Commonwealth Creek. A couple of side trails branch off to creekside cascades, worth a peek if you have some extra time. Beyond the side trails, the trail reaches the creek, currently spanned by two large logs lashed together with thin cable and chicken wire. Once across, the main trail continues to the right, and eventually carries you to Red Mountain. Instead, head left and cross a branch of the creek, following the faded trail to the foot of Guye Peak.

From here, the trail becomes increasingly difficult. The first section is fairly flat, as you remain in the valley bottom and occasionally slog through marshy areas at the base of talus fields. There are quite a few fallen trees to navigate here, and the trail often disappears under brush or water. This continues until you reach a pair of small waterfalls tumbling across the trail that seem to mark the trail’s end. But the trail continues - straight up the waterfall. After this point the trail is extremely steep. Only every so often will there be short sections of level ground before the trail angles straight uphill again. Exposed roots and overgrowth often make the trail slick, and the steep grade adds to the challenge. Tread carefully to avoid a tumble.

cave ridge hikingwithmybrotherEventually you’ll find yourself in a rocky gully that leads up to the saddle between Guye Peak and Cave Ridge. Head right at the intersection and follow the well-trodden trail the short distance up to the top. After the steep inclines and rough trail below, the trip to the top will seem like a breeze. Suddenly you’ll find yourself standing nearly face-to-face with Snoqualmie Mountain. You can easily see nearby Red Mountain, Kendall Peak, Guye Peak, and Denny Mountain in the nearly 360-degree view. A bit further in the distance, Mt. Thompson can be seen just beyond Red Mountain, and Chair Peak and the Tooth are further down the ridge from Denny Mountain. If the views aren’t enough and you want a little extra, take a moment to look directly at Red Mountain. On a far ridge, you can just barely make out a sliver of metal and a hint of blue. There lies the phone booth. Follow any of the faint waytrails down to a trio of lakelettes and up to the booth.

To get there, take Exit 52 off I-90 and take a left onto Alpental Road. After you pass under the freeway, take a right onto a small spur road marked Pacific Crest Trail and follow to the parking lot. -Nathan

Cave Ridge

Beckler Peak Trail #1240

Our Hiking Time: 3h 15m
Total Ascent: 2300ft
Highest Point: 5062ft
Total Distance: 7.5 miles
Location: N 47° 44.1420, W 121° 16.9080
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

Nathan's PhotoThis week we headed out toward Steven’s Pass to investigate news of a new trail opening in the Wild Sky Wilderness promising an easy hike up to great views atop Beckler Peak. We weren’t the only ones who had heard the news; we arrived to find the parking lot at the recently dedicated Jennifer Dunn Trailhead already overflowing.

beckler peak jennifer dunn trailhead hikingwithmybrother
This trail delivers a great view without too much effort - a combination that has already made it very popular. The East Peak does not have a lot of room, and by the time we made it to the top there were already quite a few other folks there. While the crowds were certainly drawn by the recent trailhead construction, this hike is likely to continue to be popular so expect some company on your way up. Still, the route is in great condition and the nearly 360-degree views are excellent. We recommend you find your way out to Beckler Peak before long.

There's a lot more to Beckler Peak, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take Highway 2 out past Skykomish. Two miles past the Ranger Station take a left onto FR 6066, which is signed but easy to overshoot if you’re not paying attention. Continue for just under two miles to a junction. Bear right and continue about five miles to trailhead at road’s end. FR 6066 is a one-lane gravel road with occasional pullouts; use some extra caution navigating the traffic as hikers explore new trailhead. -Nathan

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Beckler Peak

Lake of the Angels via Putvin Trail #813

Our Hiking Time: 6h 45m
Total Ascent: 3400ft
Highest Point: 4950ft
Total Distance: 7 miles
Location: N 47° 35.8200, W 123° 16.3440
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Hard

Nathan's PhotoWe headed back over to the Olympic Peninsula to take on a famously obscure hike of legendary proportions. With names like the Valley of Heaven and St. Peter’s Gate, we anticipated a trip to the Lake of Angels would be stunning – and it delivered.

While we highly recommend this hike, it’s definitely not for the unprepared. It’s not the most difficult hike we’ve ever done, but the Lake of Angels was certainly challenging to get to. At the same time, many guidebooks give the impression that this trail requires some serious mountaineering skills to tackle – this is not the case. While there is one very small section that will probably require you to use some handholds to help you climb up the roots and rocks, that’s as harrowing as it gets. lake of angels valley of heaven hiking with my brotherIf you’re a strong hiker and are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, this is definitely a trail to check out. There are a few wilderness campsites around the lake, making an overnight an easy option. From the lake there is access to a variety of destinations including Hagen Lake or Mt. Stone and the Stone Ponds via a pass known as St. Peter’s Gate.

There's a lot more to Lake of the Angels, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State.  Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take I-5 south to Olympia to Exit 104 toward Aberdeen and Port Angeles. Follow US 101 along Hood Canal almost 49 miles through Shelton and Hoodsport to FR 25, also known as the Hamma Hamma River Road. Take a left and follow the road 12 miles to the trailhead just beyond Boulder Creek. The last five miles of the road are unpaved and have seen some washouts. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. -Nathan

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Lake of the Angels

Upper Royal Basin via Royal Creek Trail #832

Our Hiking Time: 12h
Total Ascent: 3000ft
Highest Point: 5700ft
Total Distance: 16 miles
Location: N 47° 49.2780, W 123° 13.1160
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

Nathan's PhotoIt has been a long time coming, but this week we finally hopped a ferry and did our first hike in the Olympics. Despite the logistical hassle of ferries and extra driving time, we were excited to explore some new territory. We decided to start with the heavily traveled and ever-popular Royal Basin, one of the jewels of the Olympic National Park’s rain shadow region.

This is an excellent hike, one that we recommend you consider for a weekend backpack. The distance from Seattle and the length of the hike makes this a very long day if you’re not planning on anroyal basin hikingwithmybrother overnight. Though, on a sunny day the Royal Creek Valley is picturesque in and of itself, making a shortened version of this hike well worth the effort. Although definitely a popular and well-known hike, we did not encounter that many people along the way. In fact, we ran into more wildlife than people – not only a countless number of deer, but marmots and a few close

There's a lot more to Royal Basin, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State.  Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take the Bainbridge Island Ferry, following State Route 305 through Poulsbo to State Route 3. Follow SR 3 to the Hood Canal Bridge, taking a left over the bridge onto State Route 104. Follow SR 104 as it merges onto US 101 and continue another 18 miles and turn left onto left on Palo Alto Road. From here, take a right onto FR 2880 near the Dungeness River. Continue just under two miles to FR 2870. Head left and follow for six-and-a-half miles to the trailhead. -Nathan

Royal Basin
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