Ultimate Guide To Mount Ellinor Trail in Washington For 2021

mount ellinor

Mount Ellinor is a peak in the Olympic Mountains in Washington, USA. Its highest elevation is almost 6,000 feet. Located in Macon County, Mount Ellinor is in the Skokomish Wilderness region. The mountain is a popular day hike during the summer months of May till October.  

The summit offers an expansive 360-degree view of all of Cascade’s most popular peaks including a close view of neighboring Mount Washington.

Additionally, great views of Lake Cushman, the Hood Canal, and the Puget Sound abound. Have your camera ready to capture some awesome photos. 


The Mount Ellinor Trail is a very popular 6-mile out and back trail that is rated as “difficult”. The trail is located in the Hood Canal Ranger District of the Olympic Mountains. If you chose to hike Mount Ellinor, you have two trailheads from which to choose.

The lower trailhead begins with a gradual incline and does not require a Northwest Forest Pass. The upper trailhead is very steep from the beginning and requires a pass. Either trail provides a non-stop workout with extraordinary vistas of the Olympics and some up close and personal views of mountain goats.  


Mount Ellinor History

mount ellinor

The mountain was named in 1853 by surveyor George Davidson for his fiance Ellinor Fauntleroy. Davison went on to also name The Brothers, after Ellinor’s two brothers, and Mount Constance, after her older sister. The first American settlers to climb Mount Ellinor were D.N. Utler, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Waughop, and H.C. Esteps in August 1879. 

In 1890 Naturalist John Muir, Washington Congressman James Wickersham, and Lt. Joseph O’Neil each respectively proposed the creation of a national park on the Olympic Peninsula. Lt.

O’Neil successfully explored and documented the peninsula’s vast interior in preparation for the park. In 1897, President Grover Cleveland gave the area its first national protection naming it the Olympic Forest Reserve to combat the disappearing forests caused by over-logging.

Eight years later, in 1909, President Teddy Roosevelt named the area Olympic National Monument to protect the habitat of the elk whose population was rapidly declining.

Finally, in 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an act establishing the Olympic National Park for the protection of the wilderness and rainforests. Mountain goats, called Roosevelt Goats, were introduced to the area at that time and have grown large in numbers and size. Watch out for them during your hike. The Pacific coastline was added to the park in 1953. 


Olympic National Park’s unique attributes have gained international recognition as well. In 1976 the park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The park was declared a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Convention in 1981, joining it to a system of natural and cultural properties that are considered irreplaceable treasures of the planet with outstanding universal value. 

Throughout the park’s diverse landscape is an array of cultural and historical sites documenting the human history in the park. More than 650 archeological sites document 12,000 years of human occupation. These sites provide information about the 200-years history of exploration, homesteading, and community development in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the continuing evolution of park preservation. Educational opportunities abound throughout the park. 


Getting To The Trail

mount ellinor

Getting to the Mount Ellinor Trail is not difficult if you follow these directions. Travel to Hoodsport, Washington, the closest town, on Hwy 101 turn right onto State Road 119. Follow 119 to its end in 9.3 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 2419. You will reach the lower trailhead in 4.9 miles. There you will find free but limited parking. The elevation of the lower trailhead is 2,800’.

To reach the upper trailhead, continue for 1.7 miles, turning left onto Forest Road 2419-014. The upper trailhead is at the end of the road. Amenities at the upper trailhead include a toilet, picnic tables, and some fantastic views. Parking requires a Northwest Forest Pass. The elevation at this trailhead is 3,500’. 

Mount Ellinor Trail is a strenuous, 6.2-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of almost 3,500 feet. The trail travels through forested slopes to fantastic views of the Olympics at its summit. The trail can be approached by two different trailheads. Starting at the upper trailhead reduces the hike by 3.6 miles roundtrip and 1,300 feet of elevation to climb.   

mount ellinor

PARK FACILITIES AND REGULATIONS

Olympic National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round, although some roads, campgrounds, and facilities are only open seasonally. 

Olympic Entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, $25 for a motorcycle. This pass is valid for seven consecutive days. This fee applies to private, non-commercial vehicles (15 passengers or less) and covers all occupants. An annual pass is available for $55.

Lodges and cabins throughout Olympic National Park provide a wide range of accommodations. Visitors may choose from rooms in historic hotels dating back to the early 1900s,  modern motel rooms, or rustic cabins. Reservations are encouraged, especially from July through August. Prices vary by accommodation. 

Camping is available in the park. Consult the Park Ranger for more information. Ask about wildlife safety for information on cougars, bears, mountain goats, bats, and other animals found in the park. Dogs are allowed on leash in most areas. Service animals are always welcome. 

No campfires are allowed at elevations greater than 3500’. Build fires only in established rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces. NEVER leave your fire unattended. Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. Never leave your trash behind.


Hiking The Mount Ellinor Trail

mount ellinor

Mount Ellinor stands nearly 6,000’ above sea level, a prominent peak in the Olympic Peninsula. The Mount Ellinor Trail has a reputation of being a steep hike to a summit with amazing views and the best place to view the Roosevelt Mountain Goats. 

As mentioned above, the Mount Ellinor Trail has two trailheads to choose from. The lower trailhead begins with an easy hike with a gradual slope. Starting elevation is 2600’. The upper trailhead begins at 3500’ elevation with an immediate vertical ascent. Both trails are well-maintained and heavily traveled. 

From the lower trailhead, you will enjoy a 6.2-mile round-trip hike which begins in an old-growth forest. There is plenty of shade, ferns, and the occasional bench for rest. Several ridgeline openings provide expansive views of Lake Cushman and the mountains to the southeast.

From the upper trailhead, the round-trip is 3.2 miles. Most important to note, this trail gains 2,444’ of elevation in only 1.6 miles to the summit. This trail ascends a series of stacked switchbacks before meeting with the lower trail 0.3 miles in. The two trails merge at 3900 feet of elevation. 

From this point, the hike becomes a character-building trek upward. More switchbacks and risers are added to the trail to aid your ascent. The trail moderates a bit at the junction with the winter climbing route before heading up to the first of several fantastic viewpoints. This is a good turn-around spot for inexperienced hikers. 

The trail then breaks through the treeline rising in rock-strewn slopes with gravel-filled meadows of wildflowers and spectacular views of Lake Cushman and the Puget Sound. Continue upward on the west-facing slope. During hikes with snow on the trails use the winter trail to protect the vegetation on the slopes. Be aware! The rocks are very slippery when wet. Exercise extreme caution. Ice pick and special winter gear are required for this climb. 

Just below the summit, the trail moves toward the east-facing slope. The summit provides a 360-degree view of the Olympic National Forest in all its beauty at an elevation of almost 6,000 feet. The summit is popular with the mountain goats which inhabit the area. Please keep your distance to stay safe and to protect the wildlife from the negative impacts of human contact.

Many goats in this area have become familiar with human contact by hikers feeding them and providing salt from sweat or urine. Do not feed the goats. These are large wild animals that can become aggressive when confronted. If a mountain goat approaches move slowly toward a safe area. If it continues to pursue, yell loudly, wave your arms or a piece of clothing to scare them off. Never chase, surround, crowd, or follow the goats. If you need to urinate while hiking please move off the trail to avoid creating deposits of salt along the trail. 

The return hike requires slow and steady footsteps as the slope is very slippery. Sections of the trail are covered with loose gravel and trekking poles may assist. Once you reach the forest, it is easy trekking from there.  

For more incredible hikes in Olympic National Park, check out our guide to Finding the 10 Best Hikes in Olympic National Park.

If you’re planning a trip to Olympic National Park and are looking for a great place to stay, look no further than The 8 Best Hotels Near Olympic National Park: Our Top Picks.


Final Thoughts

While the Mount Ellinor Trail may be a difficult hike, take time to enjoy the terrific views and the many wildflowers to be found en route. Be prepared for fantastic photographs of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and the many Roosevelt Mountain Goats at the summit. With adequate preparation and cautious climbing, the Mount Ellinor Trail ascent can be so rewarding. 

Next, check out the other top hikes in Olympic National Park outside the Mount Ellinor Trail by following the links below: