Mount Muller Loop Trail in Olympic National Forest / 慕樂山環線步道

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Mount Muller Loop Trail is a mixed-use trail in the Olympic National Forest. The 12-mile path runs through the mountain just outside the Olympic National Park. Plus, to its west lies the magnificent Lake Crescent.

The final stretch on Mount Muller
The final stretch on Mount Muller

See more trip photos here.

Mount Muller at a Glance

Access: Mount Muller Trailhead
Round Trip: 12 miles
Elevation Range: 1100′-3748′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
Route Info: Mike Black, George Burgess
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Olympic Peninsula

Nostalgia rushed in as I drove past Port Angeles. Then I realized how little I knew about the Olympic Mountains. I never paid attention to the landscape despite spending my high school years here.

To me, the foothills were merely a backdrop behind the city. No one had ever talked about going near them. Even those mountains around my childhood home remained a mystery to me.

Littleton Creek
Littleton Creek

See more trip photos here.

Mount Muller Loop Trail

Mount Muller Trail shares half a mile with Olympic Discovery Trail in the southeastern corner. In hindsight, hiking counterclockwise would’ve taken us through the three-mile flat part first. Then we’d go back to the car much quicker in the end.

Mount Muller has more recorded ascents than the nearby Mount Storm King. But somehow, I’ve only seen photos of the latter on social media. Though, interestingly, most ascents here take place in February and June.

This way to Mount Muller
This way to Mount Muller

See more trip photos here.

Snider Ridge

It had just snowed the night before. But the trail was free of snow for the first couple of hundred feet of elevation. It stayed cloudy for the climb up to Snider Ridge. Thanks to the party of two who started 10 minutes earlier for paving the way.

The trail rose 2200′ in three miles up to the ridge. But an ample amount of switchbacks in the old-growth had offset the elevation gain greatly. We found continuous snow at 2500′. But I waited to put on snowshoes until we reached the ridge.

Trailside view
Trailside view

See more trip photos here.

Mount Muller Ridge Traverse

I changed to snowshoes by Jim’s Junction at 3300′, and we continued east. The group had laid out decent tracks through the south of the ridge. But at times, I’d break trail on the crest instead. Sidestepping through the crusty slopes was a bit annoying.

Later it snowed when we made it to Thomas Gap. Then we caught up to the two people as they came down Point 3508. They weren’t sure if it was the actual summit since visibility was weak. But they were ready to call it a day.

Come out and play
Come out and play

See more trip photos here.

Final Stretch to Mount Muller

We went over the high point and continued in at most one foot of powder. Then we inadvertently went down Point 3508’s north ridge. But I caught the mistake early, so we were able to get right back on track. Before long, we were down on the 3400′ saddle.

A few viewpoints in the dense forest looked out to the south. But the misty weather didn’t give us anything to see. Soon, we were on the open hill below the summit. Then we went back into the trees and finished the last bit up to the top.

Boulebard of Mount Muller
Boulebard of Mount Muller

See more trip photos here.

Mount Muller Summit

The summit sign was pretty cool. I haven’t seen one of those on a mountain in a long time. It’s cloudy during our visit. But the wind had died down a while ago. So we hung out for half an hour before leaving the top.

Too bad we couldn’t see out to the expansive Sol Duc Valley to the south. Or even the north to Juan da Fuca for that matter. But I did catch glimpses of the water a few times as we made our way down the east ridge.

Strait of Juan da Fuca
Strait of Juan da Fuca

See more trip photos here.

East Ridge Traverse

We tried staying on the crest. But at times, the thickets would force us off the ridgeline. In several places, we had no choice but to sidestep through the steep north side. This part of the ridge ended up rockier than I expected.

We carefully weaved our way through the outcrops. Then suddenly, the clouds dissipated and showed the magnificent Lake Crescent to the east. I’d driven past it many times in high school. But until now, I haven’t taken the time to enjoy the sight of the water.

Lake Crescent and Happy Lake Ridge panoramic view
Lake Crescent and Happy Lake Ridge panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Later we went back on moderate terrain before mile marker 7. Soon, we were back on the trail. Slowly, the amount of snow decreased as we made our way down the mountain through many switchbacks.

At the bottom was the Olympic Discovery Trail. It was a surprise since I’ve missed it while researching the mountain. We went back on Mount Muller Loop Trail in half a mile. Then it was another 2.5 miles of flat walking back to the car.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Alexei

    You probably know it’s a P2K. The reason for so many ascents.

  2. Peggy Shih

    Wow, stunning views. Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.