Trail Run – Olympic National Park – Deer Ridge 2

Hiking Trail: Deer Ridge Trail – on the Eastern spur of Blue Mountain

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Date: June 14, 2014

Distance: 10.6 miles, out and back/return trip.

Trailhead: 2540 feet

Highpoint: 5360 feet

Elevation Gain: 2820 feet

Hike Difficulty: Difficult/Strenuous.

Average hiking time 4 to 4.5 hours (return trip).

Trail Notes: Easy first mile. Steep for 1.5 miles. Less steep next 1.25 miles. Easy 1.5 miles to Deer Park.

Pass/Parking: No Parking Pass required.

Weather Conditions: A day typical of Asterix and Obelix where the sky had fallen!! High 50’s at the trail head and only high 30’s at Deer Park campground high point with last vestiges of old snow in high shady areas only. Due to the cloud cover it was quite dark  in heavily forested sections making it difficult to pick footing safely on descent. Very brief and temporary clearing of cloud cover near the top. Little to no wind.

Trail Running Details: Today’s run was treated purely as exercise and I was feeling good enough to actually attempt running as much of the uphill as possible. Deer Ridge Trail faces South and had some water drainage from melting snows higher up. The first mile of easy running ascended gently through blooming rhododendron and small sheltering trees. As the trail starts to enter denser forest with more shade it also steepens, dramatically, and uphill running/jogging interspersed with hiking. On rounding a right hand hairpin bend a transition in the forest from tall timber trees to smaller, contorted firs and pines and less ground cover becomes apparent. There is a couple of benches for the wearisome with marvelous views into the heart of the Olympics, Greywolf and Cameron Creek watersheds. The next 1.25 miles has undulating steepness for jogging and hiking then finally enters the upper meadow reaches of Deer Ridge for the remaining easy 1.5 miles to Deer Park. (Continue past the turn off for Three Forks trail 0.2 miles to Deer Park camping area). Alpine flowers were a little early season in the higher reaches but still prominent and pleasing. Due to the cold conditions I only ate a sandwich and swigged some water before jogging back down. I had to be careful of footing due to recent rains causing slippery smooth rocks and roots plus the near darkness in the clouded gloom of dense forest patches. But it was a fun trip all the same.

Run/Walk/Jog Time: to Deer Park Campground – 1 hour 28 mins. Run down to trailhead 58 mins. Total time 2 hours 28 mins including break.

Running Gear: Breathable short sleeved tee-shirt, shorts, DryMax socks, Montrail Mountain Masochist trail running shoes, Camelbak Rim Runner with 1 quart water, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, windproof jacket and over trousers.

Trailhead: Leave Hwy 101 at Taylor Cutoff West of Sequim. Follow onto Lost Mountain Rd and turn Left onto forest road 2870 then turn Right onto forest road 2875 Continue to obvious car park area, which is the trailhead for Deer Ridge (trail # 846) and Slab Camp (trail # 838).

Deer Ridge lower forest

Deer Ridge lower forest

Deer Ridge, Blue Mountain

Deer Ridge, Blue Mountain

Deer Ridge above forest

Deer Ridge above forest

Deer Ridge above forest

Deer Ridge above forest

Deer Ridge upper forest

Deer Ridge upper forest

Deer Ridge halfway seat

Deer Ridge halfway seat

Deer Ridge halfway view

Deer Ridge halfway view

Deer Ridge lower forest

Deer Ridge lower forest

Deer Ridge first open view

Deer Ridge first open view