Trail Run – Olympic National Park – Deer Ridge

Hiking Trail: Deer Ridge Trail – on the Eastern spur of Blue Mountain
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Date: July 29, 2012
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: Mid 60’s F, bright blue sunny skies, small puffy white clouds above and thin foggy clouds in the valleys below. Calm winds 0-5 mph. A picture perfect NW day (for a change)!!!

Trail Running Details: Deer Ridge Trail faces South and has little to no water with only minor seepage in a couple of spots. The trail surface was in perfect condition after clearing crews had done their work on it. The first mile of easy running ascends gently through rhododendron and small sheltering trees.

As the trail starts to enter denser forest with more shade it also steepens, dramatically, and uphill running/jogging dwindled to walking pace for the next 1.5 miles. 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 and 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). The views from these upper, open slopes to the West, South or East are fantastic and all surrounding slopes were filled with differing Alpine flowers, sometimes looking like a carpet of lilac foxgloves. Resident deer wander the campground area and are not spooked by their human visitors.

After a well earned rest and refueling the body with energy and water I set off to retrace my steps – only much quicker this time with it being all downhill. I had no slips but had to watch the cambered corners with drop-offs occasionally!!

Run/Walk/Jog Time: to Deer Park Campground – 1.5 hours. Run down to trailhead 50 mins. Total time 2.5 hours including break.

Running Gear: Breathable long sleeved tee-shirt, shorts, DryMax socks, Montrail Mountain Masochist trail running shoes, Camelbak Rim Runner with 1 quart water, Cliff Bloks, sliced cheese, 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).

 


Wrong Season but shows some of the lower trail.