Here are some pictures and commentary of the trip John, Alan, Andy and myself made to Mount Muller in the middle of August, 2003...  John and I had talked about this trip for over a year - but never made the effort to set it up.  So finally we picked a date and decided it would be done.  A trail map can be viewed by clicking here...

Mount Muller is located directly west of Lake Crescent off of US 101 near the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  It borders Olympic National Park to the east and south.  The trail is in very good shape, but the ride should be left to the hearty.  A 13 mile loop, before you're done, you will have done over 3,000 feet of climbing - about 2,200 of that in the first three miles.  Make sure your equipment is sound also, especially the brakes.  The switchbacks that lead down off the ridge are as steep as they are epic, with very little margin for error.

The trail quickly steepens once out of the parking area into a set of climbing switchbacks.  There is little time to warm up, so laps around the parking area is very recommended.  The trail is relentless for the first three miles, allowing little opportunity to catch your breath.  I needed to stop frequently, and even offered beer and pizza to anyone who wanted to turn back - it is that killer.  Andy seemed to take the trail easily though, damn kids, and John wasn't far behind - you could tell he'd been training!  Alan and I brought up the rear.  After a couple miles though, I seemed to hit my stride, and was able to up my pace.

Once on the ridge, the trail climbs and descends through beautiful meadows and stands of timber.  The view is epic to the south - into the heart of Olympic National Park - but on this day, we were thwarted by overcast skies that only allowed us the view down to the highway 3,000 feet below.  While we still had some flowers blooming, mostly purple paintbrush, I would say mid July would be optimal for floral entertainment.

The climb to the real summit is a well marked spur trail mid-way across the ridge, and takes very little extra effort to make.  Once the ridge has been traversed, be ready for some epic downhill switchbacks - almost three miles of them.  Be careful though, as overshooting a left hander could result in a serious injury as some of them have over a hundred feet of exposure!

Once down, the trail is very flat for the remaining four miles back to the car.  It meanders through classic Olympic Peninsula vine maple and Doug fir, each with large amounts of hanging moss.  And then if you're hot, stop by Lake Crescent on the way out, and take a plunge!  These shots were taken at various points during the trip with comments underneath.  Click the thumbnail to view the picture full size...  Enjoy!

View of Mt Muller from Lake Crescent...

About two thirds of the way around Lake Crescent, the informed eye catches the first glimpse of Mount Muller.  The trail starts at the lower left, climbs, traverses left to right, descends on the right, and follows US 101 back to the parking lot.

Resting early in the climb...

The trail quickly steepens, and catches me unprepared.  I needed to rest often over the first two miles, and walked my bike much of the time...

Alan on a switchback above...

My pleads to turn back for pizza and beer go unanswered...  Here Alan moves ahead on the trail above.

  First real view from the ridge...

After the first three miles, the trail begins to open, providing wonderful views.  These views will breathe new energy, allowing me to move ahead and up my pace.  Too bad the cloud cover hung around most of the day though...

John, Tom and Alan resting...

Up on the ridge, we stopped to collect ourselves and juice up...

Tom climbing last major pitch...

The ridge opens to a series of meadows and timber.  Here, I complete the last major part of the climb with Alan just behind.

Lunch time on the ridge...

We find a nice covered area to eat lunch as a light drizzle begins.  If this had hit thirty minutes earlier, I think my mantra for pizza and beer would have been embraced!  But now with most of the climbing done - we had to finish.

Meadow on the ridge...

...A month earlier, the meadows would have been truly spectacular!

Andy on the ridge...

Andy seemed to waltz up the mountain, smiling the whole time.  Ah, to be young again...

John in one of the meadows...

John on the trail as it winds along the ridge, framed by some purple paintbrush...

    Ridge trail heads into the trees...

As quickly as the trail breaks out into open meadows, it dives back into thick stands of trees...

Andy, Tom and Alan at a meadow...

Andy and myself coming out of the trees...

Summit shot!

Having climbed the short spur trail to the real summit, we pause for the summit shot.

Clouded view from the top...

The view from the top was disappointingly hazy.  US 101 can seen below, the only recognizable landmark.

Tom, Andy and Alan on the trail on the bottom...

With no real safe place to pull off for pictures, the downhill section only takes 15 minutes!  Once down, the trail relaxes in to a meander at the base of the mountain.

Trail on the bottom..

The silky smooth trail on the bottom allows a brisk pace if desired.  Much of the trail was in this good of shape.

Andy cooling off in Lake Crescent...

Desiring the opportunity to cool off, Andy relaxes in the brisk waters of Lake Crescent.

    Andy hanging off...

...In an effort to dry his hair, Andy swings open the van door, and hangs off in true road-racer fashion for that natural breeze...

Back to Tom's Mountain Biking...

Home - Contact - Search - Guest Book - What's Tom Up To

All content on this page is Copyright 2004, and can not be reproduced without the expressed permission of themarxes.us.