Hiking to the top of Maiden Peak

Port Angeles, WA

Soon after arriving in this area we were told by a local resident not to miss a visit to the Deer Park section of Olympic National Park.  A little research revealed that Deer Park is the location of the trailhead for a hike to Maiden Peak, a 6,434 foot peak with a great 360 degree view of the mountains to the south and water to the north.   So one day last week we took  US 101 to just east of Port Angeles where we turned south on to Deer Park Road.  The 16 mile road is paved for the first 8 miles but once it enters the national park, the road narrows and becomes dirt.

We read that the road can be quite rough at times, but it must have been graded recently as we found it to be in good condition, although very dusty.  It’s a bit narrow in spots with steep drop offs to the west, so you need to be alert, especially when going around the numerous turns.

As you gain in elevation great views appear where there are gaps in the trees.

Don’t turn right!

As we approached the end of the road, a clearly marked turn to the right led to a small parking area near a ranger station at 5500 ft.  We didn’t see anyone on the drive up so we were surprised at the number of cars in the small parking area.  We were just able to squeeze the Jeep into a spot parallel to the road before heading to the nearby trail.

Maiden Peak is located along the Obstruction Point Trail

The trail begins by going sharply downhill (to 4900 ft) for almost a mile.  It’s a nice, easy walk on fresh legs, but we knew we would pay a price coming up on the return hike!

The trail first goes through the forests of Green Mountain, then opens into meadows with a view of a false summit of Maiden Peak.

False summit ahead

As we climbed up through the meadow, the top of Maiden Peak soon came into view.

Maiden Peak on the right

We waited, but Julie Andrews failed to appear

Continuing up through the meadow

After climbing up through the meadow, the trail winds around the first peak on a narrow path where it it best to keep your focus on the trail, despite the gorgeous views.

Once we made our way around the first peak, we could see Maiden Peak in front of us.

A young climber rests among the lupine before the final assault up to the peak!

The main trail continues around the peak and keeps going further into the mountains.  We knew there was no defined route to the top, but we read somewhere that there was a spot where you could see hints of a path others had used.  We hiked all the way to the other side of the peak and found a little used path, but it didn’t lead to the top so we just ended up scrambling up the loose rock to the peak.

 

Can you spot John in the top center of the rocks?

That’s him waving from atop the peak

A USGS survey marker identifies the highest point on the peak at 6,434 ft.

The photo below has a bit of haze, but you can just make out the Dungeness Spit jutting out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  With binoculars we could see the lighthouse we visited last week with Eric and Laurel (blog post).

Dungeness Spit to the north

View to the northeast with Mt Baker in the distance

View to the northwest

View to the southwest

Lunch with a view

After enjoying the views on the peak we began the hike back to the trailhead.  We first had to get back to the main trail below us through the loose rocks.

No trail here!

Back on the main trail

Avalanche lilies abound

The hike is eight miles round trip, so our legs were a bit tired as we hit that last uphill mile to the trailhead.  Once back at the parking area we could see the two peaks in the distance.

Then it was back down the dusty, winding, narrow road to civilization.

The hike to Maiden Peak is one of the best we have ever done.  The constant elevation change really works the legs, but the great views near and atop the peak make it well worth the effort.

Next up for us is a bit of “island hopping” to visit friends.  More on that later . . .

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Hiking to the top of Maiden Peak

  1. exploRVistas says:

    Such a beautiful area! That’s an amazing hike!

  2. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    Now you’re talking! Views and 8 miles!!!
    It’s cool that timberline is so much lower as you go north 🙂

  3. We ran out of time and didn’t get to do this hike. Looks like a great one!

  4. Jeff Pierce says:

    Great views of the Olympic Mountains, sure does look like a scene from The Sound of Music.

  5. Jodee Gravel says:

    Another seat gripping trail along the treacherous narrow cliffs of death! No, I couldn’t see John in the rocks – stay out of the rocks John!! Really, such amazing views at the top. So cool to see the spit from there, and that southwest pic feels like the top of the world. Beautiful. Inclines at the end of a hike should be outlawed :-)))

  6. Gay says:

    Just beautiful! Reminds me of the hiking we have done near Ouray and Crested Butte…you would love that area too. Olympic NP was postponed this year…sure hope it works out next year! I’m loving your posts!

  7. Sherry says:

    Boy do I know about starting out downhill and finishing up hill. Blue Ridge Mountain hiking. LOL at that perfect picture for Julie Andrews. Great!! Whew those views are simply fantastic but can you afford to look? Great picture among the Lupine. Really beautiful. But good grief, blazing your own trail among the rocks to the top. I did see John in that picture but how in the world did he get there? You guys are amazing. What fabulous views! That may be the best lunch with a view you’ve posted. What a marvelous hike.

    • placestheygo says:

      The rocks were actually rather easy to get through. There was a slight worn trail through them when we got up there. I think it is one of our best lunch with a view spots, as well. It was tough to decide which way to look.

  8. Laurel says:

    Oh wow!! You described this hike to us, but seeing the photos….I am soooo envious!! I wish we had done this hike with you! But thanks for showing us how gorgeous it is. Definitely on our list for our next visit to the OP. But you won’t be here and it won’t be as much fun without you. You have to come back. :-)) Those views are amazing — how cool to be able to see Dungeness Spit from the top. And those avalanche lilies! Even more spectacular than the last hike you posted.

    • placestheygo says:

      This is a hike you and Eric will love, especially this time of year. Put it high on your list for you next visit! Seeing the spit from up there was very interesting. We hiked a long ways out to that lighthouse. It would have been fun having you two along.

  9. What outstanding photos you guys took! It would most definitely be a “favorite” of all time hike!

  10. Debbie L says:

    Wow!!! This was definitely your best!!!! Thanks for taking us along! We may never get our motorhome home there, but we’ll keep this post to read again and again why we have to go to the PNW! I thought the PSW looked inviting-this hike is actually what we’re striving for! Amazing just amazing and fabulous pictures! But John went alone???? Glad you kept an eye on him!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Debbie! Glad you joined us. I hope you make it to the PNW one day. It took us seven years to get here. John made the climb first but I wasn’t too far behind.

      • Debbie L says:

        Oh thanks! That’s encouraging! It’ll probably be 7 years for us. We just have to stay in shape and hope we can do it at ages 73 and 72! 🙃

  11. Clearly this hike is right up our alley! Guess we’ll have to return some day to do it!

  12. What amazing views!!! Once I got there it would be hard to leave!! I can see we need to get in better shape to achieve these sights!!
    Thanks for taking us along and sharing those fantastic pictures!!

  13. What an absolutely magnificent hike! Scrambling up the rocks to the top… wow you guys are certainly adventurous and clearly in good shape. Love your photos and the views across to the pine trees and beyond. Glorious!

    Peta

  14. pmbweaver says:

    Gorgeous!!! The view from the top is just amazing. I love seeing the rough, snow-covered mountains. You hit the jackpot for sure this time.

  15. geogypsy2u says:

    OMGosh, those mountain views are amazing! And so are you two for hiking like this.

  16. It’s a wow! Great photos and views and what a hike! Im so envious!

  17. Wow, how beautiful! And wow, you youngsters are impressive with your 8-mile hikes with such an elevation gain, *at* elevation! I want to save your inspiring articles to Pinterest so I can keep all my links organized in one place, but without a Pinterest button on your site, it won’t recognize any images to create a descriptive “pin” your articles. Would love to see you add a Pinterest button to your WordPress account. Thanks and keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s