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Deer Ridge

Olympic Peninsula

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
View map below

Length

9.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2800 ft.
Highest Point: 5350 ft.

Rating

3.12 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

Hike through a tunnel of rhododendron blooms and second-growth forest to views of the Olympic Peninsula interior and a carpet of wildflowers. Hike this route in the early summer and you may be lucky enough to see Deer Park with no cars, since the road to Deer Park often doesn't open until late in the season. 

At the trailhead, two ways diverge. You'll want the right-most trail, which cuts through a meadow and then almost immediately begins climbing up a ridgeline. 

At first, the elevation gain is gentle, and you can amble along among the pink clouds of spring and early-summer rhodies, but after 1.5 miles, the grade intensifies. In this section, you'll cross a small trickle, your only water source for this hike, so fill up if you need to!

Continue another 1.2 miles through open forest with minimal views, but nice trees (though the rhododendrons disappear in this section). After a final steep push around a switchback, you'll arrive at an overlook of the Gray Wolf valley, dramatic and breathtaking when its clear. Just up the hill from this overlook are two benches. one was the original memorial for Phil Hall, a resident of Sequim who spent much of his time ensuring this trail stayed accessible and well-maintained. 

The other bench simply offers a break for the weary, or a turnaround point for those hiking with dogs. It's just another 0.6 miles to the border with Olympic National Park and these views are as good as it gets before then.

If you're continuing on, climbing at a slightly more moderate (but always upward) grade. You'll continue another 0.6 miles to the boundary with Olympic National Park. At the boundary, you'll have a short downhill jaunt before climbing again. In your second climb, you'll pass through wide-open rock fields and meadows. Look for stonecrop and phlox in the rockfields and chocolate lilies, columbine, buttercup and lupine in the meadows. 

1.2 miles past the park boundary is a junction with the Three Forks Trail, which plunges into the Gray Wolf River valley and deep backcountry destinations like Cameron Pass. But you've almost arrived at your destination: Deer Park campground. 

Continue a few hundred feet more, popping out into the parking area near the east side of the Deer Park campground. From here, you have choices. Stop here and find a spot for lunch (the picnic table outside the usually-closed ranger station is a good option), or hike up the road to the Rainshadow Loop trail. If you really want to log miles, Deer Park is the starting point for the hike to Maiden Peak. You can find the trail for that near the ranger station, on the other side of the campground. 

 

Deer Ridge

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.9652, -123.1936 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal

Deer Ridge (#846)

Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District and Olympic National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Custom Correct Gray Wolf–Dosewallips

Buy the Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168S map

Buy the Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168SX map

Getting There

From the south, drive Highway 101 to Louella Road just south of Sequim Bay State Park. Turn left at the T onto Palo Alto Road. After about 6 miles, take a right at a junction onto FR-2880. The road goes down steeply to cross the river. In just over 1.5 miles, turn right onto FR-2870 (signed for Gray Wolf and Slab Camp trails).

Stay straight to be on Slab Camp Road (do NOT turn left onto 2878 or other unmarked roads). Turn left onto FR-2875. Take note that the sign is sometimes knocked down or obscured and go about four miles to the trailhead.

From Sequim and other points north, travel 2.5 miles west of Sequim on US Highway 101. Just after crossing the river, turn left on Taylor Cutoff Road. Bear right after 2.5 miles onto Lost Mountain Road. After another 2.5 miles, turn left onto FR-2870. In about a mile, go right at FR-2875.

Please note that shortly before the 2875 turn, there's a small sign saying Gray Wolf Trail is straight ahead; this sign is for Lower Gray Wolf. Follow FR-2875 about four miles to the end and an open parking area for Slab Camp & Deer Ridge Trails.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Deer Ridge

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