Mount Storm King
Mount Storm King is a hard hike in Olympic National Park. This hike is the site of a signature shot overlooking Lake Crescent, so you’ll see plenty of cameras out and the top. It’s not too long of a trek, taking most people about 3 or 4 hours, making it a popular destination for views that feel much further away.
Mount Storm King has a rope climbing section to aid in getting up the steep summit, but anyone feeling less inclined to take on the steepest section can enjoy viewpoints along the way that offer similar sights. This hike isn’t one to do in poor weather since the trail can get too slick to safely climb and the upper portion of the trail is unmaintained. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll love the summit!
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Route Description for Mount Storm King
If you’re local, you’ve probably seen photos taken from the top of Mount Storm King. The iconic view of Lake Crescent is a wonderful one, with tree-clad mountains surrounding a deep blue lake. It’s not an easy hike despite its modest distance, gaining significant elevation consistently the entire way up. It’s a leg burner, but it’s still doable in a half day.
We don’t recommend this hike if it’s been raining or snowing as the route gets too slick to safely climb. Besides, you’ll want those views on a clear day! Additionally, there is a section near the top where you’ll use ropes to reach the summit. While it’s not that exposed, anyone uncomfortable with heights can enjoy the numerous pretty viewpoints below the summit.
The route begins from the Storm Creek Ranger Station. Take the wide trail that crosses in front of the ranger station and walk under Highway 101. You’ll be on a trail signed for Marymere Falls. It’s flat here, but it doesn’t last long!
After about half of a mile, you’ll see a sign against a boulder pointing the way. Make a sharp turn here to begin heading towards Storm King.
This is where the steep climbing begins. Hiking through the forest, the trail switchbacks consistently before flattening out a touch at a half mile before the turnoff. There are a few viewpoints, offering little peeks of views of both the Barnes Creek valley and, of course, Lake Crescent. At 2.1 km, the maintained trail ends, with a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. From here on the trail gets steeper and narrower, so this is the ebay turnaround point for very casual hikers. Otherwise, continue on.
The rest of the trail is very slick, quite steep, and unmaintained. Take your time and be careful. From the top, soak in the expansive lake view before retracing your steps back to the trailhead.
Lake Crescent is a deep lake in Olympic National Park. It’s the second deepest lake in Washington State after Lake Chelan, previously rumored to reach depths of more than 1000 feet (since disproven, but still). It’s been proven that the lake is closer to 600 feet deep. Its deep blue colour is the highlight of the view from atop Mount Storm King.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is Mount Storm King?
Mount Storm King is a hard hike, but it does offer the chance to stop before the final summit push and still enjoy great views. The upper portion of the trail is not maintained, and it’s very slick and steep. While the rest of the trail is still steep, this section can be avoided.
Is Mount Storm King dangerous?
While sections of the hike are exposed and slick, these parts can be avoided by stopping at the viewpoint at the end of the maintained trail. Accidents happen, so hike carefully.
Do I need a pass for Mount Storm King?
There is no pass or permit required for this hike.
Insider Hints for Mount Storm King
- Wait for a sunny, dry day to do this hike.
- Head down to the lakeshore after your hike to dip your feet and cool off.
Getting to the Mount Storm King Trailhead
The trailhead for Mount Storm King is near the Storm King Ranger Station off Lake Circle Road.
Mount Storm King Elevation Graph
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Mount Storm King Reviews
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