Lower Lena LakeElevation Gain: 1200 Feet
Length: 6 Miles Round-trip
This hike is a very easy and beautiful hike. Well within the ability of children and older folks and for those seeking a challenge they can continue to Upper Lena Lake for some major elevation gain.
The trail starts out right next to the paved road. It climbs gently and starts to enter very easy switchbacks. At about a quarter to half mile you can start to hear the sounds of a waterfall. Cross the bridge over the creek (the water is now flowing underneath the surface of the rocks and cannot be seen) and enter a area of beautifully covered moss boulders.
On the left side of the trail you will then see a HUGE rock. The trail then decends to Lower Lena Lake. The lake is about 500 yards long and about 100 yards wide with the west and north sides having access to the water. The lake has about twenty camp sites, with the best sites found on the west side of the lake. The camp site on the east side of the lake are about 100 yards from the lake. I would recommend not counting on finding much firewood seeing this is a very heavily used area.
Location: From Seattle, take the Bainbridge Island ferry. Cross the Kitsap Pennisula and cross the Hood Canal bridge. Drive 10 miles to the Quilcene turnoff and head south 32 miles (the Quilcene road turns into 101). Turn right at the sign for the Hamma Hamma Rec. Area (Road 25). Drive 8 miles to the parking spaces along both sides of the paved road.
Mount EllinorElevation Gain: 2100 Feet
Length: 4.5 Miles Roundtrip
Mt Ellinor starts at a pretty steep angle and continues like this almost to the very top of the summit. About half way up you encounter a rock flow that makes climbing pretty easy but a bit dangerous if there is snow on the trail. After the rock flow, comes a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers that lead to the ridge of mount Ellinor.
Once you reach the ridge, a beautiful view of the entire Puget Sound basin is yours and on the other side of the ride is a breath taking view of the Olympics. The trail continues up to the right and finally to the top. The top can be reached after a 50 foot rock scramble.
Location: Get yourself over to the Olympic Peninsula and drive US 101 along Hood Canal to the center of Hoodsport. Turn west 9 miles on the Lake Cushman Road to a junction. Turn right 1.6 miles on road No. 24, then left on Big Creek road No. 2419, past the lower trailhead at 4.8 miles from road No. 24 and at 6.4 miles go left on road No (241)(014 to the road end and trailhead.
Mildred LakesElevation Gain: 2300 Feet (600 feet out)
Length: 10 Miles Roundtrip
The Mildred Lakes are well worth the visit and they had better be after the struggle. The trail is very primitive and is not maintained by the park service.
The trail starts out with a very gradual uphill climb for the first 3 miles where it dips down to a very nice creek and good camping spots. After the creek, the trail degrades rapidly and starts up a 1000 foot elevation gain in less than a mile. At this point we were using our hands to climb up the trail. Several places we lost the trail and had to backtrack until we found trail markers some kind hikers had tied on trees.
The trail then drops to the first lake. The trails around the lake are confusing so when you head back take care not to end up following a false trail.
There is a very nice camp site on the other side of the lake on a rock outcropping. From this point, you may hike the another 1/3 of mile to reach the upper lake.
Location: Get yourself over to the Olympic Peninsula and drive north on US 101 along Hood Canal to 14 miles north of Hoodsport. Take a left on the Hamma Hamma Recreation Area road No. 25 to the end at a concrete bridge over the Hamma Hamma River. Follow road #822 to the end to reach the end of the road and the trailhead.