Hike Mount Storm King
Date Hiked: 9/3/16
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
Trailhead: Storm King Ranger Station
The hike to Mount Storm King was thrown onto our Olympic itinerary at the very last minute. The main attraction of our weekend trip was going to be Toleak Point but we were only going to be able to complete that trail at low tide, so we were limited to hiking it early in the morning or later in the afternoon. We opted to hike it later in the afternoon which gave us a free morning and enough time to attempt another hike. After a little research we settled on the epically named Mount Storm King.
The hike to Mount Storm King doesn't look too intimidating on paper. Its short mileage can easily trick you into thinking the hike is going to be easy but the elevation gain offsets any ease the distance may offer. This hike was an uphill slog.
The hike begins at the Storm Ranger Station. The first half mile of the trail is shared with the trail to Marymere Falls so this section can get quite busy but we began our hike early so we didn't share the trail with many other hikers.
Once we reached the Marymere/Storm King split and followed the sign that indicated Storm King was to the left it became quite apparent that we were going to have to work for the views. The trail abruptly began a steep ascent through the forest but thankfully the canopy of trees kept us cool as we slowly made our way up the switchbacks.
There were a few breaks in the trees that gave us our first glimpse of Lake Crescent and those brief views were enough to encourage us to keep climbing. Finally, we emerged from the forest and found ourselves on a ridge with beautiful views of the Barnes Creek valley sprawling out before us. We continued onto the last few portions of trail which were the most intimidating. There are ropes put into place which offer guidance and support past a few exposed sections of trail and then a final scramble to the top of Mount Storm King. The summit sits below Pyramid Mountain but high above Lake Crescent below. When we arrived the entire lake was covered in clouds and there was just one other hiker at the summit, waiting for the clouds to clear. We set our packs down, took out a few snacks, and waited as well.
The other hiker ended up leaving and Alex and I were alone on Storm King, patiently waiting for the clouds to move across the water below us. Eventually they did and they revealed a jaw-dropping eagle's eye view.
No other hikers joined us at the summit while we sat, ate, snapped photos, and simply relished in the views. Eventually, it was time to head back down and we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the stunning landscape. As we were leaving we passed the first group of hikers we saw since our arrival at the summit, and then we passed another group, and another. Suddenly we were very appreciative the solitude we experienced at the top!