Located on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, Mount Ellinor is a popular summer hike. The winter route is a fantastic snow adventure with a fun chute climb near the summit for skiers and hikers.
The lower trailhead is often inaccessible in April due to winter road conditions. After a 3-hour drive from home, we parked one mile from the lower trailhead at 10am.
We skinned the road with spotty snow coverage for 1.5 miles before reaching a connector trail to the upper trailhead.
The connector trail is not clearly marked- just a little boot pack going into the forest. Snow conditions were not easy but we refused to take off skis, which resulted in funnies. This part only lasts for half a mile but gains over 500 vertical feet.
Finally, the upper trail head! This is where people park in the summer. From here, there is another forested climb to the wide-open meadow.
Finally, the meadow and the chute! The chute climbs a steep 1000 vertical feet. We took off our skis and kick stepped our way up. Hard work, 70 degrees F, no wind, all sun. I was SO HOT.
We caught our breath at the top of the chute and made the last bit of the climb to the summit.
The skiing was fun for the first half! Like in all cascade crud, I had to take a break every 5 turns. The snow is heavy!
Skiing the forest was a barrel of laughs. And the road was just silly.
We found a wonderful campsite at the nearby Potlatch State Part, ate leftover Chinese takeout, camped, and watched the sunrise the next morning before heading to Mount Saint Helens for our next adventure.
Mount Ellinor Totals
Total Elapsed Time: 6 hours
Total Distance: 9.7 Miles
Total Gain: 4,100 feet