12/13/14 Road to upper trailhead is snow free. Hiker reports about six inches snow/ice at top of trail though ascent is doable without gear. Crampons are best for descent, but other traction devices work well
From Hoodsport, take State Route 119 for 9.0 miles to the junction with Forest Service Road 24. Turn right and go 1.6 miles to Forest Service Road 2419 (Big Creek Road). Travel on Forest Road 2419 for 4.9 miles to the lower trailhead. To reach the upper trailhead go another 1.5 miles, turn left on Forest Service Road 2419-014, follow it to the end of road.
Recreation areas with activity Mountain Climbing:
See day hiking for route description.
The lower trail climbs gently through the forest for the first mile, and then becomes steeper and increasingly rough. At timberline, 2.5 miles from the lower trailhead, the trail intersects the winter climbing route to the right and the summer trail route to the left. This is a good turnaround point for inexperienced hikers. Nice views of Hood Canal, Lake Cushman and the Cascades from rock outcrops near base of the chute. Summer Route to Summit: Beyond the viewpoint, the Summer Trail switchbacks to the south ridge of Mt. Ellinor, then follows the ridge to the summit at 5,944' elevation. Please use the summer route during the snow free months to prevent damage to the fragile vegetation along the winter climbing route. Always wear good boots, carry the ten essentials, and a full canteen. Winter Route to Summit: Use extra caution when climbing the chute, especially when it is cloudy and foggy as the rocks are extremely slick when wet. Check on avalanche conditions before beginning the climb. Ice axe, boots, and the ten essentials are necessary. Conditions can change very rapidly and the chute can be hazardous even in good weather.
Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:
Recreation areas with activity Viewing Plants:
Abundant wildflowers in meadows.
Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:
The trail veers to the left of the steep chute, passes through abundant wildflower meadows, and then follows the ridge to the summit with expansive 360° views.