Climb almost a mile into the Olympic Mountains for a spectacular day, or stay and camp overnight.
STARTING POINT: Port Angeles
DISTANCE FROM STARTING POINT: 17.2 miles
ROAD SURFACE: Paved at first, then dirt
WHEN ACCESSIBLE: Summer, Fall
RECOMMENDED VEHICLES: AWD, 4WD, autos; not recommended for trailers or large RVs
WHEN WE WENT: September 2020
TRAILHEADS: Obstruction Point, Slide Camp, Three Forks
CAMPGROUNDS: Deer Park
CONTACT FOR PARK INFO: Olympic National Park, www.nps.gov/olym, 360-565-3130
You will be able to see the snowy top of Blue Mountain from Highway 101. The mountain is 6,007 feet high and the road will take you to about 700 feet below the summit.
Take Highway 101 to Port Angeles. East of Port Angeles, turn south onto Deer Park road, which is east of auto dealerships and the Deer Park Cinema. GPS location: 48.10609 N, 123.34296 W
After you make the turn, you will be on a paved road passing farms and houses on a gentle climb on the east side of the Morse Creek Valley. When you reach Township Line Road, the road turns to gravel/dirt, climbing into a valley with farms. The entrance to Olympic National Park is 9.1 miles from where you turned off Highway 101. This entrance is gated in winter after snow starts and remains closed until approximately mid-July.
From the park entrance, you start climbing. Even though the road is wide enough for two cars to pass each other, it is tight, especially in the switchbacks. But you will have some wide turnouts scattered along the way. After the switchbacks, about 12.5 miles from Highway 101, there is a viewpoint giving you a glimpse of the forest and valley. After the viewpoint, the road becomes very steep, climbing to the north side of Blue Mountain. The view to the south and west is breathtaking looking sharply down into the valley.
You then head south twisting and climbing along the face of Blue Mountain toward Deer Park, 16.0 miles from Highway 101. At a "Y" in the road in about 0.5 miles, the right fork takes you to a ranger station on the west side of Blue Mountain. From here, you can take a trail toward Obstruction Point, or you can re-join the main road in about 0.5 miles and continue to one of the campgrounds. If you stay on the main road instead of heading to the ranger station, there is a viewpoint that reveals the beauty of Needles and gives you a look at the back of Obstruction Point and Hurricane Ridge.
From the trailhead parking area, there are trails to Slide Camp and Three Forks. You will also find two campground loops that begin from the trailhead parking.
As we headed back down, we were surprised to see a biker who made the steep climb to the top!