Pyramid Mountain And Striped Peak
Taking advantage of a favourable weather forecast on 12 April 2023, Zosia Zgolak and I ascended Pyramid Mountain near Lake Crescent in Washington's Olympic National Park.  Pyramid Mountain is easy to access and has a good trail most of the way to the top.  As such, it makes for a great early-season hiking objective when most higher peaks in the vicinity are still covered with snow.  While the mountain can be ascended year-round, a short section of trail wiped out by a landslide would be tricky to traverse in wet or snowy conditions.

From Highway 101, turn north onto Camp David Junior Road about 47 kilometres east of Forks or 40.0 kilometres west of the intersection with South Bean Road in Port Angeles.  Drive eastward for 5.2 kilometres to the trailhead parking area with vault toilet.

From the parking area, Zosia and I followed the well-maintained trail which crosses both the access road and a paved section of the Spruce Railroad Trail.  We soon settled into a long and steady climb through mostly viewless forest.  About 2.9 kilometres from the trailhead, we reached the aforementioned landslide which ironically granted some nice views of Lake Crescent.  We had no problems traversing the beaten path that has developed across the landslide, but the looseness and steepness of the terrain was still a little unnerving even with the dry conditions we had.  Past the landslide, we began encountering snow as we gained the crest of Pyramid Mountain's west ridge.  Fortunately, the snow was not too deep or icy, and we only had to contend with a few muddy sections as we climbed the remainder of the trail to the summit which is topped by an empty hut.  Far-reaching views from the summit are disappointingly limited due to tall trees blocking much of the panorama especially to the west and north.

After stopping for a short break atop of Pyramid Mountain, Zosia and I backtracked along the trail for about 100 metres and took a quick detour for a marginally better view of Lake Crescent.  We then returned to the main trail and retraced our steps down the mountain.  Although we traversed the landslide section again without incident, we did notice some loose dirt tumbling at random from above.  It is a bit surprising that the National Park Service has not yet re-routed this increasingly dangerous section of trail.  The remainder of our descent was uneventful.
I wonder where the tennis court was located...

Near the start of the hike to Pyramid Mountain is a sign which refers to a resort that once flourished at this location in the early 1900s.

Ideal for self-contemplation...

Most of the trail is forested like this.

The shell coils to the right which is the most common form for snails. Sonny finds an empty and translucent snail shell.
Well, it's better than looking at tree trunks!

Zosia catches a glimpse of Lake Crescent at a rare break in the trees.

Tricky even when dry! Zosia carefully traverses a beaten path where the trail has been wiped out by a landslide.
Better... The landslide allows more of Lake Crescent to be seen.
Still kinda marginal conditions for skiing... Zosia begins to encounter snow as she approaches the crest of Pyramid Mountain's west ridge.
Keep on grindin'! Despite snow cover, the trail is still easy to follow and ascend.
I'm surprised they didn't chop down all the trees in the background--so easy for enemy aircraft to sneak by! The hut on the summit was built during World War 2 for the purpose of spotting approaching enemy aircraft.
I don't think Canada is visible from here... The summit allows a glimpse of Lake Crescent's east end.  Also visible is smaller Lake Sutherland as well as Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Our first summit on the Olympic Peninsula! Sonny and Zosia claim the summit of Pyramid Mountain (943 metres).

Not bad but a bit disappointing after all the effort to get here!

Here is a more comprehensive view eastward from the summit.


Totally worth the short detour!

This scenic clearing about a hundred metres west of the summit can be reached via a faint spur trail.


Watch for falling rocks! Zosia carefully crosses the landslide zone again on the return hike.
Better views than from the summit! A boat dock near the trailhead grants this view eastward across Lake Crescent toward Mount Storm King.
I've seen better pyramid-like mountains... Here is a comprehensive view of Pyramid Mountain from the south shore of Lake Crescent.
A nice early season conditioner, but the summit views are a bit disappointing. Total Distance:  13.6 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 34 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  745 metres

GPX Data

With a lot of daylight left, Zosia and I next drove to Salt Creek Recreation Area on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula to hike up Striped Peak.  Other than navigating the numerous trails and logging roads that crisscross this diminutive mountain, there are no technical difficulties with the ascent.  Unbeknownst to us before the hike, this area was once a World War 2 military camp, and some of the infrastructure remain on the mountain.

From Highway 101, turn north onto Highway 112 about 82 kilometres east of Forks or 5.0 kilometres west of the intersection with South Bean Road in Port Angeles.  Drive westward for 12.0 kilometres and turn north onto Camp Hayden Road.  Drive 5.6 kilometres to a Y-junction and keep right.  Drive 220 metres to a gate for the Salt Creek Campground.  The day use parking lot and trailhead for Striped Peak is on the right just past the gate.  If needed, toilets can be found in the campground further down the road.

Starting from the trailhead at the day use parking lot, Zosia and I hiked eastward on Striped Peak Trail for about 700 metres before turning right at a signed junction with Bunker Ridge Trail.  This trail makes numerous switchbacks up the northwest ridge of Striped Peak, and along the way, there is a limited viewpoint with a bench as well as a creepy World War 2 bunker.  The trail intersects a gravel road at the bunker but then diverges again on the north side of the mountain (look for hiker signs).  We eventually crossed the same road higher up and followed a spur trail which essentially makes a loop around the summit block.  Although the actual high point is located within a rather nasty tangle of trees and bushes, some clear-cuts along the loop grant fairly satisfying views of nearby Crescent Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

When we had our fill of ocean breeze, Zosia and I returned to the road and followed it back to the bunker where we again picked up the Bunker Ridge Trail.  Retracing our steps, we descended back to the trailhead without any problems.
Still felt cool despite all the sunshine. Zosia starts hiking from the Striped Peak trailhead.
They clear-cutted half the mountain, so why couldn't they have chopped down a few more trees here to open up the views?

Partway up Bunker Ridge Trail is this bench and picnic area with limited views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The place definitely had a creepy vibe!

Zosia feels some trepidation about exploring this World War 2 bunker located along the Bunker Ridge Trail.

Good setting for a horror movie...

This is the only chamber in the surprisingly large bunker that has an opening which lets in ambient light.

O Canada!

This clearing above the bunker grants a nice view of Vancouver Island across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Tantalizing views behind Zosia!

Zosia picks up a spur trail which provides access to the summit.  The gravel road at right leads back to the bunker.

Not the summit, but a great view nonetheless!

Sonny and Zosia stand on the edge of a clear cut near the top of Striped Peak.  Behind them is Crescent Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Best view of the day.

Here is an unobstructed view of Crescent Bay from the same clear cut.


Again, why the hell didn't they clear-cut this??

Zosia stands more of less on the true summit of Striped Peak (345 metres) in a nasty tangle of trees and bushes.

On a clearer day, we could probably see Mount Baker from here. More of the Strait of Juan de Fuca can be seen from this clearing on the northeast side of the summit.
Better bang for your buck than Pyramid Mountain! Total Distance:  7.8 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  2 hours 38 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  313 metres

GPX Data