Mt. Muller: 3,748 ft.Elevation gain: 2,748 ft. Distance: 12.8 mile loop. Time: 6 hrs. No alpine: Forest and Ridge walk. Trailhead: 1,000 ft. Rating 3.
Getting to The Trailhead:The trail is located 31 miles west of Port Angeles and 5 miles west of Lake Crescent. Turn north at the Mt. Muller sign, on road #3071 for .5 mile and the trail #882.
Overview:Mt. Muller is a lower elevation hike, particularly good when snows cover the high country. It is a forest and ridge loop which offers spectacular views of Lake Crescent, Mt. Olympus, The Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Sol Duc Valley.
The Trail:You can begin the loop by going either left or right at the trailhead. I always go left, which is the shortest distance to Mt. Muller at 5.3 miles. The trail starts with a gradual climb through lush temperate forest. At .5 miles it begins climbing more steeply, gaining 2,200 feet to the top of snider ridge in the next 2.5 miles. At 3 miles and 3,200 elevation come to a trail junction called Jim’s Junction. The trail left, west, leads to Kloshe Nanitch. Take the right trail, east, and follow the meandering ridge through trees and rocks, where openings provide great views, to Mt. Mueller at 5.3 miles.
The Peak:A short spur trail, on the left, takes you to the top. Lake Crescent lies 3,000 feet below you and stretches to the east. The Strait and Mt. Olympus are both visible, in opposite directions. The Sol Duc Valley, below you, is a beautiful lush green. The Kloshe Nanitch Lookout is 5 miles to the west. For a slightly different view, walk .2 mile south from the top, to check out Panorama Point at 3,550 feet.
From Mt. Muller and Panorama Point you can return to the trailhead the way you came or continue on the loop. There is another 1.7 miles of ridge to explore east, so I prefer the loop. At 6.1 miles the trail crosses Molly’s Meadow and at 7 miles comes to Cahill Overlook, then Mosley Gap at 7.4 miles. From here you begin to drop back down through boulder formations and switchbacks to the valley floor. You will pass Fouts Rock House at 8.6 miles (2000 ft.) then cross Hutch Creek at 10 miles. The last 3 miles of level trail passes through beautiful stands of Maple, Doug-fir and Western Hemlock and returns to the trailhead at 12.8 miles.