False Baldy 6,400 ft.Elevation gain: 3,200 ft. Distance: 6mi. Time: 6 hrs. 100% alpine. Enjoyment rating: 4.
Mt. Baldy 6,827 ft.Elevation gain: 4,000 ft. Distance: 7 mi. Time 7 hrs. Enjoyment rating: 5.
Gray Wolf 7,218 ft.Elevation gain: 5,000 ft. Distance: 10 mi. Time: 9-10 hrs. Enjoyment rating: 5+
Overview:This is a difficult but incredible hike up and down three peaks. They stand in a row like gigantic guardians above the Dungeness and Grey Wolf Rivers. The trail is steep but worth every step because of the expansive alpine ridges, great views and solitude. If you just do the first one, False Baldy, it is a worthy goal. Or do two and go onto Baldy, another great hike in itself. If you want the whole experience do all three and end up on Grey wolf Ridge Peak at 7,218, the highest walk up peak in the Olympics.
Getting to The Trailhead:It is 18.3 miles from Hwy 101 to the trailhead. Take Palo Alto road off of Hwy 101, 2.8 miles east of Sequim. Or 1.5 miles west of Sequim Bay State Park. Drive to the end of the paved road, 8 miles, then turn down and right on forest service gravel road 2880. The sign here says Dungeness Forks Campground and Trails. Drive past Dungeness Forks Campground and hit the junction with road #2870, coming in from your right at 9.6 mi. Continue straight (the road now is #2870) and hit junction with road #2860 at 12 miles, coming in from your left. Stay right and continue up. At 16.6 miles come to a sign with says “Upper Dungeness Trail 2 miles”. At this sign there is an ummarked road (#120 on the topo) going right. Turn right and drive 1.7 miles to the end of the old fire road.
The Trail:At the end of the road follow an old fire road trail which crosses Mueller Creek, then straightens, then makes a bend to the right, all in the first quarter of a mile. After the bend to the right look to the right and find a trail veering off into the trees. This is a one mile short cut. (If you stay on the old fire road trail you can get to the same place. You will continue for another one mile, then join the intersection to the Maynard Burn trail, coming up from the Royal Creek trail, then continue another half mile up the trail before you see a trail going left up the ridge.) If you’re on the short cut trail, hike up about .3 of a mile until you cross the old fire road Maynard Burn trail and then begin the steep climb up the treed ridge. You will gain 2,800 feet in 1.9 miles, sometimes on the border of Olympic National Park. You can see the park border signs. Because of its steepness you will share the trail with few other hikers.
The Peaks:The trail ends in a large alpine meadow below False Baldy peak, on your left. It is called that because from the trail you think that peak is Mt. Baldy. Climb to the saddle straight ahead, and then go left up the 6,400 ft. peak. Views are great from this peak but Mt. Baldy, which is a half mile and 400 feet of elevation gain farther up along the ridge, beckons. And it is a walk up peak.
Mt. Baldy,at 6,827 ft. is aptly named. It is a vast rock and heather meadow with bare ridges sloping down from three sides. From the top the views are expansive and even better than False Baldy. South, 1.5 miles along the ridge, magnificant Gray wolf Ridge peak rises to 7,218 ft. You also have great views of all the other peaks behind Gray wolf: including another Gray wolf ridge peak, Mt.Walkinshaw, The Needles, Deception, & Mystery. West is Grand Ridge, Hurricane Ridge and Mt. Angeles. North is the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sequim and Vancouver Island. East and closest is Mt. Tyler. Southeast you see the Buckhorn Wilderness: Marmot Pass, Mt. Townsend, Buckhorn Mt., Iron Mt. and Mt. Constance. Mt. Baker is in the far distance across the Strait. South is the ever present mass of Mt. Olympus.
If you can make it, do the 1.5 miles to Gray wolf Ridge Peak. It will add 2-3 hours to your trip. The main problem is that you must first drop down the scree south face of Baldy about 300 ft before you can continue the walk along the ridge to Gray wolf. Then the peak is a 700 foot climb in scree with a light scramble to the top. Additional views include Raineer in the distance and closeups of The Needles. Coming back you have to go back up Baldy again. But it is an exhilarating trip in spit of the ups and downs.
There is an alternative on the return from Gray Wolf to make this a loop hike and avoid the up and down of returning over Mt. Baldy. After coming back down Gray wolf Ridge Peak, to the first saddle, drop down steeply to your right, south, through a large open meadow which doglegs slightly to the left (east) into the trees. Enter the trees, at about 5,200 feet and stay on the ridge down, between the two creek drianages to the east and west. You cannot see the creeks from here but they are about a half mile apart on either side of you. Your goal is to intersect the Royal Creek trail where the creek on the left (east) intersects the trail at 3230 feet, about 2.5 miles from the upper Dungeness trailhead. It’s a little over a mile down through the trees and is somewhat slow going but doable. About half way down you will hear the rumbling sound of Royal Creek near the trail. Follow that sound moving to the left toward the east drainage. Once you intersect the Royal Creek trail, turn left (east) and hike 1.3 miles to the intersection with the Maynard Burn trail where you will again turn left at the sign. You are now 1.2 miles from the Dungeness trailhead and about 2 miles from the Baldy trailhead where you started.
Here you will encounter the one downside of doing this loop. You will have to ascend 500 ft of elevation gain in ½ mile back to where the Maynard Burn trail intersects the Baldy trail. At the Baldy trail, turn right and walk the remaining 1.5 miles back to the trailhead where you started.