Mt. Appleton: 6,000 ft.Elevation gain: 4,200 ft. Distance 18 mi. Time 10-11 hrs. 40 % alpine. Trailhead: 1,835 ft. Enjoyment rating: 4.
Peak 6100: 6,100ft. Elevation gain: 4,300 ft. Distance: 18 miles Time: 9-10 hrs. 40% alpine. Trailhead: 1,835 ft. Enjoyment rating 4.
Overview:This is a strenuous but worthwhile hike to an alpine saddle between two peaks. From the saddle you can choose which peak to go for. Peak 6100 is 100 ft higher, is closest to the Appleton pass trail and is therefore often called Mt. Appleton. Just north of peak 6100 is the real Mt. Appleton. The hike begins at the Olympic Hot Springs trailhead at 1835 ft., passes by the hot springs, then follows the south fork of boulder creek past the upper and lower boulder creek falls to Appleton Pass, a beautiful alpine setting.
Getting to The Trailhead:Turn left on the Elwah River Road, 9 miles west of Port Angeles. Follow the road 10 miles to its end and the trailhead at 1,835 ft.
The Trail:You begin by walking 2 miles up the old asphalt road which leads to the hot springs on boulder creek. In the 1930’s a hot springs resort was located here but the road continually washed out from floods, so the resort was closed. Go right, past the hot springs trail and hit the campground at 2.2 miles. The next mile leads through old growth forest to a sign which points straight ahead for Appleton Pass and right to Boulder Lake. Go straight and pass the lower and then the upper boulder creek falls at 4 miles. They are both worth the short side trips. The trail then climbs switchbacks until it crosses a rapid falling boulder creek at 6.2 miles. Here the trail enters a large meadow with open views of the pass and peaks straight ahead. Peak 6100 and Appleton are on your right. Your goal is the saddle between peak 6100 and Appleton which can be seen clearly from here. Some people, climbing to the saddle, leave the trail here at about the 4,000 ft level. They take the rock, drainage shoot which comes down from the saddle. I prefer to go up the trail another half mile to the 4,600 ft level, just after it crosses a now smaller boulder creek, for the last time. Leave the trail to cut north and east to the saddle. The south ridge of peak 6100 is above you, on your left. Hike up through the trees and heather onto an alpine meadows bench running toward the saddle. Shortly you pass a tarn, where game trails are very visible. From the tarn, climb up the boulder and scree fields to the saddle. If you are going for Peak 6100 shoot for the left saddle, closest to the peak. If you are going for Appleton shoot for the highest saddle just to the left of Appleton peak.
The Peak:At the saddle, if you come out on the side closest to peak 6100, the top is another 300 ft scramble through rock up on your left. To the right is Mt. Appleton. If you are going for Appleton, bypass this lower saddle because of rock pinacles. Work your way up to the highest saddle just to the left of Appleton Peak then turn right to the peak. The rock scrambling is steep here, mostly in steep scree.
Views from either summit include birds eye views south and east into the high divide, Mt. Carrie, Cat peak, Mt Olympus, the Seven Lakes Basin area, & Mt. Bogachiel. The Soleduc and boulder creek valleys spread out below the peaks. To the north is Everette Peak, Boulder Peak and Happy Lake Ridge.
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