By Gary Huff
Hawk Ridge: 6,350 ft.Elevation gain: 2,550 ft. Distance: 7 mi. Time 6 hrs. Silver Creek trailhead: 3,850 ft. 60 % alpine. Enjoyment rating: 5.
Overview:This is a wonderful hike to a ridge peak just beyond and above beautiful Silver Lake. Silver Lake is one of the finest places in the Olympics. It’s a good fishing lake with easy casting access and is surrounded by peaks on three sides. The best part is that most all of the peaks are accessable by hikers. From the lake 6 peaks can be accessed. The highest is Hawk Peak. Hawk Ridge is second. The others are also fun.
Getting to the Trailhead:It is 24 miles from Hwy 101 to the Silver Creek, Silver Lake trailhead. Take Palo Alto road off of Hwy 101, 2.8 miles east of Sequim. 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 that says “Upper Dungeness Trail 2 miles”. (An old fire road turns right here and leads to the Mt. Baldy, Greywolf, Mt. Tyler trailheads.) At 18.6 miles come to the Upper Dungeness trailhead. Continue on for 4 miles and at 22.6 miles pass the Tubal Caine trailhead on the right. At 24 miles, on your left, just at a big bend in the road to the right, is the unsigned trailhead. There is parking for a few cars on the right.
The Trail:Beginning at the Silver Creek trailhead it is only 3.2 miles to Silver Lake, then another half mile to Hawk Ridge peak. The trail is somewhat unmaintained but beautiful and passable. It climbs 1,150 ft. of elevation up Silver Creek valley to a junction with the Silver Lake trail, coming from Mt. Townsend, at 2.2 miles. Turn right at this unsigned junction and hike .9 miles to Silver Lake at 5,425 ft. On your right is a west ridge with three jagged peaks. Straight ahead, south, is a saddle with peaks on either side. The peak just to the right of the saddle is Hawk Ridge peak. Further to the right a quarter mile is Hawk Peak, SW of the lake.
Hike around the lake a quarter mile to the south end, then hike up 400 ft. elevation, to the saddle directly above you, on a trail made by other hikers. At the saddle the views open up expansively. From here you can see downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound and Mt. Raineer. On either side of you at the saddle, east or west, are accessable peaks.
The Peak:Hawk Ridge peak is west and is higher than the east peaks. It takes some moderate scrambling but is worth it. There is a game trail which will take you 2/3 of the way up. Then cut up through the rocks and alpine firs to the top. 1,000 feet straight below you is Silver Lake. Below you on the back side is the Big Quilcene river drainage. Marmot Pass, Boulder Ridge, Warrior Peak, and Mt. Constance are all visible at the head of the valley. The Puget Sound and Mt. Raineer rise up in the south. West are the cascades, and Mt. Baker, and closer in Mt. Townsend and Welsh Peaks. North is the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island, Canada.
Drop back down to the saddle and then, if energy permits, go up the two small peaks to the east. They are another 200 ft. of elevation from the saddle and about a half mile of walking. They provide a more direct view down into Hood Canal and the Puget Sound and are well worth the moderate walk.
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