From Evergreen Trail Guide
This 13-mile singletrack loop trail has it all: brutal climbs (about 3,100 vert. ft); airy ridge riding with expansive views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, the Olympic Mountain Range and Lake Crescent; followed by a wild 6-mile, twisty downhill section.
How to find it
West of Lake Crescent, near MP 216 on US Highway 101 - approximately 24 miles east of Forks or 31 miles west of Port Angeles. You can use Google Maps (Street View available).
Look for the large MT. MULLER LITTLETON LOOP TRAILHEAD sign and turn onto FS Road #3071. (There is a small PUD electrical substation at the turn. FS Rd. #2918 is on the opposite side of Highway 101.)
Follow FS Rd. #3071 for about one-half of a mile to the trailhead and parking area, with a vault toilet, picnic tables, bulletin board and fire pit.
|NW Forest Pass required to park at the trailhead|
By Clallam Transit Bus
Route 14 connects Port Angeles and Forks with the Mt. Muller trailhead. It's an easy bus connection from Victoria, BC. The Gateway Transit Center (123 E. Front St.) is right across the street from where the Coho ferry lands in Port Angeles.
- $3 USD day pass, available from drivers.
- 2-bike racks on buses.
- Check schedules
- No Sunday or holiday service.
This trail typically melts out early, although the ridge has been snowed in as late as mid-May during some years. Expect hikers and maybe some horse riders on weekends. Weekdays you'll have it pretty much to yourself. The steepness of the climb tends to limit crowds.
04/24/12; Tried riding the Mount Muller Loop in the clockwise direction, but hit snow around mile 2.3, just before Nosebag Point. It was enough snow to force a turn-around. We then rode the Fouts House Rock ride, out and back, which was in great shape, free of snow and had been cleared of blowdowns.
07-24-2011 The loop trail is clear and rideable. I'd say it looks a lot like it usually does in late May or early June. It's a little soft in places, but free of snow and mud. The trail could use some maintenance--brushing, filling holes, removing blowdowns, etc.
More specifically, there is a little blowdown at about MP 0.5 (it's right up the hill from Littleton Creek, near the trailhead--we tried to cut it out, but only had a small hand saw); then a big blowdown at Thomas Gap (easy enough to get around); the ridge has some rough spots--mostly rabbit/beaver holes and thick brush; unfortunately, there are a couple of small obstructions on the downhill run from Cahill Overlook to Hutch Creek--a large cedar stump, a medium size tree and a small tree. These could all be easily removed, but will require a special trip up there with the right tools, etc. Overall, the trail is in great shape right now and makes for a fun, challenging ride. Erik
There are a few common routes to choose from.
MT. MULLER TRAIL LOOP RIDE - 13 MILES
The loop ride is generally done clockwise. This requires following the "Trail" sign on the bulletin board/trail register as you leave the parking lot and begin riding the actual trail along Littleton Creek and then around a switchback and uphill. Milepost markers are set for completing the loop in a clockwise fashion.
From the trailhead to Jim's Junction (trailhead - MP 3), you gain about 2200 ft. in elevation. If your legs and lungs are in good shape, it's a climber's masochistic dream. Most riders, however, will find themselves pushing their bikes in places along this climb. Basically, every pedal stroke is up on this stretch. Water is often available at tiny Oasis Creek, just past MP 2. Nosebag Point is located at MP 2.5. Just past Grouse Meadow, at Jim's Junction, the Kloshe Nanitch Trail (#882.2) leads 3.8-miles (one-way) to the Kloshe Nanitch lookout. The trail to the lookout is generally rideable, but not always well-maintained. Both the (steep) lower part of the Kloshe Nanitch Trail (#882.1) and FS Rd. #3040 continue down to West Snider Road/Highway 101 from the lookout. (There is also a short trail from Jim's Junction to the former FS Rd. #3040. This section of FS Rd. #3040 has been closed by the Forest Service and is largely impassable at this point.) Continuing just past Jim's Junction on the loop trail, there is a nice viewpoint overlooking the Sol Duc Valley and the Olympics. This is a good place for a break after the climb up.
From Jim's Junction to the Mt. Muller summit (MP 3 - about 5.5) you follow the ridge through a series of lovely meadows: Millsap Meadow, Jasmine Meadow, Allison Meadow and Markham Meadow. While this part is a relief after the climb up to the ridge, it's hardly a cakewalk. It's worth taking the short side-trip up to the summit, but the view from Panorama Point, the rock outcropping below the summit, is as good or better. Very limited camping is possible at the summit.
From the Mt. Muller summit to Cahill Overlook (MP 5.5 - 7) you begin heading downhill. Continue past Molly's Meadow, named after Molly Erickson, a NFS recreational ranger who has been very supportive of the Mt. Muller trail. Note that some of the switchbacks along this stretch require careful attention!
From Cahill Overlook to Hutch Creek (MP 7 - 10) you'll enjoy the best of the downhill stretch. This is the finest part of the ride, for sure! Watch for equestrians, hikers and other bikers as you fly down the hill. At about MP 8.5, Fout's Rock House is worth a stop. Follow the short trail to a large cave-like rock formation, named after Stan Fouts, the legendary Forks trail builder who led the crew that created the Mt. Muller trail. Continue down the trail, eventually crashing through Hutch Creek at MP 10. There is a log bench at Hutch Creek if you're ready for a break.
From Hutch Creek to the trailhead (MP 10 - trailhead), it's a relatively easy and level ride paralleling US Highway 101. You can cut through to the highway at several places if necessary. The place just past Hutch Creek on Highway 101 is a private residence, however. There is an access road about a mile further that connects to the highway. Check out the interesting place names along this part of the trail, including Crow Caw Flats and Mistletoe Lane. This final part of the ride usually goes pretty fast.
FOUTS ROCK HOUSE RIDE - 9 MILES
Time, trail conditions, weather and other factors sometimes preclude doing the entire Mt. Muller Trail Loop Ride. For these occasions, you might enjoy the 9-mile (round-trip) out-and-back ride to Fouts Rock House, or even the 6-mile (round-trip) ride to Hutch Creek. These rides do not involve climbing up to the ridge. To access the lower portion of the trail from the parking lot, just turn RIGHT as you leave the parking lot and begin riding the actual trail. The trail follows Littleton Creek for a ways, then turns to the east and parallels Highway 101 until it reaches Hutch Creek. To continue on up to the Rock House, cross the creek and begin climbing. While it is a bit of a climb up to the Rock House from Hutch Creek, it isn't as strenuous as climbing to the actual ridge, since it's not as steep and not as great of a distance (less than 1.5 miles from Hutch Creek to the Rock House). On the other hand, heading back at Hutch Creek avoids most of the climbing, making it a suitable option for a wide variety of interests and riding abilities.
MINERS CROSSING LOOP RIDE - 1.5 MILES
For a short, fast and fun loop, try the Miners Crossing loop! On wet days, this can be the best riding option available at Mt. Muller (even then, use care to avoid damaging the trail and/or causing erosion). From the trailhead parking area, ride up the road (FS Rd. #3071) to the Littleton Horse Camp parking area (about a quarter of a mile from the Mt. Muller trailhead parking area). Stay to the left of the parking lot at the Horse Camp--obviously, don't bother the horses or riders. (The local Backcountry Horsemen chapter built this camp primarily for equestrians--please be respectful of their camp and facilities.) Continue on the old road following the sign that says "Mount Muller Horse Trail" (it's okay--ride right through the huge boulders). Turn right about one-half of a mile from the boulders, at the first main route to the right--look for the small sign that says "Trail" with an arrow pointing right--and head up the trail (actually an old road)--this part is steep in places, but usually more or less rideable. There is a nice place for a quick break to the left as you're climbing the steep part of the hill. It's a little point overlooking the creek, just as the trail climbs to the right. Turn RIGHT (the far right trail--downhill) at the intersection with the Mt. Muller Loop trail--this is Miners Crossing. Continue downhill on the trail back to the trailhead. The fast singletrack ride back down is so much fun you'll want to do it again! (Watch for the small tree-root step/drop-off going downhill.) This is a quick loop, so repeat as necessary!
Local Points of Interest
There is a nice campground a few miles west of the Mt. Muller turnoff - at about MP 212. It's called Klahowya Campground - some of the 55 available campsites are right on the Sol Duc River and it's hardly ever crowded. The campground is open seasonally and the fee is currently $17. There are two sites with electrical hookups.
Nearby lodging options include the Log Cabin Resort (right on Lake Crescent, near the Spruce Railroad and ODT Adventure Route trailheads), Lake Crescent Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (go to Stay>Lodging).
Kloshe Nanitch Lookout is located on Snider Ridge, just west of Mt. Muller. Although the actual lookout is currently closed for repairs, you can access the area via the (not usually well-maintained) Kloshe Nanitch Trail (#882.2). It's about 3.8-miles (one-way) from Jim's Junction to the lookout. There are outstanding views along the ridge and a vault toilet and picnic tables are available at the lookout. (Geocachers may be interested in the Hider on Snider multicache located along this route.) The lower Kloshe Nanitch Trail (#882.1) and FS Rd. #3040 continue down from the lookout to West Snider Road/Highway 101, near Klahowya Campground (about 3 miles from the Mt. Muller trailhead on Highway 101). Adding an out-and-back trip to the lookout makes the Mt. Muller Loop ride a 20+ mile epic!
Other recommended mountain bike trails in the immediate vicinity include the 8-mile (round trip) Spruce Railroad Trail and the nearly 50-mile (round-trip/single & double track) Adventure Route of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Some of the other area favorites include Dry Hill (serious DH action, with XC options too--thanks Olympic Dirt Society and DNR!), the Lower Dungeness/Gold Creek combo ride, Sadie Creek and Foothills Trail.
For a hearty breakfast, hit the Forks Coffee Shop, past recipient of the Washington Trails Association's Hungry Hiker Award. If you're going through Port Angeles, the best pizza on the Peninsula (by far) is available at Van Goes.
For further information, see the Forest Service's Guide for Mt. Muller Trail #882, contact the Olympic Forest & Park Recreation Information Office in Forks at 360-374-7566, or contact the Forks Chamber of Commerce at 360-374-2531.
Mt. Muller is one of the premier mountain bike rides in the state. It is one of the very few non-motorized singletrack trails open to mountain bikes on the Olympic Peninsula (the entire Olympic National Park is currently off limits to mountain bikers). The Mt. Muller trail is part of the Pacific Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest. The Pacific Ranger District has incredible potential for mountain biking and other recreational uses.
We are working with other non-motorized users, such as the Backcountry Horsemen, to maintain and protect the Mt. Muller trail. Please help us by (1) contacting the Pacific Ranger District (Pacific Ranger District-North, 437 Tillicum Lane, Forks, WA 98331) and/or your elected representatives, to let them know how important this trail is to mountain bikers and (2) interacting with other trail users in a positive, friendly way. Thanks!
Mt. Muller Area Wish List
- Construct trail from Mt. Muller Loop Trail (near Cahill Overlook) to Pyramid Peak Trail (#886), which follows the route of former FS Rd. #3068, in the Pacific Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest, to near the summit of Pyramid Mountain.
- Obtain permission for mountain bikes to ride the 3.5-mile Pyramid Mountain Trail, located within the Olympic National Park boundaries, which climbs from the Camp David Jr. Rd., crossing the Olympic Discovery Trail, to the summit (with impressive views/small cabin). If allowed, this would be the only singletrack mountain bike trail available in the entire 923,000-acre Olympic National Park. This would allow riders a variety of route options, including, for example, riding a big loop from the Mt. Muller trailhead, up and over both the Muller and Pyramid summits, dropping a breathtaking 2400-ft. on singletrack down to Lake Crescent, then riding back to the Mt. Muller trailhead on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The ODT--including a recently paved 6-mile section--is already largely in place along this stretch.
- Convert closed section of FS Rd. #3040 to trail (from near intersection with FS Rd. #3067--which connects with West Twin Rd.--to near intersection with former FS Rd. #3068, close to Pyramid Peak Trail #886 trailhead).
- Develop small parking/turn-around area near intersection of closed section of FS Rd. #3040 and FS Rd. #3067 to facilitate access to proposed trail to be located on closed section of FS Rd. #3040.
- Complete construction of the Divide Trail on Mt. Muller Loop Trail. This trail bisects the loop trail, going from near the trailhead to the meadows near the Mt. Muller summit, at about MP 5.
- Clear, improve and maintain the Kloshe Nanitch Trail (#882.2), especially the section between Jim's Junction (on Mt. Muller Loop Trail) and Kloshe Nanitch lookout.
- Repair and reopen Kloshe Nanitch Lookout. Consider possibility of remodeling lookout to allow overnight accommodations, which could generate revenue to help offset costs.
- Develop small parking/turn-around area near end of FS Rd. #3040 595 to facilitate access to upper portion of Kloshe Nanitch Trail #882.2 and surrounding area.
- Improve and maintain hiker/biker primitive campsites at Mt. Muller trailhead. There is room for 2+ tent pads, picnic tables, fire pits, etc. near the vault toilet at the trailhead.