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RodF
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RodF
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PostThu Oct 04, 2012 12:45 pm 
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The new Divide Trail at Mount Muller is almost complete, and is hikable now!  It offers fine views of the Sol Duc valley, Lake Crescent and Mount Olympus, perfect for a scenic autumn dayhike.

Mt Muller & new Divide Trail map, USFS
Mt Muller & new Divide Trail map, USFS

From the Mt. Muller trailhead (Hwy. 101, 7 miles west of Lake Crescent) the new trail heads relentlessly uphill, gaining 2480 feet in 2.8 miles.  It joins the Mount Muller trail loop at the top of Snider Ridge near Jasmine Meadow, a mile west of the Mt. Muller summit.

The trail is unsigned; 100 feet east of the Mt. Muller trailhead, simply turn left uphill on the abandoned logging road.  The rest of the route is easily followed, until the trail reaches the top of the cliffs on the ridge.  There, it abruptly ends at a flagged tree - but have faith, continue uphill 50 feet and you'll step onto the Mt. Muller trail.

The new Divide Trail is much narrower and steeper than the rest of the Mt. Muller loop trail.  It's average grade is 15 to 20%, the tread is typically 1 foot wide of "half bench" construction with a loose outer edge, and nearly all the 4 dozen or so switchbacks are abrupt with no turning radius.  Three 50-foot segments remain to be built - a stream crossing in a steep ravine, a segment below the cliffs near the top, and the junction connecting it to the Mt. Muller trail at the top.  So this trail is suitable for hikers only, not mountain bikes or horses.

lower Divide Trail
lower Divide Trail
Divide Trail on roadbed
Divide Trail on roadbed
Lake Crescent from ~2400 ft
Lake Crescent from ~2400 ft
new Divide Trail traversing
new Divide Trail traversing
cliffs near the top
cliffs near the top
on top of cliffs
on top of cliffs
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Snider Ridge from top
Snider Ridge from top
Pacific Ocean gleaming
Pacific Ocean gleaming

Note this trail offers no perennial water sources, so carry plenty.

For gathering volunteers to maintain these trails, and grants for this new trail, we all owe a debt of gratitude to USFS Pacific RD Recreation Manager, Molly Erickson!

--------------
"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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RodF
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PostThu Oct 04, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Kloshe Nanitch / Snider Ridge Trail #882.1

This less-travelled trail, a favorite of mine, runs along the top of Snider Ridge, connecting the Kloshe Nanitch Lookout with the Mount Muller Trail loop at Jim's Junction.  It runs 3.7 miles, and I guess there's about 1000 feet uphill along the ridge, whether hiked east or west.

There are several ways to access this trail, from easiest to most difficult:
- from the junction of FS3080 (Snider Ridge Rd) and FS3067 (Deep Creek Rd), hike 1/2 mile east the decommissioned FS 3040 roadbed, and intercept the trail at its lowest saddle,
- Kloshe Nanitch trailhead, or
- hike up the Mount Muller or Divide Trails (posted above) to Jim's Junction, which is where these photos begin.

Jim's Junction
Jim's Junction
Pacific ocean from Snider Ridge
Pacific ocean from Snider Ridge
Vancouver Island across Strait of Juan de Fuca
Vancouver Island across Strait of Juan de Fuca
Kloshe Nanitch lookout
Kloshe Nanitch lookout
Mt Muller & Lake Crescent from lookout
Mt Muller & Lake Crescent from lookout
Sol Duc valley from lookout
Sol Duc valley from lookout

The trail very nearly follows the top of the ridge, alternating between cliffs and steep meadows on its south face, and dense Pacific silver fir forests on its north.

The west end of this trail intercepts the 1.5 mile Kloshe Nanitch scenic trail loop.  I prefer the less-used lower trail, leading to the trail junction about 1/4 mile and 200 feet below the lookout.  The alternative goes up over a high point in the ridge and intercepts the FS3040-595 road about 1/4 mile above the North Point gate, a 1/2 mile above the lookout.

The entire trail was reopened in 2009 by Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, and extensive portions of the tread were rebuilt.  Some gopher or mountain beaver holes remain, but can be negotiated with care by mountain bikes or stock.

The decommissioned FS3040 roadbed, parallel to this trail below the north face of the ridge, is also hikable, at points offering better views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and of Vancouver Island.  This is another potential hike/bike loop, joining at Jim's Junction.  All these possibilities offer some 28 miles of trail loops on Snider Ridge/Mt. Muller, which will soon be connected to the Olympic Discovery Trail at the top of Fairholm Hill above Lake Crescent.

--------------
"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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ldyblade
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PostMon Jan 21, 2013 3:10 pm 
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We just got back from Mt. Muller and there is what looks to be some designs to build a road in at Crow Caw Flats as there has been a dozer back there and trees cut. It starts at the road right behind the residence there and heads up to the creek crossing.  There are some trees cut on the other side, but no dozer-ing.  Please tell me they aren't going to pave this part of the trail, too?  bawl.gif

I did see the offshoot for the new trail and was a little thrown off as I didn't remember it being there as it's been years since I've been there.  It certainly had my curiousity up and now that I know where it goes, I think that will be my next day trip!  up.gif
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RodF
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PostThu Jan 24, 2013 2:29 pm 
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I'm told this logging has affected a short segment (263 feet) of the lower Mt. Muller Trail.  This segment of trail is an easement across DNR state trust land. 

This section of trail should be rebuilt later this year, when it becomes part of the Olympic Discovery Trail connecting the eastern part of the lower Mt. Muller Trail to the existing ODT at the top of Fairholm Hill.   Yes, it will be paved with a gravel shoulder.  This was approved in Olympic NF's environment assessment in 2006, and includes the short DNR plus  0.3 mile USFS segment of the lower Mt. Muller Trail.  As updated in the PDN a couple days ago,

Quote:
The new segment will take cyclists, hikers, runners, horseback riders and in-line skaters over the top of Fairholm Hill to a crossing of U.S. Highway 101 west of the hill.
The segment already is under construction and should be completed by next year, James said.

Olympic NP dropped its Sol Duc segment from its final environmental assessment last year, leaving a 2 mile gap in the ODT.  Olympic NF and Clallam County have started discussions on this section, but it may be a couple years before alternatives are proposed for public comment.  Meanwhile, hikers may continue west on the lower Mt. Muller trail, or bicyclists may use the Hwy. 101 shoulder. 

Continuing west from the Mt. Muller/Littleton trailhead, as reported a year ago,

Quote:
Last month, the county took ownership of a 1-mile section of U.S. Forest Service Road 2918 that travels south from U.S. Highway 101 to the Sol Duc River between Fairholm Hill and Sappho.
At the 0.86-mile mark, the Olympic Discovery Trail will turn right and cross the Sol Duc River on a Merrill & Ring bridge and continue west along the Spruce railroad grade and Forest Service Road 070 to Cooper Ranch Road near Sappho.

As also reported last year,

Quote:
The trail segment will have gravel along both its sides to allow horseback riders to use the trail along with bicyclists and hikers.

Prep work was done last year, and paving is funded and scheduled for 2013.

Ultimately, there's hope that the original Spruce RR grade could be used in the Park's Sol Duc section.  Unfortunately, it lies on private land (about 50 feet north of the Park's Sol Duc entrance road) and the landowner is unwilling to sell to the County.  But if this ever changes, it would allow an ODT underpass beneath Hwy. 101 at the top of Fairholm Hill and a much more direct route west, and create a nice trail loop with Mt. Muller.

--------------
"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Highwalker's Daughter
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PostWed Feb 06, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Good info!  Looking forward to doing this one sometime this year.
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