Mount Storm King is easily one of the best names in the Olympics, named for a Klallum tribe legend, but similarly conjuring up imagery of moody Norse-Gael coastal peaks. While the trail may lack anything quite as aggressive as its title suggests, it does offer wonderful elevated views of Lake Crescent.
After a quick jaunt out to Cape Flattery, we decided to add Mount Storm King on the return trip home as we needed to get some conditioning in for backpacking season. The trail is quite popular in the Lake Crescent area with the nearby Spruce Railroad Trail closed until July, and Storm King sharing a trailhead with the also well attended Marymere Falls. Trails like Storm King and Hurricane Ridge compete for the attention of elevation starved beach campers returning to the city via 101, so expect a gentle stream of foot traffic on your visit.
Storm King is a steep, moderately challenging hike that begins with a leisurely stroll along Barnes Creek before splitting at the half-mile marker. The marker sits at the base of a giant boulder, which serves as an appropriate post for the detour since the Klallum legend tells of Mount King hurling a giant boulder from the peak to create Lake Crescent and Lake Sutherland.
Steep switchbacks punctuate the trail after the split, but it never approaches the completely dishearten grade of something like Old Mailbox trail or the depraved urban training ground of Capitol Hill’s Howe Street stairs. We overloaded our packs for conditioning purposes, but otherwise hiking poles and large water bottles would have sufficed for gear. The trail is dry and well maintained, but the last section of Storm King has some exposed scrambling with ropes installed to aid climbers. However, most will be content to stop at the viewpoint just short of the true summit where you receive your best views of Lake Crescent without the risk of exposure.
We ate lunch at the viewpoint, enjoyed the view and soaked in the day’s pristine weather. It was wonderful. After a nice break, we headed back down and upon returning to the car, our 4.4 mile roundtrip clocked in around 2 hours and 30 minutes. We were taking our time though, so regard this as a trail time on the slower side of things.
Departed trailhead: 1:45 pm
Arrived at the trail split: 2:00 pm
Reached the summit: 3:15 pm
Returned to the trailhead: 4:15 pm