It is hard to think of a more perfect setting than Upper Lena Lake with the tranquil Mt Lena guarding its the northern shore. Neither sheer nor breathtaking, Mt Lena does offer one of the better views in the Eastern Olympics of the interior peaks of the range. It looks oddly out of place, in a sea of needle-crested peaks of the Olympic Mountains. Nestled quietly amidst grander giants, of the southeastern part of the range, Lena is secluded and serene. Mt Lena is bordered on the south by Upper Lena Lake, and to the north by One Too Many Creek, which drains into the Duckabush River. It's 1035 feet of prominence make it a worthwhile venture for its size. The gradual slopes lead to a promising summit of memorable views.
The smooth grass covered southeast slopes rise to a rounded summit platform, frequenting Lupine, Avalanch Lily and Paintbrush wildflowers. Wild Huckleberries are common in late August and September. Small streams cascade down its southern face into lush wetlands full of Marsh Marigold and Buttercup.
To the east, the double summit of The Brothers rise prominently, capturing the eyes of the beholder with their basalt cliffs. Mt Bretherton, to the south, protrudes above Upper Lena and Milk Lakes, and these two jewels are some of the most eye-catching scenery from the summit. The view west of Mt Stone, from Mt Lena's summit, is arguably the best in the park of that regal summit. Distant views of Mt Mystery, Mt Constance and Deception are spectacular, as are glimpses of Mt Anderson, Mt Pershing and Mt Steel. Mt Rainier seemingly floats in the sky to the southeast from the summit.
Mt Lena's gentle southern slopes are a contrast with it's rougher, snow-bound, north face. Several ridges cascade from it's summit towards the north, providing more and more spectacular views of the surrounding peaks, particularly The Brothers which seem close enough to touch.Mt Elk Lick and Mt Bretherton are also spectacular from the northern ridges of Lena. Tread softly on this area of the peak, as many plants and flowers will take years to rebound.
From Highway 101 head to the Hamma Hamma River Recreation Area and drive to the Lena Lake trailhead.
The elevation gain from the Lena Lake trailhead to the summit of Mt Lena is about 5,200 feet, in a little more than 9 miles. After the initial hike into Lena Lake the trail picks up vigorously on the Upper Lena Lake trail, climbing quickly into the alpine country. It's about 4.5 miles from Lower Lena Lake to Upper Lena Lake.
From Upper Lena Lake head to the northwest, towards an elongated ridge just to the west of Mt Lena. From there ascend the ridge back to the east and follow it over a false summit to the main summit. Snow lingers into August on the north face, so be wary of it.
This climb can be done in a long day, but is more enjoyable as an overnighter.
Red TapeCost is $5.00 per person, plus $2.00 per night per person. Fill out a permit form at the box by the trail upon entering Olympic National Park.
Great Camping is to be had at Lower Lena Lake, as well as at Upper Lena Lake. Lower Lena Lake provides for a nice day climb in the Upper Lena Lake area, while camping at Upper Lena Lake allows for more alpine exploration of the area. PLEASE tread softly in the Upper Lena Lake area, as it has seen heavy travel and damage from overeager hikers in the recent years. This area is pristine and should be kept that way for others to enjoy a true wildernes experience.