Mount Zion, the mountain of God? I don't think so. These are the Olympics baby, not Jerusalem. Being one of most northeastern peaks on the Olympic Peninsula, Mount Zion is a bit of an outlier. Located 10 miles northwest of Quilcene, Zion is a five mile long ridge running northwest to southeast. The southwest side is flanked by Gold Creek while the northeast side is flanked by Snow Creek.
The standard route gains 1350 feet in 1.7 miles and that makes it one of the easiest Olympic summits you can find. Thankfully, there is an alternative route for those who are looking for a hike with a bit more meat on it bones. This alternative route is known to locals as the "Dead Fall" trail. See the route section for more information.
Just a tenth of a mile northwest of the true summit is a long rocky ridge top which drops off precipitously to the southwest. This is worth visiting as you can see in the photo at left. A few old bolts scattered around different cliffs suggest that this was once a popular rock climbing destination. The great thing about Mount Zion is that it is a year-round destination with no avalanche danger and approach roads that are always accessible.
Remember that since this peak is located inside the Olympic National Forest, a Northwest Forest Pass or a Golden Passport (Eagle, Age or Access) is required at the trailheads.
3.6 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 1350 feet
This trail ascends the southwest slope. It is well maintained and easily graded with only a few switch-backs. Don't expect much in the way of views until near the summit because it cuts through dense coniferous forest and rhododendron bushes.
The Deadfall Trail
8 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: ~2260 feet
Named after Deadfall Creek, located near the head of the trail, this option is steeper and longer than the standard way. It follows the southeast ridge of the mountain. From the parking area, the trail climbs immediately through dense coniferous forest, gaining nearly a thousand feet in the first half mile. The grade slowly tapers off actually losing a few hundred vertical feet around the beginning of the second mile.
Begin watching for a junction, located at 2800 feet, which is marked with signs but easy to miss. You will want to take a sharp left uphill. Continuing straight ahead would take you to the Snow Creek trailhead. If you come to a road, you missed the junction. Make sure to remember this point because it is easier to miss on the way down. Above the junction the trail eventually gains the southern ridge top and follows it's top all the way to the summit which is another gradually rising 2 miles. There are a few open view spots along the way and plenty of rhododendron bushes.
Getting ThereStandard Route
Mt. Zion Trail #836 starts 13 miles northwest of Quilcene on Forest Service Road #2810. Take the Lords Lake Road 1.5 miles north of Quilcene on U.S. Highway 101. Follow Lords Lake Road to the lake and turn left onto FS Road #28. Stay left at the junction (road turns to gravel) and in 0.7 mile you will enter Olympic National Forest. Bear right onto FR 28. Drive FR 28 (gravel) for 4.75 miles making sure to stay right at the signed junction with FR 27. At 4.75 miles bear right at a signed fork in the road onto FR 2810 towards Mount Zion. Travel FR 2810 (gravel) 2.3 miles to the Mount Zion trailhead parking on the left. The parking lot is a large open area on the left side of the road with an out house. The trail starts on the other side of the street.
The Deadfall Trail starts 13 miles northwest of Quilcene on Forest Service Road #2810. Take the Lords Lake Road 1.5 miles north of Quilcene on U.S. Highway 101. Follow Lords Lake Road to the lake and turn left onto FS Road #28. 3.7 miles past the Lake there is an unmarked road on the right side of the street. 30 feet down this road is an opening in the woods on the left side. This is the trail head. You will know you are in the right place because a few feet in, there is an official sign board and registry. See this image of the parking area. Remember that the unmarked Forest Road #160 is before Bon Jon Pass.
Outside InformationHood Canal Ranger District Ð Quilcene Office
295142 Highway 101 S. P.O. Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376 (360) 765-2200
Trip Report #1
Trip Report #2