Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Lookout Dome

A great venue for stunning sunset/sunrise views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (albeit with a bit of effort at ~5000’ gain and ~20 miles ;). The deal is sealed by an immersive hike through the pristine rain forest of Barnes Creek.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Hard to beat conditions, with zero bugs, blue bird skies, gentle breezes (at Lookout Dome), and reasonable trail/bridge conditions.  Except for the cross country travel at the end of the day, plentiful water was provided by the numerous creek crossings along the Barnes Creek Trail.  Parking was quite a challenge (due to the popularity of Marymere Falls), but the lower lot still had space after the upper had filled.

This trip was all about contrasts, crowds (people-zilla on the short Marymere Falls Trail, absolutely no one after that), elevation (start at ~500’, camp at 5000’), water (almost too much, then none), and scenery (salt water vistas to the north, trackless wilderness to the south, pristine rain forest, flowered pillow lava ridges).

Having a fun time requires parties with great conditioning, as the heaviest loads, warmest temperatures, and steepest non-trail travel are all at the end of a long day.  After hiking most of the Barnes Creek Trail (and just before heading cross country at ~3300’), we filled all our water containers at ~3000’ (our only water until tomorrow would be what we carry).  After leaving the trail we traversed NNW at ~3300’ for ~0.4 mile, then headed NE in a direct line to the summit of Lookout Dome.  Although we had some brush/downed timber, the forest was surprisingly open with adequate shade almost all the way to the ridge crest.  Our first day was ~8.5 hours from the Storm King Ranger Station to Lookout Dome, versus ~5.5 hours to exit on the second day.  Photos from this trip can be seen here.

A summary of notable encounters (in chronological order):

Jedi Bridge Balancing (lots of these, by Leaf Petersen)


Pumping Water (no more until tomorrow, by Leaf Petersen)


Breaks on the cross country uphill grind (by Leaf Petersen)


Joy of being almost there


Alpine Flowers (by Leaf Petersen)


Strait of Juan de Fuca


Industrial Grade Toe Cooling


Perfect Sunset (by Leaf Petersen)


Fog bound sunrise


Last look


Pillow Lava (by Leaf Petersen)


Lake Crescent