The Mt. Ellinor Trail #812 begins from one of two trailheads. The lower trailhead adds 1.7 miles and about 1,300 feet to the hike, which makes the upper trailhead the far more popular choice. The upper trail begins at the end of FR 2419-014 and immediately begins to climb. The trails popularity means a steady march of boots have keep the trail free of rocks and roots. At the same time, steps and rails have been built into trail to minimize erosion and help smooth out the climb. Pass the junction with the lower trailhead at .3 miles before tackling a series of steep switchbacks. After about a mile of hard climbing, the trail leaves the trees and continues over talus fields and across exposed mountainsides. Before long, the trail crests a ridge and begins a short set of switchbacks that quickly deliver you to the nearly 6,000ft summit.
The sweeping views from the top are nothing short of captivating. Mt. Ellinors closest neighbor, Mt. Washington
, is to the north with The Brothers in the distance just to the right. As you turn west to look into the Mount Skykomish Wilderness, you can pick out Mt. Pershing looming over Browns Hike Lake, then Mt. Stone, Mt. Skykomish and Mt. Cruiser. Copper Mountain is almost directly to the west and as you turn south you can pick out Lightening Peak just behind Ellinors other neighbor, Mt. Rose
. Lake Cushman lies to the south, and as you turn to the east the Puget Sound is spread out before you. On clear days you can pick out Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier rising above Seattle and Tacoma. Settle in and see how much more you can pick out of these vast horizons.
Mt. Ellinor is a classic hike, one that is more than worthy of being on everyones bucket list. While the hikes popularity and difficulty often draw comparisons to Mt. Si, you will find far fewer people and far better rewards along the Mt. Ellinor Trail. Still, we recommend trying to find a weekday to give this one a try, as it will make your climb a little more peaceful. At the same time, the trail is well maintained and easy to navigate which means that despite a healthy amount of elevation gain, most hikers will be able to make it to the top.
Between 1853-57 a geographer named George Davidson was working on the Coast Survey, a mapping of project that included triangulating the heights and precise location of geographical features on the West Coast, including Washington and the Puget Sound. In 1856, Davidson was commanding the survey brig R.H. Fauntleroy, named for another prominent surveyor and Davidsons mentor, Robert Henry Fauntleroy. Davidsons triangulation work required him to name a number of prominent mountains in the area including Mt. Ellinor, Mt. Constance, and The Brothers. They were all named for members of the Fauntleroy family. Mt. Ellinor was named in honor of Fauntleroys daughter Ellinor, who would later marry Davidson. Mt. Constance was named in honor of Fauntleroys other daughter, while The Brothers were named for Fauntleroy's sons, Arthur and Edward. The first recorded climb of Mt. Ellinor was in 1879 when Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Waughop, D.N. Utler, and H.C. Esteps found their way to the top. Since that time, thousands of hikers have followed in their footsteps, braving steep slopes to take in Ellinors fabled views.