Heather Park – 9.5mi / 15.3km
Strenuous, forested switchbacks bring you to heather-laden meadows amongst a gnarled, rocky landscape below Mt. Angeles. The climb starts with a steady, moderate grade. Moss and ferns carpet the forest floor.
The grade soon changes to a steep affair, switchbacking up through the forest with limited views. Rock formations begin to appear, hinting at the landscapes to come. Halfway Rock is an unceremonious outcropping with no views to speak of, but views begin appearing as you round the ridge and into the Ennis Creek drainage.
The surrounding ridgelines sport craggy outcroppings. Meadows full of the namesake heather, which bloom mid-summer, become more frequent as the trail’s grade levels out and you pass below towers of pillow basalt called First Top and Second Top. You’ll eventually reach an open meadow where the trail drops down on the other side.
Views here extend over to Hurricane Hill and out all the way to Mt. Olympus. This serves as a good turnaround spot. A splendid, larger 11.2mi/18km loop can be done by following the strenuous, primitive trail to Klahhane Ridge, then down to Lake Angeles (see Lake Angeles for description) and back to the trailhead.
Trailhead: Follow the Hurricane Ridge Road up to the entrance station. Take a right on the road just north of the entrance station and follow it to the parking area and trailheads at the end. The Heather Park trailhead is at the west end.
Elevation Gain: 3,800ft / 1,140m – Elevation Loss: 3,800ft / 1,140m