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Sample New Hike:
14. Jupiter Ridge
DISTANCE 7.2 miles round-trip
HIKING TIME 4 hours
ELEVATION GAIN 1,600 feet
HIGH POINT 3,300 feet
DIFFICULTY LEVEL Difficult
BEST SEASON Summer, early fall
PERMITS/CONTACT None; Hood Canal Ranger Station, (360) 765-2200
MAPS USGS Brinnon, Jupiter; Custom Correct The Brothers-Mount Anderson; Green Trails The Brothers
TRAIL NOTES Both the road and trail traverse portions of private property and the road may be closed several miles below the trailhead. The road is also closed for wildlife protection from Oct. 1 to May 1. Call Hood Canal Ranger Station before taking this hike. Leashed dogs okay.
This is a strenuous hike up to and along a ridge crest that divides the Duckabush and Dosewallips rivers, with excellent views of the big peaks above the valleys. Strong hikers can continue from the recommended turnaround spot for another 3.6 miles, one-way, to the 5,701-foot summit of Mount Jupiter.
From the Dosewallips River bridge in Brinnon, drive south on U.S. Highway 101 for 2.6 miles to the Mount Jupiter Road. From the south, it is 9.3 miles north from the Hamma Hamma River Road on U.S. Highway 101 to the Mount Jupiter Road. Turn west on the Mount Jupiter Road and drive 3.2 miles to Forest Road 2610-011 and turn left. Drive 3 miles up this rough road to the trailhead, 2,100 feet above sea level.
The most important thing to remember about this hike - and generally about any hike that follows the crest of alpine ridges - is that there's no water to re-supply your bottle or hydration pack. Carry twice your normal amount, because you'll be doing a lot of climbing, both up and down along the way.
Begin by climbing on switchbacks through south-facing logged-over hillsides that can be hot on summer days, climbing a steep mile before crossing from private land to Olympic National Forest. Here you'll find your views spoiled by all those trees and in late May and in early June, a fine pink display of rhododendrons. The trail levels a bit and traverses the forest on the Duckabush side of the ridge. At 1.9 miles, the trail emerges on the ridge crest, where you can look north through trees to the Dosewallips valley and to the first views of Mount Jupiter, to the west, and The Brothers, to the south.
Just after cresting the ridge, the trail begins to drop again along the north side, winding down to a saddle before climbing once again. Get used to it: the up-down-up theme is repeated more often than Ravel's Bolero. Perhaps the only relief from this tiresome tedium is the peekaboo views you get of Mount Constance on the north side and The Brothers. The path meanders from one side of the ridge to the other, heading west for about 1.7 miles to a rocky viewpoint just off the trail to the left. Here's your turnaround point, with a fine vista of the Duckabush River and the broad snow bowl that identifies The Brothers to folks watching the sunset in Seattle.
Hikers in good physical condition, capable of hiking an alpine venue like the Mount Jupiter Trail, can continue another 3.6 miles to the summit of Mount Jupiter, the site of an old lookout. That makes a day hike of 14.4 miles. Be forewarned: the trail gets steeper, culminating in a rocky switchback climb to the summit. On the plus side, the view from the peak is spectacular.