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04/14/24 - Little River Trail - Once again but a little farther

Often, when we travel, we'll find a restaurant we like so much that we'll cancel our reservations elsewhere and go back a second or even third time. This time, it was the Little River Trail. We liked our hike so much, that we came back later in the week and retraced our steps and went a little bit farther. Earlier, we had made it to the second log bridge. This time, we made it across and all the way to the little waterfall. We were rewarded, not just with the waterfall, but with a cliff side covered with fawn lilies.

There were trilliums as well, now further along, and even a calypso orchid which a fellow hiker mentioned to us as we compared notes about the trail. The trilliums have yet to peak, but more and more of them are out. We'll be back again, maybe not this week, but soon.

One of the passages

The river, blues, browns and greens

A rock covered with life

Fawn lilies


Yet another

Just a distinctive leaf

A trillium

The waterfall

A close up of the waterfall

Another trillium

And another

The fawn lilies again, on our way back

The river again

The trail along a cliff face

More of the Little River

Yet another forest view

A double trillium

Yet more trilliums

More of the forest browns and greens


Forest friends

That calypso orchid

Keywords: little river, trillium, waterfall

04/11/24 - Little River Trail

Next on our list of spring hikes and trillium safaris was the Little River Trail. We started at the brand new parking lot at around 1100' and made our way down to the river, across the bridge, then up again to continue along the trail. Were there trilliums? Yes. Were there a lot of trilliums? No, net yet, but they are coming out. We also saw a lot of mushrooms, almost certainly poisonous, and, of course, the river itself.

We also saw a frog. It wasn't all that long ago that people were worried about frogs, but we've been seeing and hearing them more often lately. We saw this frog by the side of the trail. It was camouflaged but not well enough, so we got a good look. Either we've been getting better at spotting frogs, or there are a few more of them around.

They're back!

More trilliums

And even more

The fourth plague

The trail, almost mystical

The river

There are some amazing rock walls.


More of the river

Even more river

Yet even more

A stretch of trail

Mushrooms, probably toxic

More poisonous mushrooms

There's a little seasonal waterfall across the river that we always look for.

Another sign of spring

More rock wall

Typical of the region

Even more deadly mushrooms

Young false mock Solomon's seal

Another trillium

A bit more of the river

Spring water flow

Keywords: little river, spring, trillium

04/04/24 - Spruce Railroad Trail with Trilliums

It was spring break, so the Spruce Railroad Trail was busy. There were a lot of families with children. Our goal was to find trilliums. Lake Crescent is about 600 feet above sea level, so spring tends to come a bit later, but we were lucky. We found trilliums. There were just a few, but like children of spring break, we're seeing signs of spring.

The forest floor

A trillium

Another trillium

Yet another trillium

View from the Devil's Punchbowl

Rock flowers

More rock flowers

Most of the trail is a road now, but there are a few bits of the old hiking trail preserved.

More of the old trail

Toad lily

Mount Storm King dominating the lake

Clouds and snow in the mountains

Rock garden

More rock flowers


One of the little side streams

Another little side stream

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium

04/02/24 - Elwha to Altair - Early Spring Flower Edition

Spring has been with us for over a week now, so we've been out checking for trilliums. They often show up along the Elwha on the trail detour section that runs behind the old campground and is the only land route from Madison Falls to the rest of Olympic Hot Springs Road.

The river had a wild winter. There was a whole new pattern of trees and drift logs lining the river. Some sections were more accessible than last year. Some were less. A great chunk, the base of a fallen tree, had torn from the hillside. This made the trail a bit tricky to follow, but all the action had opened up new river views.

Spring is definitely here. We saw trilliums, fawn lilies, toad lilies, violets and many other early bloomers. Even better, the mules are back in town. The mule camp was deserted when we headed out, but there were mules waiting for us on our return.

The fawn lilies are back.

More flowers

A wild orchid

More fawn lilies

Another fawn lily

Trilliums, too

Lots of fawn lilies

The striped leaf is a fawn lily leaf

Yet another fawn lily

Toad lilies, for variety

A glimpse of the Elwha

A trillium

The river lined with fallen, drifted logs

Another view of the river

The Elwha from down close

More drift logs along the Elwha

Trail work

A mountain peak

A mountain cloud

More of the trail

Fawn lilies again

A cooperative caterpillar

The mules are back in town.

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, winter

03/31/24 - Dungeness Spit at a Low Tide

There was a low tide at the Dungeness Spit. Rather than take the usual paved trail from the entry kiosk to the spit, we took the alternative, slightly longer, primitive trail. Everything was lush and green, and even better, we spotted a woodpecker and a fair number of trilliums.

The spit itself was wide at low tide. There was less driftwood than some years, and most of the walking was on wet sand with some rocky areas here and there. We walked about about a mile and a half, all the while enjoying the ocean view on this magical spit of sand that juts out into the strait. We could see the mountains and clouds behind us as we headed out.

The primitive trail to the Dungeness Spit

Along the trail

Spring greenery

More along the trail

Can you guess?

A woodpecker

A closer view

Down on the spit proper

The view out to sea

Sand and sky

More along the spit

More clouds and driftwood

Two ducks


The mountains behind

More of those mountains

The Olympic Mountains again

Driftwood below

Back in the forest

A trillium

More forest

Another trillium

More trilliums

Keywords: dungeness spit, trillium

09/29/23 - Little River

It has been a very dry summer, so we haven't been hiking the Little River Trail. This trail is at its best when the river is flowing in full spate, so we've been waiting for the autumn rains. They've been coming, so we headed up to the hills to see how it fared. It's still early in the fall, but the river was roaring and the trail lush and green. We even found a frog on the trail. There were trilliums and tiarella, well past bloom, but still green. This seems like a good for them.

The trail is much itself, though they've moved to parking area and the trailhead a bit up the road. It's a much bigger lot and the trail still begins with a descent to cross one of the forks of the river.

Mushroom season

The Little River Trail with a bit of mist

More of the trail, dark trees and a lot of green

More trail

More trees and the gateway to the river

An old nurse log

More forest

The Little River

Another view of the river

Yet another view

And another

Pacific dogwood

Pacific dogwood covering the ground

More green forest

More dark trees

The bridge

Some old trilliums still hanging on

The frog

Another view

More trilliums

The Little River from the first bridge

Keywords: autumn, little river, trillium

05/31/23 - Pacific Dogwood in Bloom

We headed up the Lake Angeles Trail again. The trilliums have almost passed, but the Pacific dogwood has started to bloom. There are always changes along the trail this time of year.

Where we turned around, far from the lake


More forest

Sparse undergrowth

A few trilliums past bloom

Indian pipes

Very early Pacific dogwood

Forest on our way down

Oregon grape

Further down, Pacific dogwood

Some Pacific dogwood in bloom

More dogwood

Even more dogwood

Late trilliums

More late trilliums

The stream

The bridge across the stream

More early dogwood

Mushrooms on a log

Tiarella in bloom

More along the trail

A slug


Keywords: lake angeles, trillium

05/23/23 - Foggy Day on the Lake Angeles Trail

We've been building up for the summer season by climbing as far up the Lake Angeles Trail as we can manage. So far, that's been about 1250' from the parking lot. The trilliums are gone, but the Pacific dogwood have yet to bloom. We climbed up into the clouds and didn't let a little fog stop us. We made it half way up to the lake, but the season has just started.

The stream at about 750' above the parking lot

Into the clouds

Looking down

Along the trail

Foggy forest

A cluster of trilliums

Down into the mist

Up again

Another trail view

A clearer stretch

Green forest floor

An Indian pipe

Green forest

Pacific dogwood in progress

An old tree trunk

The walkway


And more funghi

More forest

Heading down

Along the trail

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium

05/13/23 - Spruce Railroad Trail

We hiked a bit of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It was a bright sunny day, but it is late enough into spring for the trees to have leafed out and provide a canopy. The sky was blue. The lake was blue. The forest was green. We were pleased to spot a few trilliums and enjoy the views of the lake and mountains.

A forest orchid

Paintbrush - first of the season

A last piece of the old trail

Clear water

The lake

More of the trail

Plants growing out of rocks

A piece of the new trail

One of the tunnels

Mt. Storm King

Trilliums and ferns

More trilliums

A shady bit of trail

The forest floor with a trillium if you look closely

Green life

Keywords: spring, spruce railroad, trillium

05/06/23 - On to the Waterfall

We're not sure how it happened, but we were more energetic than usual on our last Little River Hike. We usually turn around at the second log footbridge. This time we continued. If nothing else, we knew there was a pair of waterfalls with a good overlook beyond.

So, we made our way over the second bridge with its peculiar turn where one changes from the low log to the high log. Then we went on. The trail climbed so we had great views of the river below. There were trilliums and a great bank of fawn lilies. (We had been calling them columbines, but it turns out we had guessed wrong. What we had been calling shooting stars were actually columbines. This is what happens when one is enjoying the beauty of the trail and not fighting with a flower identification app.)

Then came the waterfalls, maybe 20-25 minutes past the bridge. Two tributaries meet here, and with the start of the snow melt and the recent rains, they were full of roaring waters.

Gateway to the forest


A fawn lily

Another fawn lily

A forest scene

More trilliums

The trail

The river, one of many photos

One of the waterfalls

The other waterfall

The twin waterfalls

A young trillium, not blooming yet


Along the trail

Living rock walls

More of Little River

Another fawn lily with its mottled leaves

Even more of the river

So many fallen logs

Another bank of trilliums

Another stretch of the river

One of our rain forest trail companions

Last view of the Little River

Keywords: little river, trillium, waterfall

05/03/23 - Elwha Spring

We were back along the Elwha. The river is fuller and wilder, and the spring flowers have been progressing. There were lots of trilliums and lots of water.

The trail

A local snake

A local orchid

It turns out these are fawn lilies, not columbines, but we're not going to correct all our old posts.

More fawn lilies

A trillium - We're pretty sure of this one.

The Elwha

Trilliums and tiarella not yet in bloom

Red winged insect - click for a better look

Another trillium

Dicentra - probably


Another bit of the trail

Another bit of the river

The old pavilion at the old campground

High water

High snow

More high water

And more high water

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/24/23 - Little River

It's spring, and the Little River Trail is loaded with trilliums. We walked out for an hour, to the second bridge, and trilliums lined our way. The Little River Trail starts on DNR land and heads into the national park, so things keep getting better and better. It's still early in the season, so we expect to see more trilliums and lots of other wild flowers as the season progresses.

A trillium not far from the trailhead

The Little River

More trilliums

A piece of the trail

Another trillium

Another bit of the river

Rushing water

Another view

And another

Yet another trillium

An a happy pair

Blue river

A trillium patch

And another

And yet more

Keywords: flowers, little river, spring, trillium

04/21/23 - Spring Progress Update, Elwha Edition

We walked from the parking area at Madison Falls, up along the Elwha, to a bit past the Altair Bridge. We were pleased to see more trilliums and a few columbines in bloom. We're a month into spring, but it still feels like we are behind. Still, it's nice to see a few of our favorites return.


A trillium

Another trillium

A columbine leaf

Even better, a columbine

The trail, perhaps a bit greener

Another trillium

The Elwha River

Another sign of spring, a mushroom

Back along the road

More forest

A country road

The Elwha from the Altair Bridge

A view of the misty mountains

Maple branches

Along the Elwha

Yet another trillium

More of the trail - Is it greener?

A mossy rock

Along the trail

Another columbine

Yet another columbine far from the main cluster

More misty mountains

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/14/23 - Elwha Flower Followup

We took a short walk south along the Elwha from Madison Falls to check out the slow progress of this years spring. We didn't get all the way to the Altair Bridge, but we did see some emerging columbine leaves, a few trilliums, a few flowers and an interesting bird.

A toad lily

Columbine leaves

The Elwha

An interesting bird

Another look at the Elwha

Flooding along the trail

The road otherwise

Still lots of snow in the mountains

More flowers - violets

Yay, a trillium

And another

And another, not yet in bloom

A young trillium

Another columbine leaf

And another

Those little yellow flowers we never look up in our plant book

The mules are back in town!

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/05/23 - Signs of Spring - Elwha to Altair - Trilliums and Columbines

Our search for signs of spring took us to the Elwha River. We parked near Madison Falls and followed the road past the mule camp where we saw our first sign of spring: the mules were back. That was promising. We headed onto the detour trail and saw our first yellow violets of the season along with some of those pale pink flowers that bloom so early. Then we saw our first trillium. It was the only one we saw, but we're pretty sure more will follow.

Further down the trail, we saw the skunk cabbage with its faint smell of sulphur. We checked out the river from the Altair Bridge. It was relatively low. The snows have not yet begun to melt. We could see snow on the peaks, some of it fresh.

On our way back, we spotted another sign of spring. We saw our first columbines. To be fair, we saw their leopard spotted leaves. They weren't ready to bloom, but when you are desperate for signs of spring, that's close enough.

Yellow violets

Little pink flowers

The harbinger trillium

The trail

The river

The road

Skunk cabbage

The river from the Altair Bridge

Currant flowers

Snow covered hill across the river


Flowing water

Columbine leaves

Another columbine leaf

Another leaf

White flowers and

blue flowers along the road

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

06/14/22 - Little River to the Healing Pools

We weren't up to a longer walk, but we wanted to get back to the Little River Trail, so we only took the trail up for a ways. Most of the trilliums were gone, but the mock Solomon's seal was out and smelled wonderful. There was also tiarella and a surprise, Pacific dogwood, a whole patch of it along the trail.

Mock Solomon's seal



A few trilliums still white

Some older trilliums turning pink

One of the passages

Pacific dogwood

More of the Pacific dogwood patch

A big trillium

A very lush trail now

The river

Another view of the river

The trail

Rushing waters

Fallen logs over the river

Early for Halloween

A warning?

Mock Solomon's seal

One of those pretty and probably toxic mushrooms

Keywords: halloween, little river, trillium

06/12/22 - Spruce Railroad Trail with Woodpecker

The Spruce Railroad Trail isn't the forested foot trail we remember. It's more of a road, flat and wide, with most of the shrubs and many of the old trees removed. Still, it offers wonderful views of the lake, and many rewards if one keeps one's eyes open.

Some trilliums

Still some forest

The road: the right hand side has a softer surface for horses and others whose feet get sore on hard surfaces.

The lake, beautiful as ever



A rock garden

More rock garden

Yet more, in the sun

Still more

and a closeup

The trail again

A double trillium

A woodpecker

Another view

This guy wasn't shy

On yet another tree

Keywords: spruce railroad, trillium

04/30/22 - Little River Trail - To The Waterfall

We've been hiking along the Little River Trail for years now, but we never went much beyond the second foot bridge. We walked out along the trail for about an hour, then turned around and headed back. This time, we kept going for another half hour and got to see the waterfall. We're probably going to do this again as soon as we can.

The trail along the river was beautiful. The trilliums are out in force and other flowers - little violets, violet orchids, colt's foot - were coming out as well. There were columbines in bloom along the trail as our reward for going on. They like open rocky surfaces. The river was flowing briskly, but not at full flood. After we crossed the second foot bridge, we headed upward along the valley wall with glimpses of the river below.

We heard the falls before we saw them. Then we saw a bit of white water through the brush. Then we saw the waterfall. We found a side path that let us get a better view of the falls. It was in rough shape, but passable. The photographs don't really do the falls justice. There are actually two falls where the river seems to divide and rejoin, and it's hard to fit them into a single picture. The photographs don't capture the roar of the water either.

Now we have a new goal, and, perhaps, some day we might head farther. The trail ends all the way up on Hurricane Ridge where it meets with the Hurricane Hill Trail. It's pretty snowy up there with seven feet of snow up on the ridge and trail leading up the north face. We are unlikely to ever follow the trail that far, but it's nice to know we can keep going and going, at least until our feet start to give out.

One of many trilliums

Another of many trilliums

Yet another of many trilliums

A stone wall

The trail

A columbine

More columbines

The trail along the valley wall

More of the trail

The falls far below us

More of the falls

More of the trail

Stone and moss

At our feet

Good grief, even more trilliums

A view of the river

Along a nurse log

Ferns and trilliums

A few last trilliums

Keywords: flowers, little river, trillium, waterfall

04/02/22 - Elwha to Altair - Spring Is Here

We were absolutely exhausted but really wanted to take another good hike before the rainy days come, so we headed out from the Madison Falls parking lot and followed the trail. It's a good winter trail, but it's an even better spring trail. We hadn't gone very far before our first trillium, and then came the columbines. Trilliums like sloping ground, usually near water, so they'll grow on hillsides above streams. Columbines like a sunny spot on crumbling rocky soil, and there are only a few places like that on this trail. That's where we found them.

We headed on past other signs of spring. Skunk cabbage filled the boggy fields further up towards the bridge. There were currant blossoms, and there were a lot of new leaves and leaf buds. Even the larger trees were showing touches of green. Columbine season is short, so we'll have to come back soon, but we'll be back again and again as the season progresses. It's a pretty good summer trail too.

Our first trillium on the trail

Yellow violets

More yellow violets

One of the columbines

Another columbine

Another trillium

Some little white flowers that we see every year and never bother to look up in the wildflower book

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

Fern forest

The skunk cabbage bog

The Elwha from the Altair bridge

Wild currant

A touch of green in the trees

Most of the snow melted

Yet another trillium

Yet another columbine

A columbine in its place

The mules are back!

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium

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