Article from STMCC.org
Mt Muller ride July 24, 25 2004
Descriptions of this ride correctly tell of the difficulty and great downhill. Chris, Lowell, Ralph, Randy, and I endured a 90-degree trailhead start prior to the 3 mile 20 to 30 percent switchback to the beginning of the ridgeline. We rode it clockwise to do a loop. Lowell was on top of letting us know the temp had gone down 5 degrees during the climb. No worries, as soon as we hit Jims’ crossing the temp was stellar again. Riding along the ridge brings big roller coaster fun along with more huge climbs to make you pay for it. Due to the high temps up there, the ridge was just as tough as the initial climb. Views looking toward the south and east are great as you hit the alpine meadows and viewpoints. Atmospheric conditions were good and the views of Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent were cool. Below we could see our turnoff from 101 to the trailhead, and knowing the 8-mile downhill was ahead got us stoked. When we got to Mt Muller, around 3800 feet, which is just another bump up there, we walked into the woods to see if there were views to the North. You may have gotten a peek if you were very adventurous. Finally the downhill began through very nice forest. Trail was smooth and clear with mainly organic lay down and few gravely sections. It is fast. Big ring. I was very tempted to see what the speedo was reading out at times, but hammering between the trees required attention. Long sections between easy switchbacks with minor amounts of pedaling were the norm. After a regroup at 5 miles down, Lowell and I took off for the final blast to the trailhead. Toward the bottom the trail flattens with still more stellar forest trail. When the two of us hit the cars we were used. Felt we could not have given much more in our usual recreation pace between the two of us. Not. As we sat there pulsing with heat, Chris shows up less than 2 minutes after us. Ubberhammerchick.
Overall this was one of the best rides I have ever done. The downhill is definitely the best for ease of ride, great forest, and being able to let the bike fly with no worries of being out of control. The climbing was very tough due to the grade and the heat. We have been talking about next year already. I feel if you ride it counterclockwise doing an out and back it will be much easier although longer. Skipping the initial 3-mile switchback climb, or going down it would be advised. You can add 12 miles on top by doin an out and back along the ridege at Jim''s crossing. A dip in Lake Crescent afterwards provided recovery. Camping at Heart of the hills campground was great. Sunday we did a 5-mile hike in the area viewing the huge trees, very nice. Stopped off at Gibbs Lake area to ride there with more swimming after. Cheers to Ralph, Randy, Lowell, and Chris. STMCC Hammers
31 miles west past Port Angeles on US Highway 101. Look for forest service road 3071 on right. Large parking area with vault toilet.
NW forest pass required. Out there, but the best ride I have done on the penninsula. Low use.
Summary: One of the few trails in the Olympics that allows bikes and definitely a good workout! The three mile climb to the top was too steep to ride the whole way on my hard tail but once on top and skirting the ridge it was good riding with short climbs and descents in and out of timber. There was still a few feet of snow at the top when I did it a few years ago and it got sketchy in a couple places where the trail skirts the north side of the ridge (shaded) and is very steep. The views from the top though are spectacular! There is a better view of Mt. Olympus from the first opening than what you get from Hurricane Ridge. Later down the trail there is an excellent bird's eye view of Lake Crescent as well. When its time for the downhill it goes pretty quick and its not too technical but it is still fun. This makes a great loop with good diversity.
Recommended Route: Park off hwy-101 at the trailhead, the path is very clear heading north to the ridge. Trail runs east along the ridge before dropping back down to the south side of the mtn. Follow the trail through the woods and alongside a clearcut to get back to 101. Just head west on 101 to get back to the trailhead to finish the loop.