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Monday, August 17, 2009

Adventure Report: Overnight in Brothers Wilderness

Posted by Michael Lanthier

Saturday, August 15, a venture to the Brothers Wilderness in the Eastern Olympic National Forest. The snow is gone and the streams are trickling through the old growth forests that lie just north of the popular Lower Lena Lake trail. Did you journey out to a trail this weekend? Tell us your stories and favorite adventures in Washington’s National Forests or share your photos at

After a week of much needed rain, many headed out under clearing skies to enjoy their national forests. I visited the Brothers Wilderness, which is reached by turning west on Forest Service Road 25 off of Hwy 101. The road follows the Hamma Hamma River, know for tasty Hamma Hamma oysters caught just beyond its mouth in the Hood Canal. For last minute snacks and simple supplies you can head to the Eldon Store just south of FS 25. To start the venture park at the Lena Lake parking lot, or if you like continue along a dirt road to find the Hamma Hamma Falls.

Though one of the most popular trails in the Olympics, traveling to Lower Lena Lake can be demanding. It travels up 1200 feet with a majority of the elevation gain coming along switchbacks at the beginning. The venture up this striking roadless area is well worth it. The 55 acre Lower Lena Lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery and plenty of spots for camping as well as fishing for Brook trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. Beware that you may find a lot of people there, but a bit more peace can be found by traveling further along the Upper Lena Lake Trail, which enters the Olympic National Park, or the Brothers Wilderness Trail which travels to the southern end of the Brothers Mountain Peaks.

Travel about a mile and a half to find great camping spots in the old growth forests of the Brothers Wilderness and prepare for an early morning to hike to the top of the Brothers for spectacular views. From here be sure to stay aware of where the trail goes because it can be easy to loose your way. After about another mile you’ll travel out of the forests and into an open meadow with a towering view of the peaks and a small cascading waterfall. You follow the trail around the west side of the peaks for a rugged climb up to the top. I unfortunately didn’t have the time to make it to the top but still received spectacular views across the Hood Canal and Kitsap Peninsula.

After you take in the spectacular views, its time to cruise back down the mountain for a burger at the Eagle Creek Saloon, off of N Eagle Creek Rd and just north of Lilliwaup. They have been serving delicious burgers about the size of the burger that rest a top their patio for about a year and a half. To our surprise, before reaching Hwy 101 for a burger, we lucked out to see a cougar cross the road and slip into the forest again (Thanks Whitney for your eagle eyes).

More on Brothers Wilderness

The Brothers Wilderness is located on the east side of Olympic National Forest, north of Lena Lake in Jefferson County. Except for a relatively gentle valley area in the East Fork of Lena Creek, the entire Wilderness is quite precipitous with tree covered slopes extending to about 5,000 feet. Elevation ranges from 699 feet near the Dosewallips River to the 6,866 foot summit of The Brothers. Other major peaks include Mt. Jupiter Ridge, and St. Peter's Dome. Read More.

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