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http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?sele...
3572 Olga Road
Eastsound , WA 98279
360/376-2326

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Review

The North (Side) Trail in Moran State Park on Orcas Island is the only trail in the park to traverse the north side of Mt. Constitution. Additionally, it connects the extensive trail networks located on both the east and west sides of the mountain. This situation provides numerous access points and the North Trail can easily become part of a number of popular hikes depending on your goals for that particular day.

This trail provides a quieter and more wilderness experience than many of the trails in the park. Far fewer people traverse this side of the mountain compared to the more accessible drive-up locations at the lakes and summit. While not known for its views the trail never the less delivers on solitude and an immersion in the forest habitat that fewer visitors experience. This solitude comes at a price however, with less travel comes less maintenance and this trail may require more route finding skill than the casual hiker is used to. If the tread ever should appear to be thinning, stop immediately and retrace your steps to find the correct path, others have probably made the same mistake and have helped to give the wrong-way a more traveled look than it deserves.

One challenging loop allows hikers to begin the day with a gradual descent through quiet forests, passing intimate wetlands, and ending with a final steep climb to the very summit of Mt. Constitution. The start of this loop is also the most common entry point to the North Trail and begins from the Cold Springs Trailhead located on the Mt. Constitution Road at a little over 2,000 ft of elevation.

The trail starts out fairly level with gently rolling topography as it traverses a soft shoulder of the mountain laced with small forest wetlands that capture the winter rains and hold the moisture through the short but dry summer. After the historic well spring of Cold Springs you’ll come to a junction. To the left the Cold Springs trail drops to Cascade Lake. To the right, continue hiking along Hidden Ridge and past the junction from the left of the West Boundary Trail (see article this website). Be careful not to lose the tread as the trail crosses under a power line and then directly across an old road. The forest grows denser as you traverse into the steeper, wetter, and darker terrain of the north side of Mt. Constitution.

The trail contours around to the east side of the mountain, and eventually drops even lower to avoid cliff bands ending at the junction with the Twin Lakes Trail. From here you can continue dropping down to Twin Lakes; or you can begin the ascent to the summit of Mt. Constitution that is a little more than a mile and 1,000 feet of elevation away. For those seeking a more wilderness and challenging hiking experience at Moran State Park, reaching the summit by way of the North Trail is especially rewarding.

For a mountain adventure and one of the least traveled hikes to the summit of Mt. Constitution consider giving the North Trail a try. Remember to bring the map and compass; and a little extra food and water wouldn’t hurt either.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 7/27/2009

Directions

Drive to the north entrance of Moran State Park, five miles south of the village of Eastsound on the Olga Road. Continue driving into the park and in less than 1 ½ miles take the left turn-off for the Mt. Constitution Road. Proceed up the mountain road and in a little more than 3 ½ miles park at the Cold Springs Trailhead on your left.

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