From U.S. Route 101 approximately 2.00 miles/3.20 km north of Quilcene, Washington between Mileposts 292 and 293, turn right from southbound/left from northbound onto Lords Lake Loop Road
Proceed 3.40 miles/5.50 km to a "T" intersection
Turn left onto an unsigned and unpaved gravel road, shown on some maps as Little Quilcene Road
Proceed 0.60 miles/1.00 km to a fork and take the right fork, which is unsigned
Proceed 0.10 miles/0.16 km and stay right at the next fork to take Forest Road 28, signed "FR 28", shown on some maps as Little Quilcene Road
Proceed 3.40 miles/5.50 km to a four-way intersection
Turn right to remain on Forest Road 28, signed "2800"
Proceed 1.20 miles/1.90 km to a broad fork in the road and take the slightly larger, unsigned right fork, shown variously on some maps as Forest Road 28, Forest Road 2810, and Forest Road 2849 (the fork is at Bon Jon Pass, which is unsigned and does not appear on most maps, but is still noted in most directions to the trailhead)
Proceed 2.00 miles/3.20 km and turn into the parking lot on the left
Walk across Forest Road 28/2810/2849 to the Mount Zion trailhead (do not take the Sleepy Hollow Trail that leads directly from the parking lot)
Forks and intersections are noted above where the route may be unclear, but additional side roads branch from the route. A trip meter is helpful in gauging the distances noted.
Beware of potholes, muddy conditions, and steep drop-offs along unpaved sections of road.
Mount Zion is known as one of the premiere trails for viewing Washington’s state flower, the Pacific, or, coast rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum). During the late mountain spring, typically from mid-May to mid-June, the rhododendrons’ luscious blooms line the path from trailhead to summit. The trail climbs moderately to steeply through dense, second-growth forest recovering from past wildfires. Although new forest has nearly reclaimed the view from Mount Zion’s true summit, two short, roughly 0.25-mile/0.40-km bootpaths branch from the summit and lead to better views along the craggy ridgeline. The left fork leads northwest along a precipitous ridge to peekaboo views across the distant, island-dotted Salish Sea to the snowy Cascades topping the horizon beyond, while the right fork leads southeast to a commanding view of Mount Townsend. Including the ridgetop side trails, the overall round-trip distance is just over 5.00 miles/8.00 km.
Although the rhododendrons steal the show during their bloom season, the moist woodland hosts a number of other unusual wildflowers to be found in the park-like wayside. As one might expect, the trail is quite popular when the rhododendrons are in bloom, although it is much less visited on week days. Furthermore, the Olympic Peninsula’s abundant precipitation can be a blessing in disguise, providing opportunity to enjoy a bit of rainy day solitude among the blooms. Given Mount Zion’s relative remoteness, no sounds of civilization mar the tranquility.