This hike was proclaimed the birthday hike, as it is both my birthday and Crystal’s birthday on the 30th. The 40+ Slackers meetup group headed out nice and early to catch the ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula. Someone asked me if this is in Port Townsend, the answer is no. It appears Mount Townsend is about 38 miles away from Port Townsend.
According to the WTA site, there are 4 trails that lead to the top. So be careful if you decide to trust a GPS to get you there. We went on what is referred to as the “Upper Trailhead.”
The road getting there (if you follow the WTA directions are mostly paved, but there were several large potholes in the road, so drive with care. One of our groups spotted an elk on the way so also keep an eye out for animals.
Here are the Stats:
8 miles round trip, 3010 ft gain, High point 6260 feet
Location: Olympic Peninsula/Hood Canal
No pass required.
Here is the WTA page for this hike:
The trail starts out climbing through the woods, if you listen closely you will hear a nearby creek, It was fairly dry by the time we did this trail so most of the creeks were a trickle, but there were still a few running. The lower part of the trail had a ton of rhododendrons which must be amazing when in bloom. We caught a glimpse of a doe going up. I am amazed our big group didn’t scare her away more quickly.
The trail is pretty consistently an uphill grade with some steepish parts, but no stairs or rocky bits to speak of. As you continue, you will eventually start to get some views of the ridgeline to the left which were pretty awesome. There were still a few wildflowers, mostly paintbrush and Queen Anne’s lace, as well as some others hanging on.
As you go up, the views open up more and more….pretty awesome. The trail alternates forested area to meadow. Shortly before camp windy there is an open rock face which is a good spot to take a break and enjoy the views. Camp windy is a 2.6 miles on the trail for those interested in doing an overnight. Take a right turn at the sign for Silver Lakes/Mount Townsend. Sorry for so many similar pictures…I just couldn’t decide.
After this point, you pass the tree line and shade is limited. You keep heading up the switchbacks to the ridge. Don’t forget to take breaks in the shade (or whenever you need one).
Once you make it to the ridge you can see down the other side. I didn’t go all the way to the end (clouds were coming in and views were obscured, so I decided part way up the ridge that this was good), but apparently on a clear day you can see the sound from the end point.
On the way back down be careful the gravel/rock is loose and it is easy to slip. Several people in our group fell on the way down. (Not me). Poles are highly recommended.