Hello everyone, I am doing the WTA Hike-a-Thon this summer and would love your support. Please consider sponsoring me or joining my team “Two More Switchbacks.” The money goes to the Washington Trails Association which does a great job maintaining our trails in addition to being a great resource for information on trails.
On July 8, 2017 I returned to Mount Townsend with Meetup. I am so glad I did! Wow wildflowers! Wow views! Great hike on a clear day. Last year it was a bit rainy and cold so I did not go to the very end of the trail, this year we had beautiful weather and made it all the way. To see last year’s post go to: Mt. Townsend, August 2016.
Here are the stats per WTA:
8 miles roundtrip, 3010 ft. elevation gain, high point 6260 ft.
Location, Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal. No parking pass required.
For more information go to wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mount-townsend
There are four trails to the top of Mount Townsend. The WTA directions, will take you to the trail we travelled on the “Upper Trailhead.” The road was paved most of the way and a sedan can make it on the dirt portion. Note, the trailhead parking is small and it is advised to get there early or you may be trekking down the road to get to the start. Also, keep an eye out for deer on the road. Last year we saw an adult deer on the way out, this year there was a fawn crossing the road in front of us on the way out. (We did not see mama, but I am sure she was close by.)
On the first part of the trail you will be under tree cover, there are some rhododendrons which bloom in June (we missed them blooming). In climbing the switchbacks, the trail will start opening up to some very nice views and will become increasingly open as you climb. As the trail opens up the wildflowers start. There were huge paintbrush, lupine, lilies and many more! It was fantastic! Here is link to a helpful wildflower guide that I found: www.pnwflowers.com/ The following are photos of flowers we saw along the trail, so beautiful!
The views really start to open up with each switchback. Keep looking up to take it in. On a clear day as you get higher up you can see Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak and Mount Baker. So awesome. It was a little hazy so the big peaks didn’t come out in my photos but I took some great mental pictures.
You will eventually get to a little rocky outcropping where the trail turns right and passes some camping spaces (Camp Windy). Continue on up the switchbacks which seem to get steeper as you get higher. You also start to lose tree cover so enjoy the shade where you can. At 3 miles from the trail-head you will reach an intersection with the Silver Lake Trail, turn right at this intersection and continue your climb up. you will eventually reach the ridge after one steep little push…but that isn’t the end Keep going!
After you reach the ridge line there is more up…and some down until you reach the end. The end is very rewarding so I recommend taking this last bit up.