It wasn’t until I graduated high school and went to college that I became a normal person who had to commute to hiking trails and mountains. Attending college in the Palouse at Washington State University meant I had literally one hiking trail to enjoy during my four years there that overlooked what else but wheat fields. It was it’s own kind of beautiful but not the alpine views and wild flowers galore that I craved. Fortunately after college, I got married and my husband’s job took us the the Olympic Peninsula! One of the first things we did when me moved over here was buy a trail guide and hike the mountains! Over the years we’ve stepped foot on countless trails in the area but our favorite trail without question is Mount Townsend– a 6,280ft summit and said to be the most hiked summit in the Olympics.
Where I grew up, hiking was just a normal part of my childhood day-to-day play. I lived down a seven mile, one lane dirt road in the middle of the Seattle watershed. No, it’s not normal for people to live in watersheds, they are generally private property with a lot of no trespassing signs posted but when Seattle bought thousands of acres to make their watershed, they forgot to buy a few hundred (someone had a bad day) which then got snagged up rather quickly by the public. We lived on the back side of rattlesnake ridge and uncharted territory was in abundance!
Mount Townsend is located out passed Quilcene, Washington in the Olympic Mountains. The hike begins with a journey through old growth, switchbacking right from the beginning.
After skipping over several stream beds, trees thin out on the trail revealing meadows of wild flowers and striking views of snow capped mountains above the Puget Sound.
Once above the tree line there is one last stretch of trail to power up before reaching the ridge summit. I typically jog this part up. Call me crazy but when the incline increases it’s easier for me to just power through and get to the top rather than chugging along slowly but surely.
The views the summit provides are unimaginable and unbelievable to those who stand in front of them.
With a turn of your head from left to right you will see Victoria, San Juan Islands, Canadian Cascade Mountains, Mount Baker, Twin Sisters, Glacier, Seattle, Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Hood Canal Bridge, Ferries, Port Townsend, Banger Base, and so much more!
Round trip the Mount Townsend trail is 8.2 miles with a 2,900ft elevation gain.
My ONLY complaint about the trail is how it wears on my knees during the decent.
I took a few pointers from other fellow hikers and found it necessary to walk backwards down a few switchbacks to ease the pounding on my joints.
Do you have any hikes (in Washington and else were!) that you would recommend?!