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Mount Townsend

Jul 26, 2013

by Alpine Art last modified Jul 27, 2013 09:30 AM
Type of Outing
Day hike
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Hike: Mount Townsend
Region: Olympics -- East
Agency: Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District
Trails: Mount Townsend (#839)
Avg Rating: 3.89
Why You Should Go Now
Wildflowers blooming
Be Aware Of
Windy Lake - near camping spots on this trail, Alpine Art
This is a hike full of wows, ahas and sublime views, flower filled meadows and a great trail that can be navigated in anything from tennis shoes to hiking boots this time of year (or any long patch without rain or snow).

The COG's - aka crafty & cute old guys - added a new member to the group, Perry, a former army medic and strong hiker. Always nice to have medical help available in the woods.

The route finding which was my job did not start out well. First I got lost trying to find the McDonalds in Kingston. These woes continued on the roads to the trail head. At one junction with FS 27 we took a turn on a gravel road (about 4 miles up FS 27) which ended at a great overlook but no trail. We came back down and found the correct road (conveniently signed on a tree that we could not see coming up FS 27) and continued on to what I thought was the first (Sink Lake) trail head - well of course this was the correct road to the upper trail head - but not having learned my lesson we continued on FS 27 (now gravel) until we headed downhill. Well I knew this could not be correct so back to the Mt. Townsend Trail road sign and to the correct parking lot. Our driver Tom, was very kind to me after all this misdirection. He did get a dinner out of his efforts - in partial payment for his patience.

On to the trail - the trail starts up along Townsend Creek and is moderately steep to not so steep in sections. The tread is well maintained and easy to walk with no mud holes or damp sections. On Friday, lots of cool breezes, particularly on the summit helped with the warm day.

Some trail notes; Camp Windy is the only place with water and level spots for a tent on this trail. Frogs (in their tadpole stage) are in the lake (pond) and the area has lots deer files - Silver Lakes trail leaves the Mt. Townsend Trail at an unsigned (as best I could tell) junction. Trail split is obvious with the Mt. Townsend Trail going up hill to the right.

The meadows start prior to Camp Windy but improve as you head up hill. Indian Paint Brush, Tiger Lily, Harebell, Cinquefoil and other flowers were in bloom and everywhere in the meadows.

Once past the Silver Lake junction, a series of switchbacks takes you to the summit ridge were sublime views of the Olympics, Cascades, Washington Volcanoes, Puget Sound, The Straits, Vancouver Island etc can be had. Other than a smoggy haze blocking views of Seattle on occasion everything was perfect for viewing. A mild to moderate breeze kept us cool on the summit.

I estimate it took us 3 hours up and 2 hours down, not bad for a 8 + mile hike with 2900 feet of elevation gain and old legs.
Harebell and Cinquefoil on Mt. Townsend Summit Ridge, Alpine Art
View from Summit Ridge toward Mt. Constance and Mt. Warrior, Alpine Art
View toward Puget Sound from Mt. Townsend, Alpine Art
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