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Mount Rose

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With all due respect to the Bard, what's in a mountain? That which we call Mount Rose by any other name would still be as steep. This is a challenging hike-one of the steepest trails in the Olympics. Great for conditioning, Rose offers a few scenic rewards too, from beautiful high-elevation old-growth forests to a knockout view of Lake Cushman from 3500 feet directly above it. Consider Rose an alternative to Mount Ellinor. When half of Olympia is crowding Ellinor's summit like goats at a salt lick, you just might be savoring the sweet offerings of Rose all by yourself.

Start by crossing a cascading creek and heading up an old road. Enjoy it, for it's the only level walking you'll see on this hike. Now begin the grind. On good tread, start switchbacking to the heavens. Yes, the grade is steep, but it used to be worse. Over a decade ago a dedicated volunteer trail crew reconfigured much of the way.

A carpet of salal lines the trail. Uniform second growth with a few remnant giants (survivors of early twentieth-century fires) offer needed shade. At 0.3 mile pass through a pair of towering Doug-firs that act as a gateway. Despite the roar of a distant creek, the slope is dry, as evidenced by the few madronas and manzanita bushes.

At 1 mile and after 1000 feet of climbing, a bench with a view of Lake Cushman invites a break. Catch your breath and continue. After 0.1 mile enter the Mount Skokomish Wilderness. Ironically, the trees are now smaller and less impressive. Perhaps it's due to thinner soils, for the way gets even steeper. At 1.6 miles enter a cool forest of hemlock. A short spur trail leads left to a little cascade, although it may be dry by late summer.

In another 0.25 mile reach the summit loop junction (elev. 3050 ft) along with a small plaque honoring the crew that built this trail. Take the left trail-it's shorter and steeper, leaving the longer and more gradual option for the descent, relieving your knees.

The summit loop climbs 1,300 feet in just over 1 mile, through recently burned forest and remnant pockets of old-growth. At 2.9 miles from the trailhead reach the 4,301-foot forested summit. Don't despair, a small vertigo-inducing rock outcropping juts out of the forest providing a panoramic payoff. Directly below, waters sparkling, is Lake Cushman. Lightning Peak and Timber Mountain rise majestically behind it. Wonder Mountain and Church Peak are just off to the right. The Skokomish delta, Black and Willapa Hills, and Mount Rainier are all visible from this pulse-raising promontory. Through silver snags and white pines the deep valley of the North Fork Skokomish can also be glimpsed.

After your rosy outlook continue on the loop. Along a forested ledge, the trail makes a 1.7-mile saner return to the loop junction. Enjoy glimpses of Copper Mountain, but the real point of interest is a colonnade of four silver firs about halfway down the trail. They have grown so close together they appear fused. Now, test your trekking poles before careening down the mountain.
Driving Directions:

From Shelton travel north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. Turn left (west) onto State Route 119, proceeding 9.3 miles to a T intersection with Forest Road 24. Make a sharp left. In 1.7 miles the pavement ends. Continue on FR 24 for 1 more mile to the trailhead, located on your right.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 120 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Rose — Apr 13, 2014 — In1durland
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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This is a great hike on a clear day. It is a bit of work to get to the top, but the views make it wo...
This is a great hike on a clear day. It is a bit of work to get to the top, but the views make it worth it. Make sure you climb up the rock at the top of the trail. If the weather is right, this will get you unobstructed views of Rainier, Helens, and Hood, plus you've got the Olympics all around you.

There is a bit of snow once you get past the summit loop. I'd recommend traction and poles, but they are not necessary. This part of the trail is well marked by foot traffic and orange/red ribbons on the trees. After enjoying the views, get ready to test your knees and thighs on the downhill!
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Mount Rose — Apr 12, 2014 — watermelon84
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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The truth about Mount Rose... Excellent Conditioning hike! From the TH to the summit, I don't think...
The truth about Mount Rose...
Excellent Conditioning hike! From the TH to the summit, I don't think there was a single piece of trail that was level or downhill. This hike keeps going up to the top. GPS data shows an average of 20% grade from the TH. The view from the top of Lake Cushman, the southern Olympic Range, Mount Ellinor, and a touch of the Sound is good, but the tress and foliage at the top make for a restricted view. I wouldn't say that the view is worth the hike if that is all you are making the trip up for, but the hike is nonetheless a great one, and the trail is in good shape and well maintained.
The hike...
Starting from the trailhead, the trail immediately switchbacks up and up. I hiked with Crash, my dog, and he had no issues with any of the loose, dry rock, or snow above 3500'. We took the trail left at the intersection (the more direct route to the summit). We hit snow shortly after the intersection. I recommend microspikes, although not necessary. I didn't wear them up to the summit, but I wish I had. Once the snow takes over most of the ground, there are pink and orange markers to hep you route-find. I postholes a few times, but it's not bad. Mostly hard packed and crusted over.
The summit is snow free (southern exposure). There were a handful of people taking a break on the top, and a two other dogs. We took the longer route down, following the ridge line, which made it easier on the quads on the way down. I recommend the clockwise loop. This route also follows pink and orange markers until the snow eases. Then it's quad pounding all the way back down.
There are a few creek crossings for water; enough that I didn't need to break out a water bowl for Crash.
Maybe 2 blowdowns, nothing unmanageable.
The trail was dry, almost dusty, below the snow line.
No bugs, no wildlife.
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Mount Rose — Apr 09, 2014 — Neal
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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We began around 10 AM on Wednesday and got at the peak around 1 PM. We used no traction devices; sn...
We began around 10 AM on Wednesday and got at the peak around 1 PM. We used no traction devices; snow in the trees was soft and easy to make steps as needed. Seems considerable snow must have melted since the last report on this hike on the Sunday before us, three days before. I used poles but my two partners didn't. We had no concerns for post holing and only a couple of spots going down were a little tricky. The last stretch of the hike near the top was in fact snow free as was the top, the big rock you sit on to enjoy the view. It was warm, I was in t-shirt at the top. We ate, hung out for about half an hour, then hiked down. It was partial clouds, but sunny and bright where we sat at the top and we saw Lake Cushman and parts of the sound.

There is a great waterfall about half way up with a trail leading to it. Don't miss that! I carried a 28 pound pack for conditioning. Steep grade, but that's what we were looking for. Bigger mountains to come later!

Flowers blooming were just starting at the lower level. Lots of huge trees, presumed might be old growth.
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Mount Rose — Apr 06, 2014 — Suhleenah
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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We started our hike around noon on a Sunday after driving through rain to the trailhead. The clouds ...
We started our hike around noon on a Sunday after driving through rain to the trailhead. The clouds parted to provide partial sun on the way up the trail. The trail is lovely and well-maintained. It's easy to keep a fast pace on as there aren't lots of rocks and roots to trip on as you may find on some trails. We took the left (steeper) route up. The last 800 feet gain or so was significant snow. We found it helpful but not necessary to use poles/traction microspikes.

Perhaps it's conditioning, but we didn't find this trail as difficult as stated- in less than 2 hours we were at the summit. We put on our warm layers (it was COLD and windy at the summit) and enjoyed lunch before continuing along the ridge for the descent. There is plenty of snow along the ridge, enough to posthole in if you aren't careful. This slowed us down a bit, but not too bad. Lovely views along the ridge! We'll have to come back on a day with more snow.

Several streams are running right now, beautiful mossy rocks. Gorgeous old growth forest.

For those in shape, this is a wonderful hike. And even if you're not in shape, there are lots of benches on the ascent- you could go about 1/2 way and still have a lovely view after a beautiful hike through the old growth.

Our GPS states about 7 miles round trip and 3600 gain. It didn't agree well with the stated mileage or the summit elevation. Took us 4 hours rt including the stop at the top.
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Mount Rose — Apr 01, 2014 — Joe Hendricks
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail
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I think this is the BEST time of year to do Mount Rose! 4 minutes of video highlights: http://you...
I think this is the BEST time of year to do Mount Rose!

4 minutes of video highlights: http://youtu.be/1_jo3Q71VP4

The normally dry creeks are full of cascading pools, waterfalls. New green is everywhere along the first couple miles. The little yellow 'violets' are everywhere. Once you reach the snow, as long as you have spikes or crampons, the steeper part (turn left not right) of the summit loop is a lot of fun, more of a Class 2 scramble than a hike.

Although forecasted for no precipitation, a lot of snow dumped on me the last half mile. Luckily, it cleared enough to get some panoramas from the top.
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mt rose jennifer s.jpg
Mount Rose trail. Photo by Jennifer S.
Location
Mount Rose (#814)
Olympics -- East
Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.4 miles
Elevation Gain 3500 ft
Highest Point 4301 ft
Features
Lakes
Mountain views
Summits
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Mt Steel No. 167
Custom Correct Mount Skokomish-Lake Cushman;

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerMount Rose
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