Added by August Brown
You can take in the stupendously unique views that the Olympics have to offer while only driving 2-3 hours from Tacoma-Seattle! A steady and short 4-mile trail, with wildflowers and berries abound during the summer, takes you to the summit with 360 degree views of The Cascade Volcanoes, The San Juan Islands, and the Olympics.
There are four trailheads that guide you to the top of Mount Townsend, but the most popular choice is to begin at the Upper Trailhead Trail #839 (snow permitting).
The trail gradually climbs while traversing through forested area. While walking through the fir and hemlock trees, you pass three gurgling stream gullies that are wonderful places to cool off or grab some water. Soon after, you break out of the dense forest into an area of sporadic trees, but switchbacks a plenty. Views of the Cascade Range to the east will start to appear here on a clear day.
At around 3 miles up, the trail meets its first fork. To the left leads to Silver Lake, which is a wonderful alpine lake to camp at if you have time to make this an overnight trip. The trail is an additional 2.5 miles to the lake. But, since we're climbing Mount Townsend, you will take a right turn and continue the last mile along a beautiful, open, subalpine ridge to the top.
At the top, grab some lunch, snap some photos, and pop some bottles of bubbly (pack it out). To the east you can see the cascades and all of the prominent volcanoes such as Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier. To the south and west you can see the Mount Constance, Warrior Peak, Mount Mystery, and Mount Deception. The San Juan Islands can also be seen to the Northeast making Mount Townsend one of the most wholesome Washington State viewpoints available!
- The Ten Essentials (https://www.rei.com/learn/expe...)
- Trekking Poles
- Micro Spikes depending on snow conditions
- 3 liters of water per person
- Snacks, snacks, snacks
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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