Mount Townsend via Mt. Townsend Trail #839

10 reviews #4 hike out of 236 in
8.7 mi
Distance
3 hrs 39 min
Time
terrain
2,868 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a difficult one way trail to Mount Townsend in Olympic National Forest.

This trail goes by Windy Lake.

From the upper trailhead at 3400ft you will immediately face a series of steep switchbacks through dense forest. The switchbacks terminate at approximately 3900ft, where you begin a straight, steady climb toward Windy Lake.

After entering Buckhorn Wilderness (sign present) the trail crosses three drainages. These do not present much difficulty, but occasionally water flows across the trail leaving it muddy. A second section of switchbacks begins at approximately 4700ft.

At 5100 ft there is a small meadow suitable for camping, and a nice place to rest before tackling the remaining switchbacks. An unmarked spur trail to Windy Lake leaves the main trail at 5300ft. Veer right to continue toward the peak. At 5500ft The Mount Townsend trail intersects the Silver Lakes Trail #842. For an extra challenge use this trail to gain a high ridge for some loose scrambling, otherwise stay right.

The switchbacks terminate at 6000ft where you gain the summit ridge. This is a long, wide, plateau-like summit with many small rock outcroppings. Numerous social trails exist here, in some places four parallel tracks exist. To prevent further erosion, I recommend staying on the path farthest to the left.

The true high-point and USGS marker is close to the midpoint of the ridge. On a clear day all the major Washington Cascade volcanoes are visible to the east, along with Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and downtown Seattle. To the south and west is the rugged interior of the Olympics Mountains, and to the north Vancouver Island and the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

Descend via the same route.

Getting Started

Very limited parking at the upper trailhead so make sure to arrive early. Consider using lower trailhead or carpooling. Numerous pullouts along the last .7 miles to the upper trailhead, but be sure to pull all the way off as the road is very narrow.

Taking Children

Suitable for children. Trail is well maintained gravel, wide in most places, and does not include scrambling or major dropoffs.



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    3 weeks, 1 day ago
    Walked up through the clouds and it just got better and better- definitely a bucket-list hike!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 years ago
    Had perfect fall weather, so we had awesome views of the Pacific Northwest! Mt.Baker, Mt Rainier, and the nearby Olympics peaks. We are two women in our 60’s and we had no trouble with this hike. We will do again and again. There are many people on the trail and also many dogs. Get there early for good parking
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 years, 1 month ago
    Lucked out with the weather. Go early, take plenty of water and layered clothing. Was windy and chilly at the top. Trail in great repair!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    11 months ago

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    1 year, 3 months ago
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    1 year, 3 months ago
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    2 years, 3 months ago
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    2 years, 4 months ago
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    2 years, 5 months ago
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Public Tracks

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erik.scrafford 2 years, 9 months ago
Mt Townsend snowshoe
Solo snowshoe up Mt. Townsend. Beautiful sunny day. There was an inversion layer that made it warmer today. Busy day, I must have seen 30 people. I was the first vehicle to the upper trailhead, but a couple passed through the parking lot from the lower trailhead while I was getting ready. Icy for the first couple miles on the trail, slipped on my butt when I didn’t have my Yaktrax on. Tested new snowshoes, poles, and gaiters. All worked great! The snowshoes felt light, and had good traction.
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JerryLogan61 2 years, 9 months ago
Mount Townsend (12/31/18)
Beautiful day from upper trailhead. Micro spikes the whole way. Carried the snowshoes. Did not need them. Great views of Canada, Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, St Helens. Seattle in the clouds for much of the trip.
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Ross 2 years, 1 month ago
Upper Townsend to Windy Camp
Overnight with Stephanie
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trail Eric 4 years, 4 months ago
Mount Townsend - TH-Townsend Creek
Stats are round trip
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