Summary: This hike provides an outstanding alternate route to the Mt. Townsend summit. Grand views of the Olympic Mountains rise to the west and a fantastic overlook of Puget Sound lies to the East. Mount Rainier towers above the clouds on clear days. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, but no water is available!
The trailhead begins at 4030 ft. The first mile is a moderate incline but then levels out for an easy walk through thick forests and occasional glimpses of the valleys nestled below to the north. The Canadian coast can be seen on clear days. The trail splits at approximate 2.0 miles. To the right is the trail to the Tubal Cain Mine, but stay to the left and continue upward. At 2.5 miles you come to a beautiful rock overlook of snow peaks and lush valleys below. This is a great spot for a rest and snack. Continue up and leave the thick forest for Alpine surroundings. Three switchbacks and you're there! Final elevation 6278. ENJOY THE VIEW
Trailhead: Purchase a one-day parking pass at the Quilcene Ranger Station. From the ranger station, head north on highway 101 for 2.3 miles. Turn left on Lord's Lake Loop Rd. Travel 3.3 miles to Lord's Lake where the road veers left and becomes a dirt road. Proceed 3.9 miles to the National Forest boundary and continue along this road. At 7.3 miles you will arrive at a T-Intersection. Turn right on to forest road 2728 (some maps show this road as 2810) toward Mt. Zion and the Little Quilcene Trail. At 8.6 you will arrive at a fork in the road. Stay to the left, which becomes forest road 2820. At 11.9 miles you will arrive at the trail head for Little Quilcene Trail #835. The road widens at this point to provide adequate parking area. (Lat:47.88692 Lon:-123.04045)
Trail Guides for Mt Townsend Day Hike:
Hiking Olympic National Park
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Press Publishing)
Best Seasons: Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Quilcene Ranger District - 295142 Hwy. 101 S. (360) 765-2200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Dan and Laura Eckstein, who has posted 1 other hike on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by J on 8/30/2010
Anyone hiking Mt. Townsend after August 28 2010 please be on the look out for my Digital camera which has been lost somewhere on the trail. It is in a small black case. The camera is a Red Panasonic Lumix 14mp and the case contains the camera, extra battery and large rubber bands. Any person good enough to return this camera to me in proper shape will receive a reward. I hate to lose 5 months of photos. Thanks very much.
Reviewed by ME on 8/26/2010
A fabulous hike
Reviewed by Kathleen C on 8/29/2009
I went on the 8 mile roundtrip hike with my daughters 5th grade class today. The first mile through the woods, just about killed us. Luckily, we treked on... Once we made it to the clearing, the views were awesome. My middle aged, non excersing body, huffed & puffed to the top with the rest of the crew. Well worth the effort for all of the beauty at the top. Will I do it again? I'd like to, but I need to get in a bit better shape first.
Reviewed by Michael on 8/27/2009
I would like to see better directions - perhaps beginning from Seattle or Tacoma. Thanks
Reviewed by Jeffrey R on 7/10/2009
I just got back from hiking this, the day prior I hiked Mt. Dickerman and I must say that this was far superior. The scenery is amazing, even as you drive to the trailhead you can catch glimpses as far as Vancouver Island. The trail was nicely maintained(I was confidently running during the last quarter of the way down) and was not mundane or full of switchbacks and the surroundings changed quite a bit. First you're in the forest, then it starts to clear out and it was almost like a desert and up at the summit was like rolling grasslands, suprisingly flat. It would make a great overnight with a spectacular sunrise, if people are allowed to do that. The view is amazing. You get to see most of Puget Sound and could probally find your house.
Reviewed by Anna & Michael on 7/5/2009
We enjoyed the hike and found the effort worth the investment of time and muscle to get to the top. Though it was a bit overcast today, we still could get some terrific views of the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound area. We'll do it again when we think we might catch a really clear day and when we're a bit more in shape for the first mile up. There were still a lot of wild flowers out and the weather was comfortable up and back.
Reviewed by SWM on 7/11/2008
Hiked today with my 12 and 10 year old kids. They did great. The hike is rigorous at points, but well worth it. The view is like that of Hurricane Ridge only with an additional 180 degrees of views all the way down the Sound to Mt. St. Helens. I agree that the first mile is more than a moderate climb - it's plain old steep. But then things flatten out for the second mile, and the third is mostly above tree line and more of what I'd call moderate. This view is unbelievable. Definitely in my top 10.
Reviewed by Mikey and Chase on 12/30/2007
My buddy and I went up 11/27- 11/29. We camped out at the upper trail head in the car and then made our way up in the early morning. The trail was well maintained with the exception of a few fallen trees. We brought snow shoes but crampons would have been better for the upper section. We spent the night at Camp Wendy in a mega mid. It was about 5 degrees at the top 40 mph winds. We couldn't see a thing and it dumped about 8in of snow over night. It made Mt. Townsend out to be a much burlier mountain than it is. Beginner difficulty with a 20 lb pack. It was AWESOME.
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