Mt Townsend Trail, Washington

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

8.2 miles round trip

In 1792, as Captain George Vancouver was exploring the Puget Sound, he named a large, protected bay Port Townshend. The h was eventually dropped.

One of the most hiked summits in the Olympics, and it’s easy to see why this peak is so popular. Easy access, a long hiking season, and unparalleled views of Puget Sound and the eastern half of the Olympics give Mount Townsend quite an edge. Of the three trails leading to its summit, Trail No. 839 is the route most taken. …

Most hikers intent on reaching the 6280-foot open summit opt to begin their journey from the upper trailhead. This saves 1.2 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain, but at the expense of missing a beautiful old-growth forest and Sink Lake, a small body of water that causes tumbling Townsend Creek to disappear. …

Washington Trails Association

I did start from the upper trailhead. 4 miles at an angle of about 20 degrees was challenging enough.


Perfect weather, the only surprise were solo tent caterpillars dangling down across the trail at lower elevations.


It took longer than expected to clear the tress and get to the gorgeous views.


Up top, late in the afternoon, it was just me and these guys. 🙂


I decided to go for a scramble down this ridge, eventually having to retrace my steps.


Somewhere on that ridge, I left a Summit Stone.

I didn’t get back to the parking lot until 7:30pm, much later than I had expected. My trail running down hill was not all that speedy.

more photos


• another trip report – Mount Townsend Trail #839

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