Mount Rose–How sweet are thy views!

 

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The view of Lake Cushman from Mount Rose is worth the steep climb to get to it!

Quick Facts:

Location:Mount Skokomish Wilderness, Southeast Olympic Peninsula

Land Agency: Olympic National Forest

Roundtrip: 6.7 miles

Elevation gain: 3,500 feet

Green Trails Maps: Olympic Mountains East No. 168S

Contact: Hood Canal District, Quilcene

Notes: Wilderness regulations apply

Access: From Shelton, travel north on US 101 for 15 miles to Hoodsport. Turn left onto SR 119 proceeding 11 miles to where road becomes graveled FR 24. Continue for another 1.3 miles to trailhead.

Good to Know: dog-friendly, strenuous hike, good views, wildflowers, old-growth, wilderness

 

Consider Mount Rose as an alternative to nearby Mount Ellinor. When half of Olympia is crowding Ellinor’s summit like goats in a salt lick, you just might be savoring the sweet offerings of Rose all to yourself.  But be forewarned. This is a challenging hike; one of the steepest trails in the Olympics. But, it’s worth every ounce of sweat expended for its beautiful high elevation old-growth forests to its knock-out views of Lake Cushman 3,500 feet directly below.

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Look for penstemon growing among the summit ledges.

Start by crossing a cascading creek on a new well-built bridge.  Following an old road for a short distance, this is the only level walking you’ll see on this hike. Soon switch to narrower tread and start switchbacking to the heavens. A carpet of salal lines the trail. Uniform second growth with a few remnant giants offer needed shade. Despite the roar of a distant creek, the slope is dry.

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Despite a recent forest fire, Mount Rose contains lots of old-growth forest.

After one mile and one thousand feet of climbing a bench with a view of Lake Cushman invites a break. Now enter the Mount Skokomish Wilderness, one of five protected wilderness areas within the Olympic National Forest. Just shy of two miles after passing a small cascade reach the summit loop junction (el 3,050 ft). Take the trail left; it’s shorter and steeper, leaving the more gradual option for the descent, and relieving your knees.

The summit loop climbs 1,250 feet in just over a mile mostly through cool old-growth and a recent burn zone to reach the 4,300-foot forested summit. Don’t despair, for a small vertigo-inducing rock outcropping juts out of the forest providing a panoramic payoff. Directly below is Lake Cushman, waters sparkling in the summer sun. Lightening Peak and Timber Mountain rise majestically behind it. The Skokomish Delta, Black and Willapa Hills and Mount Rainier are all visible from this pulse-rising promontory.

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. Now brace your knees for the brutally steep descent.

 

 

For more details on this hike and 124 others on the Olympic Peninsula, consult my Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula book.

Day Hiking Oly Book

For more information on places to stay and other things to do on the Olympic Peninsula, visit Northwest TripFinder.

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