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Mount Townsend Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Quilcene, Washington that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,090 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

snow

Directions from Quilcene: Travel one mile south, then turn right onto Penny Creek Road. Follow Penny Creek for 1.4 miles, staying left at the Y, and continue to the Forest Service boundary and paved FS Road 27. Proceed on FS 27 for another 10.6 miles to FS 2760. Follow FS 2760 for .7 miles to the trailhead. There is ample parking.

hiking
8 days ago

6/29 started at 8:30 (Monday) lot filled up as myself and 2 other cars arrived. Trail wasn’t crowded at all and 90% used face coverings. The first mile goes through beautiful rhododendrons lining the trail, then the last miles are pretty much wide open views! Steady uphill, some places steeper than others. Wildflowers are out at peak now, so many different kinds. After arriving at the top, continue up to the right for more amazing views! Absolutely gorgeous! No snow, trail is in great shape. Not a perfectly clear day, so views in the far distance weren’t the best, but still wonderful. Trailhead bathroom locked.

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail. More people drive out to this than you think. Lot packed at arrival of 9am. No services, so prepare yourself. That doesn’t mean leave your trash in front of the closed pit toilet. And for the love of god, please learn how to properly poop in the woods. Pack it in. Pack it out. Sad to see unnecessary hiker trash. 10 essentials! Look it up. Water, we had passed more than one group without or ran out early. I think some people underestimate the trail elevation gain. It’s no walk in the park. Lastly....Hiking etiquette 101 pull over for ascending and dogs on leash. (Dog may need water too) Sorry for the rules reminder. And I know “the people you want to see this probably won’t” But I’m afraid if we don’t continue to post these reminders (especially with the increased hiking traffic due to Covid) we’ve lost out on the chance to educate at least one more enthusiast & encourage an increase of respect for these beautiful areas we cherish.

hiking
bugs
snow
10 days ago

06/26/2020 - 06/27/2020 Backpacking trip. On a Friday morning at 9:30am, had to park to the side of the gravel road. Trail is in great condition. Beautiful views of the mountains for the second half of trail going up. On a clear day, there’s views of Mount Rainier and if you look closely even Seattle. Sunset and sunrise were worth every sore muscle—and sunburn. If backpacking, it gets cold at night so dress warm. Hiking down the next morning it was VERY foggy and misty (a rain jacket would’ve helped). Be prepared! It’s worth it!

hiking
10 days ago

Very beautiful hike. Steep switchbacks. Very cold at the top. Bring gloves! Parking space is very limited.

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful trail!

hiking
snow
10 days ago

Well paved and maintained trail! We got to the trail at 9:45a and there already 9 cars and took the last spot. When we got back, people had created a bunch more. You’re immediately greeted by the sounds of running water when you get onto the trail. Once you hit about a half a mile, you will start making your climb up. Which is perfect to get you warmed up a bit. We caught all different elements on our hike — rain, snow, clouds, sun. I personally enjoyed the variety. At one point it was sunny and a bit warm, so I took my shirt off to get some sun since that’s rare to get. 30 minutes later, we were in the clouds and then caught a light mist. Once you get to the top, you think you’re done but don’t be fooled! Even thought you have a few good views, the summit is another .25 miles (to the right) and for the most part no incline. This is where you’ll hit patches of snow, a lot of fog (it’ll roll through pretty fast if you’re patient), and quite windy and chilly. At this point, my shirt was back on with a rain jacket as a layer. The views can be hit or miss. We had lunch up there so we had time to take it in. This hike was done in mid June

hiking
12 days ago

Went Monday June 22. Beautiful hike & stunning view! Make sure to wear proper gear, hiking shoes, & hiking backpack. I wore a regular Nike back pack & my shoulders & lower back were killing me the next day!! Also bring bandaids w/ you if you do decide to wear tennis shoes! Learn from my mistakes

hiking
12 days ago

Absolutely stunning views from the top, I was struck by how gorgeous the hike was the entire way. From the rhododendron covered beginning to the alpine wildflower hillsides to the panoramic views at the summit. The hike was very hard for me, felt like constant elevation..the way up was long with many breaks needed for me and my pup. The way down was about 1/2 the time. Dogs are allowed but if going the entire way ensure they are prepared and accustomed to elevation gain. 10/10 would do this trail again

hiking
muddy
13 days ago

hiking
great!
14 days ago

Wonderful combination of forest trail, alpine meadow with open views, and rewarding views from the top. The Upper Townsend trailhead parking lot was nearly full in the morning when we arrived and absolutely crazy overloaded with cars on both sides of the gravel road leading in/out when we left in early afternoon. The parking lot toilet is closed. Please be prepared.

hiking
rocky
21 days ago

Picked a moderately cloudy day for a hike. Parking lot was semi full at 3pm when I arrived (I’m a late afternoon hiker) and on my way up I passed most of the car’s owners. The views were very hit or miss, one minute I was in the clouds the next they would clear just for a glimpse before closing back up. The elevation gain is constant on the way up and a decent workout! Up top I was extremely lucky to have the whole summit to myself. Views were great in one direction and totally socked in on the other, so I recommend picking a cloudless day for the full 360 panorama if that’s what you’re looking for. Overall a stunning hike and one you won’t want to miss in the Olympics!

hiking
21 days ago

Loved this hike! The trail was beautiful and there were mini waterfalls all along the way. It was a climb, but nice and steady. It was never too steep and worth the effort for the views at the top. Bring a windbreaker and gloves for the top because it gets chilly after sweating all the way up.

1 month ago

Classic PNW day in the mountains. Rain, snow & sun! There are still a few patches of snow at the top but nothing major at all, easy to walk across. We did get some snow squalls and there was a few inches of fresh snow overnight but it was already melting away. In all it was around a 4.5 hr round trip and that included going beyond the summit another half mile or so and starting from the lower trailhead.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Started the hike around 10am and was at the top for lunch and snow showers. There is a lower and an upper trailhead, so watch for the sign to make sure you go to the right one. I chose the lower trailhead and it adds another mile each direction. The end point of the map isn’t the actual summit. You have to travel across the ridge a little bit before reaching the summit. Great hike and I will definitely do this one again when the weather is better.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing views up top!

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is well maintained and easy walking but the grade and elevation gain sure make this hike a bit of a doozy, on the way up and down. On a clear day like the last couple have been, you have great views of the Cascades, downtown Seattle, and Puget Sound for almost the entire hike. Once you get to the top you are rewarded with the Olympics. A few patches of snow on the upper trail but the summit is grassy and spend-the-night worthy.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is awesome! The first two miles are rough but once you see the views, it makes it worthwhile. Trekking poles might help on the steep way down (we didn’t use any). There’s a little bit of snow, but only in certain areas. The trick is getting there early in the morning (we got to the trail head at 7am and ran in to one person coming down). Coming down however, the trail head parking was full and there were a good amount of people parked on the entrance road at around 3pm. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to hike up with intermittent snack and water breaks. Definitely would recommend!! (This trail doesn’t require fees or parking passes, and is currently open to the public)

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike. At trailhead by 3:00, made it to the top by 5:30 or so. A bit brutal, but worth it. We were also treated to views of the fabled Nude Backpacker and must say that they paled in comparison to those from the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

In the lot by 9am and snagged the last spot. Tiny bit of snow at the Silver Lake cutoff, but otherwise dry. Perfect day with some traffic, but fun to see the smiling faces taking in this gem of a trail. Wildflowers are out and adorned the trail and tundra ridge. Naked hiker graced us with his “gear” on the trail, but hey...maybe it was his birthday Cheers to him! It was a magic day!

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular views at the top, great trail conditions and perfect weather. The Upper trailhead parking lot was full but the Lower trailhead was nearly deserted. The extra 1.2 miles from Lower to Upper is beautiful in itself.

hiking
1 month ago

1) it’s a long 15 mile drive in to the trail head but mostly on paved road-luxury! 2)first to arrive at trailhead today. 10 cars in lot at 1pm departure. 3)many switchbacks but excellent conditions and 99.9% snow free trail. 4) broke out of the clouds near the summit to glorious views toward the north and west 5) still socked in on the east/trail side of the mountain which made for a cool refreshing ascent and descent 6) all alone at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice steady incline

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

First time hiking Mt Townsend yesterday and has become one of my top 3. Despite the fog and cloud cover, the hike offer so much. Once in a while we would catch a break with a sneak peak of the view before the next wave of fog rolled in. One gripe, the sign for the lower trailhead was deceiving and caused us to drive past it as it was labeled “Upper Mt Townsend Trailhead 1.2 miles”. I disregarded the 1.2 and thought it was actually Upper vice Lower.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is in good condition, we easily made it up without spikes or any snow gear. I only rated it a 4 as it was cloudy so we couldn’t assess/rate the view. Pretty manageable gradient.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is in great condition. When we went visibility was low due to mist. Their is a little bit of snow on the trail near Windy Camp and a little near the summit but nothing problematic.

hiking
1 month ago

There were a few patches of snow along the trail near the top, but easily navigable. I saw some trillium, and a few other wildflowers awake and seemingly happy. I was!

hiking
icy
4 months ago

My friend and I hiked this on Saturday, February 29, and we were shocked at how gorgeous the weather was! I had to stop a mile short in my car from the trail head because the snow was too deep for my cross trek, and I was concerned about the conditions coming back out. (If I had chains it would have been fine) Once we hit the trail head the scenery and the views were spectacular, especially for this time of year. Unfortunately though, we had to turn back a couple miles in Due to the fact that the trail was incredibly icy and narrow at points, and the trail was sloping down hill so, if you Lost your traction there was a serious risk of going downhill and not stopping for a long time. I had on yak tracks, and they helped over the vast majority, but we finally hit a portion of the trail were even with the yak tracks there was no way I could proceed further without putting myself at risk. If you have crampons you should have no problem. All in all it was absolutely beautiful and other than having to stop short we had a blast!

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