Difficulty Level 4-5 Steep and Unrelenting
We will hike about 2 miles uphill to the subalpine meadows. Stay overnight in Sequim or Port Angeles and get 2 field trips in one trip to the Olympic Peninsula! See next item.
Friday August 2, Regina Johnson will lead a trip to the rain shadow of the Olympics, the Mt. Townsend trail, a trip that the late Bob Hardwick used to lead every year. This trail climbs steadily from the upper trailhead at 3500 ft all the way to the twin summits, at just over 6200 ft but don’t despair! we won’t go that far. No, there are flowery meadows that should be full of butterflies, starting about a mile up the trail. We may not go more than 2 miles at 4800 ft, depending on what we find, though there will be butterflies all the way to the summits. We hope to see Vidler’s Alpines and Chryxus Arctics, Arctic Blues and Arctic Fritillaries.
This trail is justifiably one of the most popular in the Olympics, which means that the trail will be very crowded and the trailhead parking will be completely overwhelmed, even on a Friday. We will meet in Quilcene at the Olympic National Forest ranger station to carpool to the trailhead at 8:30. Please note that the trail, while well constructed and well maintained, is steep and unrelenting – all uphill one way, all downhill the other. This is a real mountain hike. We will be going slowly but we will be going uphill. Those driving to the trailhead will need a federal lands pass which can be bought at the ranger station.
Those coming from Seattle will want to arrange their own carpools to arrive in Quilcene before 8:30.
I would recommend driving south through Tacoma, over the Narrows Bridge, then north to the Hood Canal bridge and south to Quilcene. The 7:10 Edmonds-Kingston ferry is another option.
This is the Olympics, so rain is possible even in the rain shadow in August. Rain will cancel so make sure you sign up ahead of time in order to be notified of cancellation.