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Mt. Townsend/Silver Lake OR Sand Lake, Reflection Lake (Avalanche concerns)



This just came out today from MRNP:
The road to Paradise is closed again today.  I'm not sure the Park Service has closed the road because they are trying to get all the snow cleared from the roads and parking lots or they are waiting for the avalanche danger to subside.  They did mention the recent fatality at Crystal Mtn in the notice.

I've been checking the weather for all areas throughout the week hoping for a miracle but It's not happening Sunday. I will say for those of you who have Sat off it looks like a nice day and you may be able to get out there for a bit. I don't have Saturdays off so no such luck for me.

Hopefully things will calm down in the next couple weeks so we can get out there and enjoy this beautiful snow safely.. You are all welcome to discuss amongst yourselves getting together for High Hut or any other hike you feel safe doing but I don't want to lead it or be responsible for it as long as things conditions continue and although High Hut is groomed I'd rather not pay for a sno-park pass.

I hope you all understand ... Hurricane Hill, Sand Lake, Mt. Townsend will all be posted soon enough..  Enjoy your weekend everyone and make it a safe one.


I'm still watching the weather and it's not getting much better in the mountains... Reflection Lake from Narada Falls might be doable but I'm not holding my breath..  I'd be happy with just a plain hike at this point .... I don't want to have to cancel AGAIN but I could use some feedback or I'm not going to have much of a choice... I'm not going into avalanche area and If the passes look dangerous I'd rather wait... I live in Renton and Poo Poo Point or Tiger Mountain are sounding good to me right now..




Due to the new mounds of snow and extreme avalanche warnings this venue will most likely be changed ... When I originally posted it I wasn't even sure if we were going to need snowshoes but how quickly things change.

Since I had to cancel Sand Lake today I might repost it for next weekend.. A friend went up this afternoon and said there is a ton of snow and this trail does not pose any avalanche danger...YAY!!! but with that being said, it will be a very long day and we will probably stop for dinner on the way back, from Tumwater  it took 2.5 hours to get up there.  We can also do something closer and just as beautiful like "Reflection Lake" up at Paradise... Everything right now will be decided based on the weather, avalanche conditions and road conditions.

Feed back is welcome and appreciated.  Safety is always my #1 concern. 


Location Mount Townsend (#839)Olympics -- EastOlympic National Forest, Hood Canal Ranger

DistrictStatistics Roundtrip 8.2 miles Elevation Gain 2900 ft Highest Point 6280 ft


We aren't sure if this is going to be a "hike" or a "snowshoe", so be prepared for both,. Mother Nature will decide for us...



<Carpool destinations>

1. Renton Park and Ride -.6am...only because I pass it as I get on the freeway...(ask me if you need address, I will only stop here if someone specifically request it in a private msg.)

2. 512 Park and Ride behind the McDonalds-6:30am in Tacoma

3.Haggen Top Food & Drug in Olympia @7am

4. Shelton Walmart on the way to the trailhead...Behind the Arco station

 As the event host, I will assign riders to drivers at the meetup locations.  I would like to know in advance who is willing to drive so  I can be assured we have enough transportation for all attendees.


20 for gas

15 from Shelton


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. It's not the shortest way, but it offers incredible biological diversity and one of the best built and maintained trails in the Buckhorn Wilderness.

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.

If you opt to skip the glories of the old growth, start from the upper trailhead (elev. 3400 ft). the well-worn path climbs steadily through a stately grove of fir and hemlock adorned with Pacific rhododendrons. In 0.5 mile the trail enters the Buckhorn Wilderness. Soon afterward the terrain opens up and the views begin. Through flower gardens and by cascading creeks the trail pushes toward the clouds. Over two dozen switchbacks will keep you heading in the right direction: that's up!

At 2.5 miles come to a small pine and fir grove nestled on a knoll, where tiny (and in season, buggy) Windy Lake is hidden just off the trail. Continue onward, passing the Silver Lakes Trail junction at 3 miles (elev. 5500 ft) and leaving the trees behind. As you ascend higher on Townsend's slopes, alpine tundra rolls out.

After another 0.5 mile of climbing from the Silver Lakes turnoff, reach the expansive and open summit plateau. Ground-hugging juniper and brilliant clumps of cinquefoil and phlox carpet this high country. Amble 0.5 mile farther, yielding to eagles and angels. A short side trail leads right to the mountain's highest point.

Puget Sound with its labyrinth of islands, bays, and channels sprawls below. Watch ferries ply azure waters. Gaze out at the Seattle skyline to glass and metal twinkling in the afternoon sunlight. A fortress of Cascade peaks, punctuated by the snowy volcanoes, occupies the eastern horizon. To the north lie Dungeness Spit, Discovery Bay, the San Juan Islands, and Vancouver Island. To the west, nothing but pure Olympic wilderness-jagged peaks and deep green valleys. It should be apparent why this peak remains so well-loved. Driving Directions: From Quilcene drive US 101 south for 1.5 miles. (From Shelton follow US 101 north for 50.5 miles.) Turn right (west) onto Penny Creek Road. After 1.5 miles bear left onto Big Quilcene River Road (Forest Road 27). Drive 13.5 miles, ignoring the sign at 12.5 miles for the Mount Townsend Trail (that's the lower trail to Sink Lake). Turn left onto FR[masked] and in 0.75 mile come to the trailhead.

Trailside is not a professional guide service. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information and subject to changes, there is no guarantee . You may join us on this hike at your own risk.. Keep in mind that hiking can be dangerous and you are responsible for your own safety. The better prepared you are the safer you will be. Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside organizers and leaders in the event of injury or loss.

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  • Rebecca De Grand D.

    I was just out in Snoqualmie Pass yesterday day with another member from meetup and we had a WONDERFUL winter wonderland outing at the Kendell Lakes Trail from Gold Creek SnoPark. The conditions were prime and the light and gentle falling snow was simply lovely! I am so glad I got out as it has been exactly 2 weeks since my last snowshoe venture. There were other snowshoers, some non groomed cross country skiers, and some snowboarders. The ski hill parking lots were packed!! But luckily at the SnoPark we were able to get one of the spots of somebody leaving as we got there in the earlier afternoon for a good 4 hour trek. The roads were in excellent condition needing no traction or 4 wheel drive.

    February 23, 2014

    • Hugh S

      I am the 'other member' and am thankful Rebecca suggested going out Saturday. Beautiful. She is an avid and careful athlete. She knows snowshoe terrain and intently questioned the ranger about avalanche zones. I had a great novice experience. She went to the gym after. This was a blessing.

      February 23, 2014

    • Rebecca De Grand D.

      Hugh thank you so much for contacting me to get out there with you! I am grateful for the motivation so I did not miss a good day in the mountains! It was such a pleasure to meet you and share my passion together! And thanks for the awesome cookies after! Have a great Sunday! My husband and I with are dog are going to head out this afternoon on a short stroll to the easy but very beautiful Gold Creek Pond trail via the Lower Gold Creek Basin parking which I wanted to show you. See you again sometime out on the trail! :D

      February 23, 2014

  • Rebecca De Grand D.

    Visit Rainier - Official Mt. Rainier Organization facebook page update
    Here's the good word! The gate to Paradise at Longmire is now open. All vehicles must carry tire chains; today 2WD vehicles must use them from Longmire up. Have fun, be safe and get ready for LOTS of snow!

    February 23, 2014

  • Rebecca De Grand D.

    Just letting you all know if you really want to get out as long as the roads are good - This is posted on the Washington Trails Association website as a safe option: Private Ski Areas
    A number of ski areas offer trails for cross-country skiers and snowshoers that are well-maintained and designed to avoid avalanche danger. Check with your nearest ski resort to find out their rules for snowshoe users.

    February 21, 2014

  • Mark O

    I am no expert & agree safety best. I see in past people snowshoe to high hut somewhere around ashford. As that is maintained area it maybe safer.

    February 20, 2014

    • Mark O

      I don't have a sno-park permit, I see they can be bought for $20 per car, maybe split the cost. They can be bought on-line.

      February 21, 2014

    • Rebecca De Grand D.

      Midweek you can get away without a pass but on the weekend most likely not unless the weather is not great. Perfect day and it is almost certain you will get a ticket if no sno park pass.

      February 21, 2014

  • Rebecca De Grand D.

    Hi Lorri. I am committed to spending Sunday afternoon with my husband. I am free tomorrow but have nobody to go with. The meetups I was signed up for up north cancelled. I have been watching the weather at Snoqualmie Pass and the roads are good (just wet and slushy) and the forecast snow showers and a warm 31. The ski resort is a safe option and cost $15 a person on weekends if anybody would be interested in going out with me tomorrow. Text me at[masked]-3996. Two other safe options are Kendell Lakes trail (but not all the way to the top) which offers a good 5 hour workout on a road which is snow covered in the winter and Twin Lakes easy trail I think which is only 4 miles. Both of them require a SnoPark pass for either Gold Creek or Hyak which is $20 per vehicle unless someone already has a Sno Park pass.

    February 21, 2014

  • Stefanie R.

    Sorry to cancel - see y'all next time!

    February 20, 2014

  • Kathy G.

    I would be fine with a regular hike just to get outside and get fresh air. Avalanche danger is high and I don't think the risk is worth it. We can try again when avalanche danger is not so scary

    2 · February 20, 2014

  • Hugh S

    So it sounds like we are going somewhere on Sunday, unless it is storming. Good flexible plan.

    1 · February 18, 2014

  • Steph

    I can meet in Shelton since I will be coming from the coast. Let me know at what time I need to be in Shelton. Thank you . STeph

    February 16, 2014

  • Lucia C C.

    Plans changed enjoy it and please post pictures!

    1 · February 15, 2014

  • Airbender

    i can carpool pickup from Dupont , currently wait listed.

    February 4, 2014

  • Marianne P.

    So what is the total mileage for this hike and elevation gain??

    January 31, 2014

  • Hugh S

    I live in Gig Harbor & want to arrange a pick-up on the way by.

    January 29, 2014

    • Hugh S

      Thank you, Lorri. Closer to the outing some of us can arrange rides to the Shelton Walmart meeting spot.

      1 · January 30, 2014

    • Kelly

      Hugh, Id love to carpool with you if I get off the waitlist.

      1 · January 30, 2014

  • Deborah

    OH I wish I could I go I've been wanting to venture off to Silver Lake for quite some time. Just an FYI. My friend went to Mt Townsend just the other day. The road was very icy, she had to park about 2 miles from the trail head. Patches of snow but not enough for snow shoes, however the trail was VERY icy in spots. Have fun and be careful!

    January 30, 2014

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