Difficulty: Moderate, Steep ( 2000 ft in 2 miles)
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft
No Guests: Everyone needs to be a member
Driving Time: 80 min one way
Please bring Gas money for drivers $10 suggested, bag for muddy boots and the 10 essentials http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/basics/ten-essentials .
I leave on time. Please arrive 10 min before 9:00 am. We will leave promptly at 9 am.
Disclaimer: We will be in the wilderness. Serious injury or death can occur. I am not a professional guide, by attending this hike you are assuming responsibility for your own personal safety and I can not be held responsible.
Description from WTA:
Hovering over the glacial trough known as Hood Canal, Mount Walker is the easternmost peak in the Olympic Mountains. From its two summits you can gaze out over the Puget lowlands to the Seattle skyline and beyond. Or cast your eyes westward on the jagged Buckhorn Wilderness peaks, including mighty Mount Constance.
Washington's state flower, the coast rhododendron, grows in profusion along the steep dry slopes of Mount Walker. For much of the year the rhodies merely add a layer of dark green to the forest understory. But come late spring this hardy shrub calls for attention as it begins to blossom, speckling the surrounding firs and hemlocks with rosy-purple bouquets. By June, vibrant violet bell-shaped blossoms ring throughout the emerald forest. Mount Walker is one of the best places in the state to witness this floral show.
Immediately begin climbing through a tunnel of rhodies under a uniform canopy of second-growth cedar and hemlock. Look up occasionally to see if you can locate any of the old wire and insulators that once serviced a fire tower on the summit. After about 1.5 miles small ledges begin to break the monotony of the forest and tease with limited views.
The grade eases slightly, and after 2 miles and 2000 feet of climbing you emerge at the North Summit viewpoint. Views are limited here. They're much better at the South Summit, reached by walking the graveled Summit Road for 0.5 mile and then following a small trail to the breathtaking panorama of Puget Sound. Stare straight down to Dabob Bay and the Toanodos Peninsula. Behind, Green and Gold Mountains rise on the Kitsap Peninsula. Mount Rainier adds a snowy backdrop. And if you're here in June, the whole scene will be framed with fragrant purple boughs.
From Quilcene drive US 101 south for 5 miles. (From Shelton follow US 101 north for 47 miles.) Just north of milepost 300, turn left (east) onto Mount Walker Road (Forest Service 2730) and proceed 0.25 mile to the trailhead. When the road is closed, park at the gate.