One of my favorite parts of traveling is getting to hike in new areas of the country that I’ve never seen before. Before I moved to Alaska I thought that all mountains were the same. But that’s definitely not true! So getting the chance to explore different mountain areas along the west coast has been really fun and exciting for me. I had a work trip last week that took me down to Seattle, so me and another coworker decided to fly down a few days early and go hiking on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. After asking around on a PNW women’s hiking Facebook group and texting some of our coworkers for suggestions, we decided to do Mt. Townsend in the Olympic National Forest. It’s about an hour from Bremerton and is in a gorgeous location. Plus, because it wasn’t in Olympic National Park we didn’t have to pay a fee to hike there and we were able to bring my coworker’s dog.
The upper trailhead started at the end of a long road through the forest. Parking was a NIGHTMARE and we almost couldn’t get past some cars that were parked in really precarious spots along the road. This barely ever happens in Alaska so it was a stressful start to my hike. But as soon as we started hiking I felt much more relaxed. The trail starts in a gorgeous green forest and passes a few creeks as it slowly climbs upward. After a few miles the forest starts to open up to some amazing views of the Puget Sound and the beginning of the Olympic Mountains.
Eventually we reached some switchbacks that took us up to the ridgeline of Mt. Townsend. The views from here got better and better the higher we went and I couldn’t stop taking pictures. When we finally reached the top of the ridge I was hot and tired but couldn’t wait to get up to the very top of the mountain.
After collapsing at the top and eating a ton of snacks until I felt better, I walked around the summit checking out the views from all angles. On one side of the summit were the start of the Olympics which rolled on forever. On the other side of the summit were views of the Puget Sound, Seattle, and the Cascade Mountains. We could see Mt. Baker and part of Mt. Rainier. And looking north gave us views of the San Juans and Canada.
Beyond the summit was a trail that led to the end of the ridge. Even though I was hot and tired I couldn’t say no to exploring that part of the trail, so we kept on walking the ridgeline. I couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous views, but eventually we decided to head back down.
This trail was awesome! It was not super steep and I never got bored on the trail due to the constantly changing views and surroundings. The views from the summit were incredible and you could see so far from up there. Plus, it was the highest mountain summit I’ve ever done (I’m used to 3,000-4,000 feet) and it felt great to be so high up! If you’re visiting the Bremerton area I’d highly recommend this hike. My only complaint was that it was crazy hot out on the day that we hiked (high 80s for an Alaskan girl is too much) so I was melting the entire time and there weren’t many creeks to help me cool off after the first mile. But the good news is that it was windy at the top which helped cool me off. Battling the heat was worth it though!
What’s the coolest hike you’ve ever done while traveling? Do you have recommendations for hikes to do in Washington state?