Mount Townsend

This is a popular area in the Olympics near the Quilcene River. The Mount Townsend trailhead serving as the starting point for a hikes to Mount Townsend and Silver Lakes, and scrambles of Mount Townsend & Welch Peaks and Hawk Peak.

Getting There

From US-101 turn onto Penny Creek Road (west) and then in 1.5 miles left on Forest Road 27 (Big Quilcene River Road). Reach the road to the Sink Lake Trailhead (2,800 ft) in 12.5 miles and the Mount Townsend Trailhead (3,300 ft) in another 1.5 miles. Continue on 5.8 miles to Bon Jon Pass and take the left fork onto Forest Road 28. Reach the road end and Little Quilcene Trailhead (4,100 ft) in 3.5 miles.

on the trail

Mount Townsend

8.2 miles round trip with 2,900 feet of elevation gain, 6,250 ft high point

From the trailhead at the end of Forest Road 27-190, hike the Mount Townsend Trail (No. 839) to the junction with the Silver Lake Trail (5,500 ft). Turn right (north) and continue to the summit of Mount Townsend. Notes: Extend your trip by starting at the lower trailhead, passing through old growth forest and Sink Lake. It's an added 1.2 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain.

Silver Lakes

10.8 miles round trip with 3,275 feet of elevation gain, 5,675 ft high point

Hike the Mount Townsend Trail No. 839 for 3 miles, steadily climbing to a junction (5,500 ft).  Turn left (south) on the less-traveled Trail No. 842 Ascend open forest and reach a small gap (5,675 ft) on Mount Townsend's south shoulder.  Then descend into the valley on a slope filled with wildflowers in summer.  At 4.6 miles reach a junction (5,000 ft), continue straight, and ascend to Silver Creek. Cross the creek and ascend to Silver Lakes (5,400 ft).

approach & ascent

Mount Townsend (6,280 ft) & Welch Peaks (6,110 ft)

11 miles round trip with 3,900 feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: strenuous 4, Technical 2

Follow Mount Townsend Trail (No. 839) approximately 4 mile to Camp Windy and another 1 mile to the south summit of Mount Townsend (6,280 ft).  Descend to the Welch Peaks-Mount Townsend saddle.  Leave the trail and head about a half mile south and up the ridge to the summit of Welch Peaks (6,110 ft).

Early Season Route: When the Bon Jon Pass road is closed by snow, leave Forest Road 27 about 2.5 miles from the Mount Townsend trailhead junction. Climb northwesterly through timber to the end of Forest Road 2820). Climb WSW generally following Trail No. 835 to Little River Summit. Leave the trail at Little River Summit and climb SSW up the ridge to the north summit summit ans then south to the south summit. Descend to the Welch Peaks-Mount Townsend saddle.  Leave the trail and head about a half mile south and up the ridge to the summit of Welch Peaks.

hawk peak (6,445 ft)

13 miles round trip with 4,50o feet of elevation gain
Difficulty: strenuous 3, technical 3

Begin by hiking to Silver Lakes (see above). From Silver Lakes, head south to a saddle and follow the ridge, or to avoid the steeper part of the ridge, head roughly WSW before turning south to gain the ridge. 


Information for Leaders

Scheduling & Permits

  • This route allows multiple bookings. Please check scheduled trips listed below in the "Activities" tab to see if there is another group already booked on the same day. Leaders are expected to contact the leader(s) of existing trips to ensure there are no concerns or conflicts, according to The Mountaineers Outdoor Ethics Policy. Please review our Group Size & Multiple Bookings page for guidance.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Scrambling
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 4, Technical 2, Strenuous
  • Length: 8.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,900 ft
  • 6,280 ft
  • Land Manager: Olympic National Forest
    Buckhorn Wilderness, Hood Canal Ranger District (ONF)
  • Parking Permit Required: Northwest Forest Pass
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Mt Townsend
  • Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168S
  • Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Dirty Face Ridge
  • Little Quilcene
  • Mount Townsend Trail
  • Mount Townsend & Welch Peaks
  • Hawk Peak
  • Silver Lakes

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.