Townsend Mountain (Barclay Lake Trail)

Townsend Mountain is a moderate alpine scramble of 9 miles and 3,800 ft of elevation gain in the Wild Sky Wilderness. This route starts from the Barclay Lake Trail near the town of Baring on Highway 2 on the west slopes of the Cascades.

Driving Directions

Drive State Route 2 to the Baring store. Across from the store take Forest Road 6424. Drive road Forest Road 6424 4 miles to the end, elevation 2,240 ft.

Approach & Ascent

Hike the Barclay Lake trail past Barclay Lake, then head up on one of the many trails to the left at the end of the lake going to Eagle and Stone Lakes (try to take the most used trail). Hike the trail to the outlet of Eagle Lake and cross Eagle Creek at the outlet of the lake on logs then head straight up the hill, the southwest side of Townsend Mountain where the trees are is very brushy and travel is slow. Stay in the open terrain as mush as possible and head for the saddle at 5,450 ft. Follow ridge to summit staying below the false summit (first summit). The summit is the second bump to the southeast.

Side trip to Burley Mountain: At the 5,450 dt saddle, drop into the basin and continue descending to the right heading for the saddle. At around 4,650 ft look for a thin band of trees to the right about 150 ft above the saddle - contour at this point to the ridge. Descend to the saddle and continue following the ridge to the summit of Burley Mountain. It is best to scramble this when snow present. This side trip adds 2 miles and 1,900 ft of elevation gain.

Alternate Route: From Eagle Creek road, drive Forest Road 6510 as far as possible, hike to Eagle Lake, and follow standard route from there.


Route Difficulties/Hazards:

  • Eagle Creek is flat and wide through Paradise Meadow that it may be difficult to cross.
  • Recommend doing when snow present which usually goes sometime in May to avoid brush.
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 2
  • Length: 9.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,800 ft
  • 5,936 ft
  • Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143
  • USGS Baring
  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes West (Stevens Pass) No. 176S

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