By the Numbers
Two steep climbs, two even steeper descents.
- 17 miles
- 5700 feet
- The trail from the parking lot to the MT summit is pretty dry. Silver Creek runs alongside the Silver Lakes Way Trail and provides plenty of water.
- A short section on FR 2870 otherwise all ‘trail’.
- Strava | Komoot | WTA
Mt Townsend is an extremely popular hike in the Olympics appearing in all the popular day hike books. This route built on the standard hike by adding an extension to make a loop via a short jaunt on FR 2870 and the Silver Lakes Way Trail.
The drizzle of the early morning did not inspire great expectations of a pleasant day in the sun. A marine layer, seen in the photos above, had settled on Puget Sound over the last few days socking us in.
Fortunately on the drive up to the trailhead we ascended above the marine layer and were awash in sun! The blue skies and sunshine continued as we made our way up the Mt Townsend trail to its summit and the views of the neighboring mountains.
From the summit it’s a steep, steep descent (the sign at the trailhead clearly indicates grades of 30-40% – it’s the Olympics after all) to FR 2870 and then the fun begins.
The Silver Lakes Way Trail is a lightly-maintained collection of roots and rocks laid out in a twisting network of steep (my watch indicated 46% at one point) climbs and paths through the trees. I remarked to Ryan I envisined this trail remnants of an ogre vomiting it’s lunch of rocks from high on the mountain, it was that random (and honestly quite fun!).
Ogre’s Trail Silver Lakes Way Trail, after much climbing and crossing
back and forth of Silver Creek, makes its way to the namesake lake of the creek.
The larger of the two lakes (we didn’t visit the smaller) is situated in an amphitheater of mountains with a large meadow on the south end and a loop trail around it.
From the lake it was another steep descent back to the trailhead and the truck. Another great day in the mountains, with two hard climbs (and harder descents!) and miles of trails I had not yet tackled. Looking forward to the next adventure!