Mount Rose, trail 814, is found in the Southern tip of the Olympic Mountains. If you’re looking for wonderful views of the Southern Olympic Mountains and south Puget Sound all in a day hike, this is your hike. Views of large Lake Cushman also present themselves directly in front of you from the peak.

The trail is strenuous. You hike 3,500 feet up for about 3 to 3.5 miles depending on the route taken. The beginning, which is in the Olympic National Forest, is beautiful with the trail crossing two creeks which both have bridges over them. Then suddenly the trail starts to go up and up. Switchbacks are common as you’re gaining 2,550 feet in 1.8 miles to where the loop trail starts.

The trail is mostly forested with sun breaks occasionally popping up. Old growth forest can be found along some of the trail. At 2,000 feet the trail enters the Skokomish Wilderness. After 1.8 miles the trail hits Horse Camp and the trail splits to form the loop. Going right takes you 1.7 miles to the summit and going left takes you 1.1 miles. Both left and right are less strenuous compared to the trail behind you. Going right is the easiest! Taking the right trail is 600 feet to the top ridge where you can see sporadic views north and south as you hike the ridge to Mt Rose. The trail at this point is not as wide and can be lost as some points.

Mt Rose, 4,131 feet tall, is hard to see as it looks like a treed peak. Once at the peak, the forested west side becomes rocky with views north, west and south surrounding you. The peak is not sharp or overly dangerous, and there’s a decent amount of room for three to four people to sit and enjoy lunch. Looking north and west sends you into the interior of the Olympic National Park; looking south, you stare down Lake Cushman, South Puget Sound and Mt Rainier on clear days.

The chipmunks will quickly appear and scurry around for any dropped food. I didn’t see any mountain goats, but they are reported to have been seen in the area. Looking east through the trees, Mt Ellinor and Mt Washington quickly rise to greet you. South of the peak, the trail down leads through remnants of an old fire. After 1.1 miles down you return to Horse Camp. Going down is fun and easy at first but the quads and knees will quickly start burning. All in all, 6.4 miles of luscious trail, views, and exercise with another trail to mark off  the novel-sized list the PNW daily presents.

Season: Summer, Fall and Winter (snowshoe)

Length round trip: 6.4 miles roundtrip

Difficulty:  Strenous (steep)

Variety: Loop

Elevation Gain: 3500 ft total

Features: mountain vistas, peak climbing, wildlife viewing, Puget Sound views

Wildlife seen: Blue Pacific Grouse

Trailhead amenities:  Port-a-potty, parking lot, log book

Water Source:  River and streams

Passes/Permits: Northwest Forest Pass is required to park or a $5.00 day pass.

Special Information: No fires above 3,500 feet

Usage: Day hikers and snowshoers

Agency: Olympic National Forest, Skokomish Wilderness

Map: Green trails map 167 Mt Steel, Custom Correct map Mt Skokomish-Lake Cushman

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