Mt. Walker: A Wonderful, Family Friendly, Day Trip in Washington State
Mt. Walker is densely covered with 100 year-old Douglas-fir, the ones that take your breath. Along with the Douglas fir you will also enjoy the native Pacific rhododendrons that grow along the road at both the North and South observation points. The large flowers are bright purplish-pink and bloom May to June. Mt. Walker is the only peak facing Puget Sound that has a road to its summit. Both viewpoints have short trails to the viewing area with interpretive signs. The south viewpoint has a short compacted gravel accessible trail out to the lookout area that also provides a nice bench.
North Viewpoint Information
Mt. Jupiter can be seen as well as Buckhorn Mountain that consists of thee peaks just north of Marmot Pass. You have a good view of Mt. Constance which is the third highest peak in the Olympics; its gigantic rock faces are some of the most spectacular on the peninsula. You have great views of Mt. Baker which is the fourth highest peak in Washington State with a glacial system second only to Mt. Rainier. You can also see Quilcene Bay, a sheltered arm of the Hood Canal.
South Viewpoint Information
From the South Viewpoint you will get a view of Seattle’s major metropolitan areas: Everett 33 miles away, Seattle, 28 miles away; and Tacoma 39 miles away. On a clear the Seattle Space Needle is visible.
The Mt. Walker Trail
The Mt. Walker trail, #894, averages a 20% grade so this should be factored in your decision to hike this trail. Spring, summer, and fall the 2-mile trail is both ascended and descended by those on foot. In the winter, when the Mount Walker road gate is closed to vehicles, many will pursue the 2.25-mile jaunt up to the north viewpoint, walk to the south viewpoint and then descend on the gentler grade of the road.
During peak rhody season you need to arrive early to get a parking spot at or near the trailhead. You also have the option to park at the north viewpoint and perform the reverse route by first descending and then ascending.
General Mt. Walker Information
Both viewpoints (North and South) have parking areas and vault toilets. The vault toilets at the south viewpoint parking area are accessible. There are two picnic tables at the North viewpoint. There is no water so you need to bring it.
If you are driving from Seattle you will need to cross the sound on the Kingston ferry. You will leave Kingston on 104 until you reach 101. From Quilcene, WA you will take Highway 101 south for five miles to Forest Service Road 2730 (Mt. Walker Viewpoint Road). Drive 4 miles up a gravel road to Mount Walker’s summit (2,804 feet). The trail head is about a quarter mile up Mt. Walker Viewpoint Road; pull over parking is on the left side of the road. In winter, the road is closed and gated very close to US 101. During winter months you can park near the gate and walk the road to the trailhead.
Hood Canal Ranger District – Quilcene (no pass is required)
295142 Highway 101 S.
PO Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376
(360) 765 2200