Hike of the Week: Mount Townsend South Face

Hike description: This is one of those mountains that can be climbed by most anyone in fairly decent shape. It is a nice workout, anytime of the year, and is especially beautiful in the spring, when you can enjoy the profuse mountain flowers and the incredible Rhododendron display in the woods on the way up the trail. The commanding views of many of the major peaks of the Olympics, coupled with views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal, and the distant Vancouver Island are worth every bit of sweat and muscle aches.

Directions: Take U.S. 101 south from Quilcene for 1.5 miles. Turn right (west) on Forest Service Road 2823. In 1.4 miles turn left on FR 2882 for another 3 miles. Take the right branch, FR 2812. At 6.1 miles FR 2720 goes left, but stay straight on FR 2812. At 10.3 miles take the left fork, FR 2764, to the trailhead. FR 2764 is 0.7 miles of narrow, rough road but passable by most sedans in fair weather.

Difficulty rating: 4 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 8.5

Elevation: 2,880 feet

Best time of year: June to November

Map: Custom Correct Buckhorn Wilderness or Green Trails 136 - Tyler Peak

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass is required.

Also: The ranger station in Quilcene is a good place to stop for schematic trail maps (not topos) and restrooms. There are no trailhead toilets, and the trailhead area can be crowded. You may have to hike a bit for privacy.

You should be sure to carry the 10 Essentials and adequate food and water for your trip, whether as strenuous as this one or an easier jaunt. The only possible source of water on this trail is at Camp Windy (shown on the Custom Correct Buckhorn map). Carrying two liters of water per person is recommended, along with a filter or purification tablets. Leaving extra bottles of water in the car is also a good habit to get into.

Info: Quilcene Ranger District, 295142 U.S. 101 S., 360-765-2200; Olympic National Forest, www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic. Two guides books for this hike are “Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Mountains Trail Guide” by Robert Wood, both Mountaineers Books, and “Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades” by Charles Stewart.

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.