View over the plains. The best reason to head up to the summit of Chitwood Peak
Welcome to another peak I probably would not have not went up if the weather was better in the high country. It did not hurt that BearQueen is finally catching on to peak-bagging so right now I am starting her off slow for the bigger summits. This summit, unofficially named Chitwood Peak or Scotty Hill, rise in the foothill and has 700' feet of prominence. It is not on many people's highly desired list but the peak at 4 mile and 800' of elevation gain does offer some decent exercise and some decent production when everything else in the region is not in ideal conditionsl. It also offers a decent mountain biking route PART OF THE WAY TO THE SUMMIT. The last older fire road to the summit is not doable in a mountain bike because for a half mile up to the summit the road is covered in cut down tree saplings.
Storm to the west. On a clear day you can see the Olympics!
The view through the clearcuts from the summit is quite surprising considering the summit only is 1480 feet high. From the summit you can much of Puget Sound, downtown Seattle, many of the foothills in the region and Mount Pilchuck. Once you are on the summit area you should keep on walking and touch everything that looks like a summit. The true summit is in the clear cut and the 100 foot bushwhack to it is very easy.
BearQueen on the summit area enjoying a snack
The actual route to this summit would have been quite easy except for the fact that the road has been covered by a group determined to turn the fire road back to nature once on the final logging road to the summit. Because of this one really needs to watch their feet as they cross. This continues to be a problem most of the way to the summit. It is a shame they did this and didn't let the road go all the way naturally because it would otherwise this would have been a pleasant walk all the way to the summit.
THE NOT SO NICE PART OF THE ROUTE!! Someone doesn't want you to get to the summit!!
I suspect the good views that can be seen on this summit will start to fade away in ten years. With the newly planted forest and the fact that the logging road has been covered by cut tree saplings it is only a matter of time that this peak is no longer easily accessible.
Heading From Downtown Granite Falls: From 92 turn on Alder St and make a right. Head 3 blocks south and make a left on Menzel Lake Road. Stay on it for two miles. Make a left on Scotty Road. Take it all of the way to school bus turnaround. If the gate is open do not advance beyond or you risk being locked in. There will be many "no parking" signs located there. Don't park at the turn around but a couple feet before it.
Chitwood Peak Map
The route is pretty straightforward on the map. The critical thing that one needs to note is the route to the summit is actually off the main road on the right-hand side. We missed the intersection but it just before the second major incline on the main trail. If you run into a clear view of Chitwood Peak from the valley floor you have gone too far. There is a clearing on the right before the incline followed by large mounds with a trail right next to it.
BearQueen on the entrance to the old road
As mentioned above the last older logging road to the summit is just covered by cut tree saplings from the side of the road. Slide Alder and sticker bushes are also starting to cover the road. Use caution and take it slow when going through this section. BearQueen slipped and scratched herself up a little on this section.
No overnight camping. Keep in mind that this is a primitive parking area. Respect it. Watch for Private Property Signs for the first three hundred feet. The road is legal but don't walk in the forest if you see them for the first couple hundred feet.
When to Climb
It can be climbed at anytime. But think to yourself; Is this really the best place to go on a sunny summer day when there is so much better close-by. Personally I would save it for a day when there is high avy danger or an off day. For me, I went up there for BearQueen as a good trainer hike for potential larger stuff later in the summer. There is a view on the summit so there is nothing wrong with being here on a sunny day. Rarely if ever would this peak be doable as a snowshoe but if you get lucky it might be the best way to avoid all the man made tree slashing on the road to the summit. It would also make this summit a lot more scenic for a hike because of all the snow sticking to all the trees in the area.